Creation Records - The Basics:
- What: Independent record label Creation Records
- Where: London, UK
- Founded by: Alan McGee, Dick Green and Joe Foster
- Founded: 1983
- Closed: 2000
The Early Years:
Creation Records got its start in 1983 when Alan McGee, who'd recently moved from Glasgow, and friend Dick Green started a live music club, The Living Rooms, in London. With the profits from the club, and £1000 bank loan, McGee, Green and band manager Joe Foster started Creation Records. The first release was by The Legend! - since described as the worst record of all time. The band featured soon to infamous rock journalist Everett True, a friend of McGee. The label early releases were singles by McGee's own band and various other friends of the label partners.
Early Signings and Commercial Success:
McGee began managing, and released the first single by, Scottish rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain. This brought the label their first commercial success, selling over 50,000 copies. The band left Creation and signed to major label offshoot Blanco Y Negro, but McGee's fees from managing the band continued to support the label and allowed them to release singles by other bands, including Mary Chain's drummer's band Primal Scream. After a brief and ultimately unsuccessful joint venture with Warners, McGee continued to cement Creations reputation by signing some of the most exciting up and coming indie bands in the UK.
Primal Scream's first two albums had received lukewarm reviews. But house DJ and producer Wetheral saw the bands potential, and they began working together on what was to become Screamadelica, one of the most beloved albums of the nineties. The album was pivotal in combining indie rock with the growing acid house sound and it won the influential Mercury Music Prize in 1992 - McGee famously lost the £20 000 cheque the band were awarded at the post award celebrations. Primal Scream became one of the most famous indie acts in the country and have continued to make successful and groundbreaking albums.
The Sony Deal:
Despite the success of acts such as Primal Scream and other including:
- Teenage Fanclub
- House of Love
In 1993 McGee was back in his native Glasgow for a show by Creation signings 18 Wheeler at the famous King Tut's Wah Wah Hut night club. A band from Manchester, who'd driven all the way up in the back of a van, forced their way onto the bill, demanding to play a few songs. McGee was so impressed that he immediately sign them to Creation. Oasis were a spectacular success - their debut album Definitely Maybe became the fastest selling debut album in history, unheard of for an album released on a indie label. Their follow up album, What's The Story, Morning Glory became one of the best selling albums of all time.
Drugs and Breakdowns:
Creation was always associated with partying hard, an atmosphere some of the bands on the label have credited with helping their creative process. However all the drinks, drugs and parties took their toll on McGee, and in February 1994 he, in his own words, crashed. It would be almost a year before he was back working full time at the label. McGee's crash coincided with the labels most successful period. His absence, and Oasis' success, meant the label's structure became more professional, with sales and chart positions becoming labels focus. The spirit of the label was almost unrecognizable on his return.
Knebworth 1996 - Lavish Excess and Signs of the End:
In 1996, Creation were involved with Oasis playing two massive open air concerts at Knebworth House in England. They played to over 350,000 people over two nights, making it the largest outdoor concert in the UK. Creation had a marquee backstage and all the label's bands were chauffeur driven in limos to the event. Even the famously entitled Noel Gallagher of Oasis though this excessive and saw things were heading out of control. Gallagher described Knebworth as the beginning of the end for Creation.
The End of Creation and Where Are They Now?:
Creation continued to enjoy success with the likes of The Boo Radleys and Welsh rockers Super Furry Animals, but the atmosphere and culture of the label had changed for good. In 1999, McGee left the label he'd founded, selling his stake to Sony, who wound up Creation in 2000. The final release was Primal Screams highly acclaimed XTRMNTR album. McGee went on to set up Poptone Records and run the Death Disco nightclub in London, and he's still involved with the music industry. Dick Green went on to set up the successful indie label Wichita.