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The Labels That Built Prog: Charisma Records

Relive the magic of some of the greatest imprints of all time in Prog’s new bite-sized label guide. To the untrained eye, Charisma Records is not that dissimilar to many other labels of the era.

Compelling founder? Check. Unique logo? Check. Singular ethos? Check. One artist that would go on to outsell the others? Check. But what made Charisma unique was that its founder, Tony Stratton-Smith, did not solely have a counterculture background. Although at the time of the label’s formation he was managing The Nice and Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, he was also a polymath with a journalistic past and interests right across the board.

“I don’t think he knew about rock’n’roll, but he knew an awful lot about emotion. Intelligence was a key thing with Strat,” Charisma booking agent Paul Conroy says, and this was hugely instrumental in giving Charisma such a distinctive flavor among the independent labels of the early ’70s… read more >

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