History of Shelter Records

Shelter Records was started by Leon Russell and Denny Cordell.  The label operated from 1969 to 1981. The company established offices in Los Angeles and in 1972; set up in Tulsa, Oklahoma at The Church Studio.  In Tulsa, the label’s mission was to foster an environment described as a “workshop atmosphere” with a recording studio in the converted church. Leon also purchased adjoining and nearby houses for artists working at the studio, to be used as crash pads between sessions. Leon remained with Shelter until 1976, when he and Cordell decided to part ways.

In addition to Russell, the label signed other talents, such as Tulsa Sound artists J. J. Cale, Dwight Twilley Band and the Gap Band, as well as Alan Gerber, Jesse Barish (of Jesse, Wolff and Whings), Don Nix, Freddie King, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Phoebe Snow, Richard Torrance and Eureka, Willis Alan Ramsey, and the Grease Band.  Shelter Records also released “Duppy Conqueror”, the first American single by reggae artist Bob Marley.

The label experienced many problems. One major concern was in reference to the logo and icon.  This was targeted at the inverted “Superman” emblem inside an egg. Does it look familiar?  Yes!  Not sure what the boys were thinking but D.C. Comics, the owners of the Superman copyright, thought it was an infringement and won a settlement at which time Shelter had to place a black rubber stamped box or bar over the iconic “S.”  

The logo is being revitalized in 2017  as you can see in the last image.  Will be fun to track the next chapter of this iconic brand.

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