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Island at 60: Founder Chris Blackwell Talks Label’s Legacy and His Career

It was one of his innovative distribution ideas that inspired his hero, mentor and friend, Atlantic Records co-founder/president Ahmet Ertegun, to call Blackwell “the baby-faced killer.” It was the late 1970s, and Blackwell was looking for a new partner after a deal with Robert Stigwood’s company went south. He approached Ertegun and asked to cut a deal with Atlantic’s CFO, Sheldon Vogel, nicknamed “Dr. No” for his frugality. Rather than take an advance against royalties, however, Blackwell turned the deal around, offering Atlantic an advance from him to distribute Island’s records. “I was dealing with an accountant, and an accountant can never refuse free money,” he recalls, laughing. “So I made the deal, and then Island took off. U2, particularly, took off.

via Billboard