Fantasy Records

Founded in 1949 in an alley off San Francisco’s Market Street by brothers Max and Sol Weiss, Fantasy’s initial signing was an Oakland pianist named Dave Brubeck. The iconoclastic label went on to record music and cultural giants such as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Odetta, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, as well as comic icon Lenny Bruce, and influential Beat poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Allen Ginsberg.

An El Cerrito, CA garage band called The Blue Velvets, led by a Fantasy shipping clerk John Fogerty, signed with company in 1964. After rechristening themselves, The Golligwogs, and then Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1967, the quartet recorded a string of gold and platinum records and million-selling singles, including “Proud Mary,” “Fortunate Son,” “Down on the Corner,” and “Born on the Bayou,” among many others. In 1970, they outsold the Beatles.

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And in 1965, Fantasy recording artist, Vince Guaraldi, a local jazz pianist, was contacted to compose the music for a documentary about Charles Schulz and his Peanuts comic strip. Though the documentary was never released, Guaraldi’s musical themes were repurposed for the animated holiday special A Charlie Brown Christmas which aired in December of that year spawning a multi-platinum selling, perennial holiday classic.

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In 1957, at the height of his success, Little Richard suddenly quit his rock career after a tour of Australia.

He claimed that a vision of the apocalypse came to him in a dream, and that he saw his own damnation. In his authorized biography he tells a story of a plane flight during which the overheated engines appeared in the darkness of night to be on fire. He prayed to God and promised that if the plane landed safely he would change his ways.

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