The Tor Guides

Berserkely Records, home of the hits!

In Okategoriserade on 23 September, 2010 at 20:30

Leaving a possibly prosperous career as a lawyer, Matthew King Kaufman followed his dream and not only pursued as the co-manager for San Francisco rockers Earthquake but also founded a label that would indeed rock the pop world of the 70s to the mid 80s – Beserkley Records, home of the hits!

Among the artists signed to Berserkely you could find, beside Earthquake,such nobilities as Jonathan Richmanthe Rubinoos and Greg Kihn, the most successful of them all. A curiosity is that Tyla Gang were both signed to Berserkely Records and its british counterpart, Stiff Records.

The story began with Earthquake who was signed to A&M in ’70. Kaufman used that opportunity to absorb everything he could from legends such as Lou Adler and Glyn Johns.

A vital snippet of an Earth Quake song had been used in the movie The Getaway. The film’s music director, Quincy Jones, had somehow failed to clear the rights in advance and the compensation later paid – together with a lucky streak at the race track! – was used as financial base for establishing Bersekely.

The singles that were released between 73-75 were assembled into the legendary Berserkely Chartbusters from ’75. Two of the singles on Chartbusters were Earth Quake’s great version of the Easybeats‘ classic Friday On My Mind and Jonathan Richman´s astounding Roadrunner, backed by Earth Quake and finalized in little more than two hours.

Things were really taking of with the Rubinoos and its cover of Tommy James and the Shondell‘s lovely I Think We’re Alone Now. Their first self titled album is jam-packed with classic pop songs, maybe the best of them all is Leave My Heart Alone. They returned with the follow-up, Back To the Drawing Board, in ’78, with the power pop standard I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend as the first single and that album´s definite exclamation mark!

Greg Kihn, from Baltimore just like Kaufman, moved to California in ’74, and sang back up on both Earth Quake and Richman records before forming his own band. His second album, Greg Kihn Again, contains the definite version of Bruce Springsteen‘s For You, earning praise from Springsteen and a giveaway of his Rendez-vous for Kihn´s next album. In ’81 Kihn experienced great success with his breakthrough single, The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em) and, later on, the disco-flirting Jepardy.

After several years of success, Kaufman dissolved the label and allowed the then only remaining artist Kihn to sign with EMI. However, Kaufman would continue to act as Kihn’s producer. The label´s recordings were then eventually licensed to Rhino in 1986.

The Rubinoos and Jonathan Richman still play a vital part in the pop scene, which definitely goes to show that the legacy of Berserkey Records definitely is one to be reckoned with!

The video of the day is the Rubinoos compilation video below – enjoy one of the best pop bands of the 70s!


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