- THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR WALKING (L.Hazelwood)/ Nancy Sinatra
Criterion Music Corp
Criterion is one of the few true independent music publishers still standing, in this world of the conglomerate.
The history of Criterion Music Corporation dates back to 1943, and the formation of a new publishing company owned by the principals of Capitol Records. Michael H. (Mickey) Goldsen, founder and CEO of Criterion, was offered a 25% interest in the new company, co-owned with Glen Wallichs, Johnny Mercer, and Buddy De Sylva. Setting a new standard, this was the first publishing company owned by a major record company. The new company was called Capitol Songs, Inc., which included the original music companies: Criterion Music Corporation, Atlantic Music Corp., Granite Music Corp., and various associated subsidiaries, which the company owned with Nat “King” Cole, Tex Ritter, Stan Kenton, Peggy Lee, and others.
When Capitol Records became a public corporation in 1948, Goldsen put his companies in trust, and until 1950, started, and ran Ardmore and Beechwood Music, solely owned by Capitol Records. Having moved to California, from New York, in 1947, Goldsen purchased the rights to the original music companies in 1950, and Criterion Music Corporation was a true independent, which it remains to this date.
Over the years, Criterion has been known for its’ standards, beginning with Johnny Mercer’s DREAM, Peggy Lees’ IT’S A GOOD DAY and MANANA, plus continuous standards over the years like MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT, Woody Guthrie’s OKLAHOMA HILLS in the 40’s; the 50’s brought WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG, the classic LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL, and hits like Earl Grant’s THE END, and Les Baxter’s QUIET VILLAGE. Goldsen purchased the Charlie Parker Catalogue in the late 50’s, which included 58 original Parker songs, including ORNITHOLOGY, NO PRICE ON LOVE, MOOSE THE MOOCHE, SCRAPPLE FROM THE APPLE, and on and on. The works of Charlie Parker continue to be a mainstay of the Criterion catalogue, along with numerous other Jazz standards.
The 60’s brought the Lee Hazelwood hits, including Nancy Sinatra’s THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKIN’, and SUGAR TOWN, and Dean Martin’s HOUSTON, plus a whole new direction for the Criterion Catalogue: Hawaiian Music. Introduced to Hawaiian Music in the early 60’s, Mickey Goldsen has built one of the most respected Hawaiian, Tahitian, and Polynesian catalogues in the world. Most well known are the Hawaiian standards, TINY BUBBLES and PEARLY SHELLS.
In 1970, Bo Goldsen, Mickey’s son began working for the company, and the contemporary side of the catalogue began. The 70’s and 80’s brought the Singer-Songwriter Era to the company. Bo was responsible for the signing of Jackson Browne, and classic songs like DOCTOR MY EYES, SONG FOR ADAM, and JAMAICA SAY YOU WILL. The late 70’s brought a whole new crop of Nashville writers, including Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Hugh Moffatt, Tom Kimmel, and Eddy Raven. Together, these writers compiled a total of over 16 #1 Country Hits, including Crowell’s SHAME ON THE MOON, a classic for Bob Seeger, Cash’s SEVEN YEAR ACHE, Raven’s I GOT MEXICO, and Pam Tillis’ MAYBE IT WAS MEMPHIS, written by Michael Anderson.
In 1986, Criterion signed Lyle Lovett, whose catalogue continues to be one of the most active of the companies catalogues, with continual TV and Film usages, with such Lyle classics as IF I HAD A BOAT, CHURCH, NOBODY KNOWS ME, HERE I AM, etc. The company has continued to thrive as an independent through the 90’s and to the present, with over 80 usages in major films (ie ET, Punch Drunk Love, Goodfellas, The Firm, etc) and hits in both country and pop. Most notably were three songs on Garth Brooks “In Pieces” album, co-written by Jenny Yates, which has sold a conglomerate of over 30 million albums, and produced a chart topping Country single, STANDING OUTSIDE THE FIRE.
In the mid- nineties, Criterion writer Maribeth Derry (lyricist) co-wrote I CAN LOVE YOU LIKE THAT, which was #1 (3 weeks) for John Michael Montgomery in country, and then #3 Pop (10 weeks in top 10) for “All For One.” The song became the first song to be song of the year in both ASCAP and BMI, and was nominated for two Grammy Awards, including best Pop and Country Song of the year. Derry also won a Prime Time Emmy for her Theme to “Fame LA,” and closed out the decade with two major film end titles, with “Rugrats In Paris,” and “The Wild Thornberrys.”
Through the years, Criterion has administrated many active catalogues, namely the IRS Music Catalogues, including Sting and The Police, and currently the Ninjatunes Catalogues out of the UK. All through Criterion’s history, the catalogue has always been known for it’s tremendous Jazz copyrights (ie Bernie’s Tune, Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid, Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You, etc.), Standards, Polynesian Music, “Hits Through The Years,” top Commercial usages, and consistent quality material from their writers.