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Buddah Records (now known as Buddha Records for spelling corrections of "Buddha") was founded in 1967 by promoter Neil Bogart in New York Citymarker. It released a variety of music types, including bubblegum pop like the Ohio Express, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, solo performer writer-singer Melanie, rhythm and blues artist Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Captain Beefheart.

Buddah Records distributed their own records as well as other labels such as Kama Sutra Records when they left MGM distribution, Curtom Records, (Curtis Mayfield), T-Neck Records (the Isley Brothers), Charisma Records, Sussex Records (Bill Withers) as well as smaller subsidiaries.


While working at Kama Sutra Records, Art Kass was unhappy with the distribution deal with MGM Records and started Buddah Records around 1967. He brought in Neil Bogart, who was an MGM General Manager in the early sixties. Buddah's first single was "Yes, We Have No Bananas"/"The Audition" by the Mulberry Fruit Band (BDA 1) and its first album was "Safe As Milk" by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (BDM-1001/BDS-5001).With "bubblegum pop" music coming to the forefront in the late 60's, Buddah became its main outlet. Through Super K Productions and producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jerry Katz, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, Ohio Express, and Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus continuously placed Buddah on the map. However, it was The Lemon Pipers who gave Buddah its first #1 hit with Green Tambourine in early 1968.

As the phase of bubblegum music faded by the turn of the decade, Buddah branched out in various musical directions, finding success in just about every outlet, from gospel to folk-country and especially R&B. The label even cashed in with a novelty break-in (ala Dickie Goodman) track, "Moonflight" by Vik Venus a/k/a/ disc jockey Jack Spector, but Spector played it safe by using only Buddah recordings for this record. They also scored a hit with The Rapper, a song many other labels passed on. That song by The Jaggerz was on the Kama Sutra label.

Neil Bogart left Buddah Records in 1973 to start his Casablanca Records label. Almost immediately after his departure, Kass signed the label's biggest success, Gladys Knight & The Pips, whose Motown contract had just ended.

By the late 70's, Buddah's releases became sporadic, but continued to hit the pop and R&B charts. Jazz session drummer Norman Connors became the company's musical director in 1976. In 1978, Arista Records distributed Buddah until 1980. As the 80's came, Buddah's roster continued to dwindle. The summer of 1983 saw Buddah's final releases: Michael Henderson's R&B hit "Fickle" (BDA 9007) and an album of the same name (BDS-6004). By this time, Art Kass sold the label to Essex Entertainment. Essex held on to the Buddah catalog until 1993, when they sold the Buddah catalog to BMG.

Buddah, now spelled Buddha Records (its correct spelling), was re-activated (or reincarnated) by BMG in September 1998 as a reissue label which reorganized into BMG Heritage Records on January 1, 2002. The Buddah/Buddha catalogue is now owned by Sony Music Entertainment and managed by Legacy Recordings.

Buddah subsidiary labels

Buddah was also the distributor of many colorful labels throughout its colorful history, including...

Other Buddah subsidiaries or associated labels (many of lesser-known content) included: Radio Active Gold (for reissue singles), Team, Super K, Pavilion, Royal American, Symbolic, Pace, Desert Moon, Pi Kappa, Skye, Southwind, Thomas, Harbour, Charisma, National General, and Brut

Buddah label variations

  • 1967 -- BUDDAH RECORDS in stylized black letters at the bottom. Singles were designated with green labels, albums with red labels
  • 1968-1972 -- Multi-color "kaleidescope" label with silhouette of a Shiva deity (not Buddha) at the bottom of the label between the words BUDDAH and RECORDS (same format for both singles and albums)
  • 1972-1978 -- Maroon label with pink circle around outer edge, BUDDAH RECORDS at top of label in white letters. Singles feature the head of an actual Buddha statue at the top of the label, albums show the entire statue at the bottom. When Arista took over distribution in 1978, the Arista logo and disclaimer were added at the bottom, starting with this label format
  • 1978-1983 -- Black label with multi-colored "B" logo at top, BUDDAH in white letters under the "B", Arista logo and disclaimer at the bottom (same format for singles and albums)

Buddah Records and associated labels artists

Compilation discography w/Billboard chart peak positions

  • Bubble Gum Music Is The Naked Truth (#105) -- Buddah BDS-5032 -- 3/69
:Hits by 1910 Fruitgum Company, Ohio Express, Lemon Pipers, Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus, and Shadows Of Knight
  • Buddah's 360 Degree Dial-A-Hit -- Buddah BDS-5039 -- 1969
:Tracks from Buddah, Kama Sutra and Curtom artists
  • The Amazing Mets (#197) -- Buddah 1969 -- 11/69
:Songs by the 1969 World Series Champions New York Mets (take note of the appropriately issued label number)
  • Dick Clark / 20 Years Of Rock & Roll (#27) -- Buddah BDS-5133 -- 7/73
:2-LP set of hits from 1953-1972. Original copies (with gatefold cover) include booklet and bonus 7" cardboard record "Inside Stories with Dick Clark" (reissues have none of the extras)
  • The Buddah Box -- Essex Entertainment 7060 -- 1993
:3-CD set of 45 tracks by various Buddah artists (1965-1984). Includes 27-page booklet with label history and photos

See also


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