ILLINOIS CONGRESSWOMAN JAN SCHAKOWSKY CELEBRATES THE BLUES AND HONORS 50 YEARS OF ALLIGATOR RECORDS WITH STATEMENT IN CONGRESSIONAL RECORD
Special Private Event In Washington, DC To Be Hosted By The Recording Industry Association Of America,
The American Association Of Independent Music And Exceleration Music
“Alligator Records stands as one of the most enduring and revered independent blues labels in the world,
its catalog holding inextinguishable works.” –The Chicago Tribune
Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, with the support of 12 members of the Illinois Congressional delegation, entered a commemorative statement, entitled Honoring 50 Years Of Alligator Records, into the official Congressional Record. The statement celebrates blues music as a towering creation of African American culture, and praises Alligator Records and its president and founder, Bruce Iglauer, in honor of the pioneering blues label’s 50th anniversary.
To further celebrate, Schakowsky, along with other dignitaries, will join Iglauer during a private event hosted by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and Exceleration Music at the RIAA's state-of-the-art headquarters in Washington, DC on November 16, 2022. Longtime Alligator recording artist Shemekia Copeland, whom The Washington Post calls, "the greatest blues singer of her generation," will perform a stripped-down acoustic set for an exclusive list of invitees.
According to Congresswoman Schakowsky, "In 1971, at the young age of 23, Bruce Iglauer established Alligator Records. Using all the money in his savings, Bruce invested in his favorite Chicago blues band, Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers, and the rest is history. Now, 50 years later, we celebrate Bruce, Alligator Records, and the magic that is Chicago blues. The rich, vibrant blues scene in Chicago is just one of the many things that makes our city so great. Thanks to the strong leadership of Bruce Iglauer and Alligator Records, blues continues to play on in Chicago and across the entire world.”
Iglauer is thrilled to be recognized, saying, "I’m incredibly honored that the blues and Alligator Records have been lauded by the wonderful Jan Schakowsky. This official recognition is not only for me as the label’s founder, but it’s also for all the dedicated staff, some of whom have worked at Alligator for over four decades, who are committed to supporting our artists and our music. Above all, this statement honors Chicago blues and artists like Hound Dog Taylor, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks, Fenton Robinson, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Johnson, James Cotton, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Charlie Musselwhite, Carey and Lurrie Bell, Billy Branch, Luther Allison, Corky Siegel, Shemekia Copeland, The Cash Box Kings, Nick Moss and Toronzo Cannon -- who have cut timeless albums for Alligator. Those albums carry on the glorious Chicago blues tradition, keeping this deeply rooted music as charismatic and soul-healing for future generations as it has been for me."
Mitch Glazier, RIAA Chairman and CEO adds, "The new RIAA offices were built to celebrate the creative community, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome members of Congress to honor the blues and Alligator Records. Congratulations Bruce, on your vision and leadership that has inspired some of the biggest blues artists across decades."
A2IM President and CEO Dr. Richard James Burgess adds,"Alligator Records’ incredible legacy of excellence highlights what independent labels do best: take huge risks to embrace underappreciated and poorly supported art forms. Many great blues artists might not have made the recordings that have contributed to American culture if Bruce Iglauer had not believed and invested in them. Congratulations to longtime A2IM member and my friend, Bruce Iglauer, on such well-earned and richly-deserved recognition.”
After highlighting Alligator's and Iglauer's storied history, Congresswoman Schakowsky's statement concludes:
Alligator Records has been a driving force in support of Chicago blues and blues music worldwide, and a glowing example of our country’s rich tradition of musical and entrepreneurial spirit. Now, my colleagues in the House of Representatives and I honor Alligator Records on 50 years of business and celebrates the American cultural legacy of Chicago blues music.
Together we urge the United States Government to take all necessary steps to preserve and advance the art form of Chicago blues music; recommit itself to ensuring that recording labels like Alligator Records and their artists receive fair protection under the copyright laws of the United States for their contributions to culture in the United States; and reaffirm the status of Chicago blues as a unique national treasure.
