HORIZON RECORDS

HISTORY

A&M Records announced Horizon Records as a jazz series not a label in May 1975. A&M planned to release one album per month from Horizon retailing for $5.98. John Snyder, who started his career under Creed Taylor at CTI Records, was to head the series. Billboard quoted Mr. Snyder, "The Horizon Series concept is to present sophisticated contemporary jazz in the best production and merchandising package possible....We hope to widen the jazz market by creative merchandising and packaging at the high level of taste and quality that has been associated with A&M." (June 7, 1975) The label was headquartered in A&M Records' New York Office which handled recording and album packages.

Like CTI, Horizon Records developed distinctive album packaging and liner notes for its recordings. Each of the original albums was packaged in a gatefold cover. The inside of the cover contained artist biography and/or song notes, discography, lead sheet transcription of a song on the album, photos of the artist or the recording session, and a stereo mix diagram or graphic scope that showed the channels of the instruments during the mix of a song so the listener could set his stereo system to replicate the intended sound.

Horizon Records was based in A&M's New York offices. On October 31, 1975, the first five Horizon albums were released and were supported with a marketing campaign. The Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond album "The Duets" was Horizon's first Top 200 album on the Billboard Pop Album Chart. Horizon would not chart again for three years.

In March 1977, A&M launched a major sales campaign of more than 70 titles from CTI, A&M and Horizon. The campaign included print and radio ads, and for retailers, posters, mobiles and an in-store play sampler.

Inexplicably, A&M Records used the Horizon Records logo for its Superstar Teaching Machine Series. These were reading and activity packages for early elementary school children. There were packages featuring The Captain and Tennille, the Carpenters, Peter Frampton, Billy Preston, Cat Stevens and Paul Williams. Each featured a cardboard carrying case, reissued 45, poster, and activity book.

In June 1977, John Snyder left Horizon Records. In its first two years, Horzion had built a catalog of 25 albums. None of the artists who recorded the albums were still signed to Horizon. (Note: John Snyder was Chet Baker's manager. In 1977, Baker recorded two albums that were finally released in 1990 on CD, The Best Thing for You and You Can't Go Home Again. The albums were somewhat of a reunion of CTI personnel Don Sebesky produced, Paul Desmond played his final recording sessions, Ron Carter sat in on drums. Former CTI artist Hubert Laws and Horizon artist Richard Beirach appeared on the recordings too.

In December 1977, A&M brought Tommy LiPuma (the first A&R head of A&M Records) to Horizon Records to "redefine the label as a contemporary music series." LiPuma's title was vice president and creative director of Horizon Records. By this time there were 25 albums in the Horizon catalog. The first release under LiPuma was by Herb Alpert and Hugh Masekela.

In February 1978, three of Horizon's first five albums were on the Billboard Jazz Chart. Each would sell around 50,000 copies. A&M created a sampler album from these albums for radio, retail and colleges. Herb Alpert and Hugh Masekela recorded a concert, "The Main Event Live," on Horizon. It was a Top 100 Billboard Pop album.

In 1978, Horizon Records signed Mark-Almond, Dr. John, David Grisman, Neil Larsen, Richard Evans, Brenda Russell, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Seawind, Gordon Michaels. It also signed Eleanor Mills who did not release an album for Horizon.

Brenda Russell was Billboard's #23 Top Female Album Artist in its 1980 Number One Awards.

Horizon's last Billboard successes would be in 1979 when Brenda Russell charted with a Top 100 album and a Top 40 single.

In September 1979, both Billboard and Melody Maker reported that A&M closed Horizon Records because of an industry-wide slump in music sales. All staff were let go. The artists signed in 1978 were still on the roster.

Horizon Records released 28 singles with one Top 30 Billboard Pop Chart hit and 55 albums including 14 from What? Records. Four of the albums were on Billboard's Top Pop Album chart; two were Top 100 and two were Top 200.

In 1988, 11 Horizon Records titles were reissued on CD in A&M's Jazz Heritage Series (CD 0800). Packaged in trifold digipaks, these were small printings that were taken out of print quickly. Selections from Horizon Records were included on the two A&M Jazz Heritage Series samplers.

