Lou Adler was an old friend and lyric writing partner of Herb Alpert. Their original partnership in the late 1950s until 1960 was Herb B. Lou Productions. As a team they wrote, with Sam Cooke, "Wonderful World;" they produced Jan and Dean's "Baby Talk" and Dante and the Evergreen's "Alley Oop." After dissolving their partnership, Alpert teamed with Jerry Moss to create A&M Records. Adler went on to found Dunhill Records in 1964 where he signed and recorded The Mamas and Papas. He sold Dunhill to ABC-Paramount in 1966. In 1967, Adler produced the Monterrey Pop Festival.
Adler founded Ode Records in 1968. For its first two years of operations, Ode was distributed by Columbia Records. In 1970, Adler made a manufacturing and distribution agreement with A&M Records that lasted until 1976.
The Ode logo (each letter inside the next) was first used commercially in 1967. Originally, the logo was inside a box. Next came the Ode 70 version still retaining the letter inside a letter design. Finally, the same art was rendered with the word Ode typeset beneath it. The trademark remains active. A&M printings of Ode Records used the Ode 70 logo on the first nine albums (SP 77001 through SP 77009), then dropped the "70" from the logo.
As Ode began its association with A&M, Adler brought Barry McGuire and Scott McKensie's recordings into the new deal. He also had an ongoing association with Carole King from her days in the group The City.
As if hinting at things to come, Carole King's first Ode album Writer was in the Top 100 on the Billboard Pop Album chart.
In 1971, Carole King released her Tapestry album. It was one of the top-selling albums of all time with sales estimated at more than 14 million copies. Tapestry was also one of the all-time records on the Billboard Pop Album chart remaining on the chart for 302 weeks--nearly six years. Tapestry was #1 on the Billboard chart for 15 weeks and King was the #1 Female Vocalist on every poll. Adler was named Producer of the Year for the album. Songs from Tapestry won in every Grammy category for which they had been nominated. King was the first woman to will all of the Grammy's most prestigious awards, Album of the Year, Song of the Year ("You've Got a Friend"), and Record of the Year ("It's Too Late"). Ms. King also and a second #1 album with Music and a #1 and a Top 20 single on the Billboard Pop Singles chart.
In 1971, the comedy team Cheech and Chong began enjoying success. They had a Top 10 single on the Billboard Pop Chart.
In 1972, Carole King's Music album was Ode's first album to be released in quadrophonic format. The album produced one Top 40 single. Ode Records released the original Broadway cast recording of An Evening with Richard Nixon. The play, based on a book by Gore Vidal, ran from April 30 until May 13, 1972. Actress Susan Sarandon made her Broadway debut playing Tricia Nixon.
1973 was Ode's biggest year on the Billboard pop charts. Carole King had a Top 10 album and David Walker's album was Top 200. Carole King had two Top 40 singles and Tufano and Giammarese (formerly with The Buckinghams) had a Top 100 single. On the Pop Singles chart, Cheech and Chong placed singles in the Top 20 and Top 40 and took home the Best Comedy Album of the Year Grammy for Los Cochinos. The London Symphony Orchestra's Tommy, lavishly boxed in a slip case with custom graphics and full color book won the Best Album Cover Grammy Award.
In 1974, Carole King continued topping the charts with Fantasy her third #1 Ode Records album on the Billboard Pop Album chart. She also had three Top 10 singles.
Ode's artist roster was small but talented--11 RIAA gold albums plus six platinum album certifications out of a total of 38 albums released as well as six Grammy Awards between 1971 and 1973.
Carole King delved into children's music for Really Rosie in 1975. The album was the soundtrack for a CBS TV special based on a Maurice Sendak book. Ode took the marketing into bookstores plus department store toy and children's clothing sections with special display racks and a print advertising campaign targeted to newspaper's children and book sections, family and home magazines.