The members who rose in support are Congressman Chuy Garcia, Congressman Sean Casten, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Congressman Brad Schneider, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, Congressman Bobby Rush, Congresswoman Marie Newman, Congressman Bill Foster, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood and Congressman Mike Quigley.
Alligator Records, like the blues itself, continues to break new ground while staying true to its roots. Rolling Stone says, “Prestigious, scrappy independent Alligator Records has reached dizzying heights in celebrating the blues.” It began in 1971, when 23-year-old blues fan Bruce Iglauer spent his savings to record and release a record by his favorite Chicago blues band, Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers. He created Alligator Records to release that one LP. Today, Alligator boasts a catalog of over 350 titles, many of which are renowned, award-winning, time-tested classics of the genre. Career-defining albums from legendary artists including Hound Dog Taylor, Koko Taylor, Son Seals, Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Professor Longhair, Lonnie Brooks, Luther Allison and Michael “Iron Man” Burks share the catalog with releases from current blues and roots icons Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Boy Arnold and Mavis Staples. Records from today’s world-renowned stars like Shemekia Copeland, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Marcia Ball, Billy Branch, Tinsley Ellis, Carolyn Wonderland, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, Curtis Salgado, Roomful Of Blues and The Cash Box Kings, as well as albums from trailblazing newer voices including Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Nick Moss, Toronzo Cannon and Selwyn Birchwood, clearly showcase Alligator’s wide-ranging, forward-looking vision. In 2021, Alligator joined forces with Exceleration Music, a partnership of global music industry leaders who invest in the future of independent labels and artists. On June 18, 2021, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared "Alligator Records Day" throughout the city via official proclamation. This is the same day Alligator Records–50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin' Music (a 2-LP or 3-CD set) was released. On September 18, 2021, the Mayor declared "Bruce Iglauer Day" across the city in honor of Alligator's founder and president. The New York Times says, “Alligator is the leading record label for the blues, and has succeeded where the giants have failed.”
Shemekia Copeland is the female blues artist of her generation, blessed with a cathartic voice and larger-than-life presence. Shemekia has just released her latest album, Done Come Too Far, to overwhelmingly positive reviews. NPR Music calls it "a profound and truly powerful record," saying, "Shemekia Copeland is the greatest living blues singer…totally true to the blues and powerfully contemporary." Shemekia joined the Alligator family when she was only 18. Since then, she’s made ten sensational albums, been nominated for three Grammy Awards, won over a dozen Blues Music Awards, and numerous Living Blues and DownBeat Critics' Awards. She has appeared at the White House, opened for the Rolling Stones, and toured worldwide. Copeland's friend Mavis Staples says, "I am so happy Shemekia is delivering these songs that the world needs to hear. Her voice is strong and soulful and her message comes from her heart."
The Recording Industry Association of America® advocates for recorded music and the people and companies that create it in the United States. RIAA's several hundred members – ranging from major American music groups with global reach to artist-owned labels and small businesses – make up the world's most vibrant and innovative music community, working to help artists reach their potential and connect with fans while supporting hundreds of thousands of American jobs.
A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of nearly 700 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises' (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America's creative class that represents America's diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry's U.S. recorded musicsales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.
Exceleration Music is a company formed by global music industry leaders Glen Barros, Amy Dietz, John Burk, Dave Hansen and Charles Caldas to invest in the future of independent labels and artists. Exceleration offers personalized solutions to entrepreneurs seeking capital to achieve growth as well as those trying to achieve liquidity or an honorable exit. The company’s growing team of data, sales and marketing experts works to preserve and enhance the legacies of both the entrepreneurs and their artists alike. To date, Exceleration has strategic relationships with Alligator, Bloodshot, Candid, Kill Rock Stars, Mom+Pop, The Ray Charles Foundation/Tangerine, SideOneDummy, and most recently the Heroic Music Group. Learn more at www.excelerationmusic.com.