SOURCES:
1. A&M Horizon Jazz Series Rates Pop-Type Campaign. E. Tiegel. Billboard, October 11, 1975.
2. A&M Launces Promo on Jazz. Billboard, March 19, 1977.
3. Re-Defined Horizon Enfolds New Acts. Ed Harrison. Billboard, July 15, 1978.
4. A&M Ponders Fate of Defunct Horizon Acts. Billboard, September 1, 1979.
5. Ed Michel Jazz Producer

HORIZON ARTISTS ARTIST ROSTER

A - H I - P Q - Z
Herb Alpert & Hugh Masekela
Philip Bailey
Dave Brubeck & Paul Desmond
Dave Brubeck Quartet
Captain & Tennille
Carpenters
Don Cherry
Ornette Coleman
Paul Desmond
Dr. John
Richard Evans
Sonny Fortune
Peter Frampton
Teri Gibbs
David Grisman
Charlie Haden
Jim Hall
Billy Hart
Tom Howard
Ideola
Imperials
Thad Jones & Mel Lewis
Karma
Phil Keaggy
Neil Larsen
Mylon LeFevre
Mel Lewis
Dave Liebman
Dave Liebman and
    Richard Beirach
Mark-Almond
Gordon Michaels
Gerry Niewood
Jimmy Owens
Leon Patillo
Dave Perkins
Leslie Phillips
Billy Preston
Revolutionary Ensemble
Brenda Russell
Seawind
Ben Sidran
Cat Stevens
Ira Sullivan
Russ Taff
Tonio K.
Paul Williams
Yellow Magic Orchestra

HORIZON RECORDS EMPLOYEES

Thank you to all of the very talented members of the Horizon Records family.

If your name does not appear on the list, please send an e-mail and let us include you in the credits. When you write, please include the years you worked at Horizon/A&M and your job title or the name of the department where you worked. This information is also used to validate your registration for our A&M artists and staff contact list.

A - F G - M N - Z
Eileen Basich
Jim Bazilius
Mel Fuhrman
Beth Hoffman
Dave Hubert
Kathy Kenyon
Ed Levine
Tommy LiPuma
Fred Mancuso
Al Schmitt
John Snyder

TOP ARTISTS ON THE BILLBOARD POP CHARTS BY YEAR

YEAR ALBUMS SINGLES
1975 Brubeck & Desmond (1 Top 200)  
1978 Herb Alpert & Hugh Masekela (1 Top 200)  
1979 Brenda Russell (1 Top 100) Brenda Russell (1 Top 40)

TOP ARTISTS ON BILLBOARD
ADULT CONTEMPORARY CHART BY YEAR

YEAR ARTIST (SINGLES)
1979 Brenda Russell (1 Top 10 single)

TOP ARTISTS ON BILLBOARD R&B CHART BY YEAR

YEAR ALBUMS SINGLES
1979 Brenda Russell (1 Top 30 album) Brenda Russell (1 Top 20 single)
1980 Yellow Magic Orchestra (1 Top 40 album) Yellow Magic Orchestra (1 Top 20 single)

SOURCES:
1. Whitburn, Joel. Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Albums 1955 - 1996. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record
    Research, Inc., 1996.
2. Whitburn, Joel. Top Pop Singles 1955 - 1999. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, Inc.,
    2000.
3. Whitburn, Joel. Top Adult Contemporary Singles 1961 - 2001. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record
    Research, Inc., 2002.
4. Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B and Hip-Hop Hits 1942-2004. New
    York: Billboard Books, 2006.
5. Whitburn, Joel. Top R&B Albums 1965-1998, Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, Inc.,
    1999.

TOP ARTISTS ON BILLBOARD
CASHBOX CHART BY YEAR

YEARARTIST (SINGLES)
1979 Brenda Russell (1 Top 30 single)
1980 Yellow Magic Orchestra (1 Top 100 single)

HORIZON RECORDS GRAMMY® NOMINEES AND WINNERS

YEAR CATEGORY TITLE ARTIST WON
1976 Best Jazz Performance
by a Big Band
New Life Thad Jones &
Mel Lewis
 
1976 Best Jazz Performance
by a Group
Paul Desmond Quartet Live Paul Desmond  
1976 Best Jazz Performance
by a Soloist
Commitment Jim Hall  
1977 Best Jazz Instrumental Perf.
by a Group
Mel Lewis and Friends Mel Lewis  
1978 Best Jazz Instrumental Perf.
by a Big Band
Live in Munich Thad Jones &
Mel Lewis
Yes
1979 Best Rock Instrumental Performance High Gear Neil Larsen  
1985 Best Gospel Performance - Male Medals Russ Taff  
1986 Best Gospel Performance - Male Triumph Philip Bailey Yes
1988 Best Gospel Performance - Male Russ Taff Russ Taff  

SOURCE:
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences

HORIZON RECORDS LABELS, SLEEVES & ADS

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