In 1975, Carole King was back on the Billboard Pop Album chart with yet another Top 10 and Top 20 album. She had albums on the Billboard charts each year since 1970. Her singles continued to be in the Top 40 and Top 100. King's singles charted five years in a row. Cheech and Chong Tom Scott each had one Billboard Top 100 pop single.
In 1976, David Walker had a Top 100 album while Cheech and Chong had a Top 100 single.
Adler had supervised Really Rosie. Now, he moved into film with The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
In 1976, Adler moved Ode Records distribution to Epic Records. When he left A&M, the Ode Records catalog included 72 singles and 41 albums. By 1978, he deactivated the label because he wanted to pursue film.
In January 1989, Adler reactivated the label now named Ode Sounds and Visuals and entered into a pressing and distribution arrangement with A&M Records. Adler told Chris Morris of Billboard about his agreement with A&M, "I played [the Cool'r] demo for Herb Alpert to see if A&M was interested. He suggested that I produce them, and from that we got to reactivate Ode. It's [the reactivation] more or less open. As long as we want it to go, it'll go." A&M would handle promotion, distribution and sales and Ode staff would handle back catalog. The first release was on January 24 with the single "Victim" by Cool'R. At the time of the reactivation, Adler brought only one other new artist to the roster, Native. They would be the only artists on Ode until A&M was sold to PolyGram later in the year.
1. Ode Records Reactivated. Chris Morris. Billboard, January 21, 1989.
2. Ode Testing New Areas for King TV Soundtrack. Billboard, February 22, 1975.
ODE RECORDS FORMATS AND PRICES
|1973||ODE SP 77000||$5.98||$6.98||NA|
ODE RECORDS ARTIST ROSTER
|A - H||I - P||Q - Z|
Big Sur Festival
Cheech and Chong
Jan and Dean
L. A. Express
London Symphony Orchestra
Los Angeles Gospel Choir
1 Jan 1
| Robinson Family Plan |
David T. Walker
POP ALBUMS AND SINGLES CHARTS BY YEAR
|1970||Carole King (1 Top 100)|
|1971||Carole King (2 #1s)|| Carole King (1 #1 and 1 Top 20) |
Cheech & Chong (1 Top 10)
|1972||Carole King (1 Top 10)||Carole King (1 Top 40)|
|1973|| Carole King (1 Top 10) |
David Walker (1 Top 200)
| Carole King (2 Top 40s) |
Cheech & Chong (1 Top 20 and 1 Top 40)
Tufano & Giammarese (1 Top 100)
|1974||Carole King (1 #1)|| Carole King (3 Top 10s) |
Cheech & Chong (1 Top 10 and 1 Top 100)
|1975||Carole King (1 Top 10 and 1 Top 20)|| Carole King (1 Top 40 and 1 Top 100) |
Cheech & Chong (1 Top 100)
Tom Scott (1 Top 100)
|1976||David Walker (1 Top 200)||Cheech & Chong (1 Top 100)|
ADULT CONTEMPORARY CHART BY YEAR
|1971||Carole King (1 #1 and one Top 10)|
|1972||Carole King (1 #1 and one Top 10)|
|1973||Carole King (2 Top 10s)|
|1974||Carole King (1 Top 10)|
|1975||Carole King (1 #1)|
|1976|| Carole King (1 #1 and one Top 40) |
Tom Scott (1 Top 50)
R&B ALBUMS AND SINGLES CHARTS BY YEAR
|1971||Merry Clayton (1 Top 40)|| |
|1972||David Walker (1 Top 50)||Merry Clayton (1 Top 30)|
|1973||David Walker (1 Top 30)|| |
|1974|| || |
|1975|| Tom Scott (2 Top 20) |
Merry Clayton (1 Top 50)
|1976||David Walker (1 Top 60)|| |
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.,
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.,
ODE RECORDS STAFF
|A - H||I - P||Q - Z|
| Lou Adler
| Cheryl Jeffrey