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Artista Records, home to Whitney Houston and Santana, is over

HollywoodNews.com: Arista Records is over. The new management at Sony’s RCA division have put the venerable label started by Clive Davis to sleep at age 36. Arista had drifted since 2000 when BMG, which owned it then, let then overall chief Michael Dornemann oversee the ousting of Davis. By the time that was over, Dornemann was gone and Davis was back with his own label, J Records. Arista went to L.A. Reid, who ran it for a few years before leaving for Island DefJam at Universal Music.

Now, of course, Reid is with Sony, half the people from Sony and Universal have traded jobs. In this latest scuffle, Arista has quietly been put out of business. It’s a shame really. Arista has enormous legacy with dozens of huge acts and famous albums to its credit. From Whitney Houston’s catalog–including “The Bodyguard” soundtrack– to Carlos Santana’s amazing Grammy winning comeback with “Smooth”–Arista deserves more than to be a footnote in history.

Davis started it in 1974 from the rubble of little Bell Records with Barry Manilow’s “Mandy.” Hit after hit kept coming, but not all were in the Whitney-Manilow middle of the road category. At different times, Arista released the Grateful Dead, Graham Parker and the Rumour, and the Kinks. All of them had hit records there, not just because of Davis, but also because of great record people like Richard Palmese. (He’s now gone on to work with Irving Azoff’s management company in Los Angeles.)

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