CINEMA: The Creation Records Creation Myth


THE GUARDIAN: There’s one great stroke of genius to Upside Down, Danny O’Connor’s chronicle of the birth, glory years and demise of mouthy mogul Alan McGee’s iconic record label. It’s the lack of a voiceover: O’Connor eschews traditional narration in favour of nuggets of rock’n’roll wisdom, spoken by ageing Irish DJ, music guru and McGee’s Death Disco co-conspirator BP Fallon (“purple-browed beep” in T Rex’s Telegram Sam). Fallon is shot in monochrome and beamed onto a grainy 50s TV set – a move that ensures the film stays in tune with the vibe of the bands Creation championed: amongst others Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, The Pastels, The Jazz Butcher, Felt, Ride, Super Furry Animals, and most lucratively, Oasis.The main players tell the story themselves in interviews spliced with archive footage from throughout Creation’s 20-odd year history. MORE

WIKIPEDIA: Alan McGee formed Creation Records following the culmination of various projects including fanzine Communication Blur, his own rock outfit The Laughing Apple (with future Primal Scream guitarist and long time friend Andrew Innes) and his running of the venue The Communication Club. Initially, McGee wished to provide an outlet for like minded musicians and an opportunity for young bands to see their work on vinyl; primarily the label was in opposition to the “manufactured” synth pop of the era that bore little resemblance to the work of his favourite acts including Public Image Limited and The Sex Pistols. Creation was among the key labels in the mid-1980s Indie movement, with early artists such as The Jesus and Mary Chain and Primal Scream. The Jesus and Mary Chain went to record for Warner Brothers in 1985, yet McGee remained as their manager. With the profits he had made from the band, he was able to release singles by label acts such as Primal Scream, Felt, and The Weather Prophets. McGee had enthusiasm and an uncanny ability to attract the weekly music media, and he was able to get a growing underground following. In their early days, he was able to project a notorious image of The Jesus And Mary Chain, which had often courted violence and loutish behaviour.

Following an unsuccessful attempt to run an offshoot label for Warner Brothers (Elevation Records), McGee regrouped Creation and immersed himself in the burgeoning dance and acid house scene starting in the late 1980s. Those scenes had influenced Creation mainstays such as Primal Scream and Ed Ball, as well as newer arrivals such as My Bloody Valentine. While Creation Records’ releases at this time tended to be critically acclaimed, they tended not to be major commercial hits. Creation had run up considerable debt that was only held off until he sold half the company to Sony Music in 1992. There were reports of McGee’s escalating drug use, as well as numerous and conflicting reports of the label being nearly bankrupted after funding the two-year long recording of My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 Loveless LP.
Sony years. After selling to Sony, Creation had signed Oasis, whose Definitely Maybe LP became a huge critical and commercial success. The band went on to epitomize the cultural Britpop movement of the mid-90s. The success of Oasis was unprecedented for an act on an independent label. Their second album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? became the biggest selling British album of the decade. MORE