2017 marks the 75th birthday of Capitol Records. Early in the history of the label, there was a commitment to the world of “Hillbilly Music,” as it was called back then. That name faded into obscurity, giving way to what we call Country Music — and what a legacy it has been!
From the early days of the label, including Capitol’s first number one single on the Country (Jukebox as it was labeled then) charts — the King Cole Trio’s “Straighten Up and Fly Right” on June 10, 1944 — to Tex Ritter and Jimmy Wakely to the 50s recordings of Tennessee Ernie Ford and Ferlin Husky, the Bakersfield sounds of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, the crossover stylings of Glen Campbell, all the way through to modern-day superstars such as Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley, the label continues to make history and plow rich musical ground.
Here’s a look at 75 of the most essential Country releases in the label’s history that also illustrates the history of the format since 1942.