- Monument Records
Monument Records Parent company Sony Music Entertainment Founded 1958 Genre Various Country of origin United States
Monument Records was an American record label, Washington, D.C. named for the Washington Monument, founded in 1958, by Fred Foster and Buddy Deane (a prominent Baltimore disc jockey at WTTG). Buddy Deane soon left the company, and in the early 60's bought KOTN in Pine Bluff, Arkansas where he retired to until his death. Foster relocated to the Nashville suburb of Hendersonville, Tennessee. Monument Record releases include a variety of genres, including rock and roll, country, jazz and rhythm and blues.
In the beginning, Monument was the first of London Records distributed labels. Monument Records' first release in October 1958, was also the label's first hit. Billy Grammer's "Gotta Travel On", became a U.S. Top 5 Billboard record chart success which sold over 900,000 copies. It also spawned a nation-wide dance craze called "The Shag". The signing of the former Sun Records singer, Roy Orbison, brought more success to Monument Records, beginning with the 1960 release, "Only the Lonely". By 1961, London Records was distributing more than forty independent companies, prompting Foster to move Monument to the independent-distributor network. In 1971, Foster signed a world-wide distribution agreement with CBS Records.
In addition to Orbison, Monument became home to a number of others including: Robert Knight, Kris Kristofferson, Jeannie Seely, Boots Randolph, Dolly Parton, Ray Stevens, Cindy Walker, Tony Joe White, Charlie McCoy, Willie Nelson, Tommy Roe, The Velvets, Connie Smith, Larry Gatlin and Robert Mitchum.
Foster invested heavily in a banking venture in the 1980s, and sustained disastrous financial losses as a result. It was this that led to the forced sale of Monument and its publishing counterpart, Combine Music Group, in 1990. CBS Records acquired the Monument catalog, and its successor company Sony Music reactivated the label in 1997 as a country label. Some successful artists signed to Monument during this era were Little Big Town and Dixie Chicks. Monument Records catalog is managed by Sony Music's Legacy Recordings unit.
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