label Of The Week
- Formed 1956
- Full list of titles can be found here
Since opening its doors back in 1956, Verve Records has upheld a core commitment to authenticity, artistry, and integrity. The label has always sought to provide a home for fearless and ambitious artists—acts who have something to say, and who are not limited by expectations, limitations, or trends. The one common thread from the legendary label’s inception to the present-day remains its staunch emphasis on unfettered and uncompromising creativity, championing pioneering voices with a platform like no other. As such, you can trace its history from seminal releases by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, and The Velvet Underground up to a new vanguard led by artists like Jon Batiste, Samara Joy, and Kurt Vile.
Founder Norman Granz envisioned Verve Records as a home for outliers, mavericks, and innovators. The first of whom would be none other than his management client Ella Fitzgerald. Granz combined the catalogs of his labels Clef Records and Norgran Records into what would become Verve Records. Flagship releases included Oscar Peterson’s Night Train and Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook—which would eventually be enshrined in the GRAMMY® Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress as part of the National Recording Registry.
Following its acquisition by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1961, Verve released seminal albums from the Righteous Brothers, The Blues Project, and The Velvet Underground whose Velvet Underground & Nico ranks in the Top 25 of Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Amplifying bossa nova throughout popular culture under the label’s watch, Stan Getz joined forces with Joao Gilberto for Getz/Gilberto. Highlighted by the generational smash “Girl From Ipanema,” it notably garnered the 1965 GRAMMY® Award in the category of “Album of the Year.”
Throughout the nineties and the turn-of-the-century, Verve only magnified its resonance with the likes of Diana Krall and Herbie Hancock who notched “Album of the Year” for River: The Joni Letters in 2008. The 21st century finds Verve in a state of perpetual forward motion. During 2022, Jon Batiste’s We Are led the music industry with 11 GRAMMY® Award nominations, and garnered five wins, including “Album of the Year.” For three non-consecutive years between 2019 and 2023, the label also had an artist nominated for “Best New Artist” at the ceremony, with Samara Joy receiving the honor in 2023.
Verve maintains a safe haven for creatives of all kinds. Beyond the mothership Verve Records, it consists of partnerships with likeminded labels, including Impulse! Records [Shabaka, Hutchings, Brandee Younger], Verve Forecast [Tank and the Bangas, S.G. Goodman, Madison Cunningham], and New Deal [Blake Mills, Pino Palladino, Núria Graham]. And the label shows no sign of slowing down, with new releases from Kurt Vile, Madison Cunningham, Arooj Aftab, Brandee Younger, Everything But The Girl, and many more.