Top Ten Albums Released on Columbia Records

Columbia Records has been one of the mainstays of the record industry for years. I'm planning on doing a series of lists about major labels to show people how much of their favorite music is owned by the big guys. I don't want albums originally issued on a different label and reissued on Columbia, and I don't want albums released by two labels at the same time (the album should only be issued by Columbia). With that established, feel free to add to the list. If you do, tell me about the artist's history with the label.

The Top Ten

1 Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan first signed with Columbia after legendary talent scout John Hammond discovered him. Except for a short period from 1973-1974 where he signed to Asylum Records, he's been with Columbia ever since. - Gg2000

2 Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel

Columbia producer Tom Wilson saw them perform at Gerde's Folk Club and let them audition in the studio, where they performed "The Sound of Silence". After that, he signed them to a record deal. - Gg2000

3 Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen

His managers brought him to the attention of John Hammond (yes, that John Hammond again), who auditioned him. He has stuck with the label ever since. - Gg2000

4 Kind of Blue - Miles Davis

George Avankian saw him perform at the Newport Jazz Festival and got him a record deal with Columbia, which lasted from 1957 to 1985. - Gg2000

I. Love. Miles. Davis. so my vote goes here today. Although I also love Johnny Winter, Johnny Cash, Billy Joel... Tough choice. - Britgirl

5 The Notorious Byrd Brothers - The Byrds

The Byrds were recommended to Columbia by impresario Benny Shapiro and Miles Davis, and all their albums were released on Columbia except for the last one. Their contract with Columbia had an advantage, as it gave them better access to Bob Dylan's music (they did a bunch of Dylan covers). - Gg2000

6 At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash was originally signed to Sun Records until Columbia offered him a lucrative contract. He signed with Columbia in 1958, and he eventually left them in 1985. - Gg2000

7 The Stranger - Billy Joel

After releasing his first album (Cold Spring Harbor) on the small label Family Productions and walking out after a mastering error made his voice too high pitched, he ended up signing to Columbia after the radio station WMMR began playing a live version of the song "Captain Jack" on a regular basis. He stuck with them afterwards. - Gg2000

8 Rocks - Aerosmith

Columbia executive Clive Davis saw them perform at Max's Kansas City in New York; they had to pay the club to secure a spot on the bill. After spending the late 80s and early 90s with Geffen Records, they eventually resigned with Columbia in 1997. - Gg2000

9 Cheap Thrills - Big Brother & the Holding Company

Originally signed to Mainstream Records, Columbia Records caught wind of the band at the Monterey Pop Festival, which led to them getting a record deal. Cheap Thrills, their first album for Columbia, ended up being seen as their best album. - Gg2000

10 Dirt - Alice in Chains

Thanks for adding to the list, JCHOW. I was afraid that no one would contribute to it. - Gg2000

The Contenders

11 Second Winter - Johnny Winter

Johnny got up on stage with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield and did a cover of "It's My Own Fault" by BB King. Columbia execs were in the audience, and they supposedly signed him and gave him the biggest advance seen at the time - $600,000. - Gg2000

12 Comfort Eagle - Cake
13 Americana - The Offspring
14 Heartworms - The Shins
15 Aorta - Aorta
16 Fifth Dimension - The Byrds
17 Santana - Santana
18 Bitches Brew - Miles Davis
19 The Inner Mounting Flame - The Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin
20 JT - James Taylor
21 Blood on the Tracks - Bob Dylan
22 Painkiller - Judas Priest

The band signed with Columbia in 1977 after being frustrated by their old label, Gull Records, not willing to give them a large enough budget. All of their greatest albums were released on Columbia; Painkiller was the last one. - Gg2000

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