Frank Sinatra begins his own label Reprise Records

Reprise Records is an American record label, founded in 1960 by Frank Sinatra, which is owned by Warner Music Group, and operated through Warner Bros.


Reprise (pronounced rih-PREEZ) was formed in 1960[1] by Frank Sinatra in order to allow more artistic freedom for his own recordings. Hence, he garnered the nickname "The Chairman of the Board."[2] Having left Capitol/EMI, and after trying to buy Norman Granz's Verve Records, the first album Sinatra released on Reprise was Ring-a-Ding-Ding! As CEO of Reprise, Sinatra recruited a host of his cronies for the fledgling label, such as fellow Rat Pack members Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.. The original roster from 1961 to '63 included Bing Crosby, Jo Stafford, Rosemary Clooney, Esquivel and stand-up comedian Redd Foxx . The label still issues any Sinatra work recorded while on the label and, after his death in 1998, it had great success with his greatest hits collections.

One of the label's founding principles under Sinatra's leadership was that each artist would have full creative freedom, and at some point complete ownership of their work; including publishing rights. This is the reason why recordings of early Reprise artists (Dean Martin, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, etc.) are (in most cases) currently distributed through other labels. In Martin's case, his Reprise recordings were out of print for nearly 20 years before a deal was struck with Capitol Records.
Many of the older artists were dropped when Sinatra sold control of the label to Warner Bros. Records in early 1963 (most of these albums were not good sellers). From that point, Warner-Reprise executives began targeting younger acts beginning by securing the American distribution rights to the Pye Records recordings by The Kinks in 1964. Reprise would later add teen-oriented pop acts like Dino, Desi, & Billy and Nancy Sinatra, before moving almost exclusively to pop-oriented music in the late 1960s.
Through direct signings or distribution deals, the Reprise roster grew to include Lee Hazlewood, the early Joni Mitchell recordings, Neil Young, The Electric Prunes, The Kinks, Arlo Guthrie, Norman Greenbaum, Tom Lehrer, Tiny Tim, Ry Cooder, Captain Beefheart, the early 1970s recordings by Frank Zappa and The Mothers, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Nico's Desertshore, The Fugs, Jethro Tull, Pentangle, T.Rex, The Meters, John Cale, Gordon Lightfoot, Michael Franks, Richard Pryor, Al Jarreau and the early '70s recordings of The Beach Boys.
In the late 1970s, as Joni Mitchell and Captain Beefheart had left the label, Sinatra expressed a wish to be the sole artist on Reprise, but Neil Young refused to leave. Mitchell returned to the label in the late 1980s after a stint on Geffen Records but now records for Hear Music. Young remains on Reprise to this day, though he also recorded for Geffen in the 1980s.
In 1977, Warner Bros. hibernated Reprise, reassigning all of its retained acts to the main Warner Bros. label. Although older catalog albums continued to be reissued with the Reprise logo, there were no new releases on the Reprise imprint until the label was reactivated in 1988. In the time since, Warner Bros. has often elevated the stature of Reprise to the rank of secondary parent label, as many of its subsidiary labels (such as Straight and Kinetic) have had their records released in conjunction with Reprise.

Reprise Records was started by Frank Sinatra in 1960 as a vehicle for his own recordings, and the recordings of his Las Vegas pals, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Early album releases by Frank Sinatra himself used the F-1000 series, while others were issued on the R-2000 and R-6000 series.

Sinatra sold Reprise to Warner Brothers in 1963. The combined Warner Brothers/Reprise labels kept separate A&R divisions for a while with Jimmy Bowen heading A&R for Reprise.

The first reprise label was pink, gold and green with black printing. Above the center hole to the left was a steamboat drawing, with "reprise" to the right. This label was used for the 6000 series from early 1961 to mid 1968 approximately number 6280. This same label was used on the 2000 series into 1964, approximately number 2023. The 1000 Frank Sinatra series usually had a picture of Frank Sinatra on the label instead of the steamboat drawing.

It was his first album that he recorded with the label that he founded, Reprise Records. The idea was to have an album without any ballads. Originally the song Have You Met Miss Jones? was going to be included, however, it was felt that the song did not fit, so it was left off. The album reached No. 4; it was given favorable reviews by Stereo Review, and, although a similar album (Sinatra's Swingin' Session!!!) was released by Capitol simultaneously, Ring-A-Ding-Ding! managed to maintain a 35 week stay on the charts. In the UK the album reached No. 8 and stayed for 9 weeks on the chart.