Mercury Records

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Record Company

Mercury Records

Mercury Records Corporation was formed in Chicago in 1945 by Irving Green, Berle Adams, Ray Greenberg, and Arthur Talmadge.  They were a major force in R&B, doo wop, soul music, blues, pop, jazz, and classical music.  Its success was attributed to their promotion of new release using jukeboxes instead of the more costly traditional radio airplay employed by the major record companies.

In the 1940’s Mercury focused on releases by post-swing and bebop artists such as Clifford Brown, Max Roach, Sarah Vaughan, and Maynard Ferguson.  By the 1950’s the label was releasing albums by Gene Ammons, Lester Young, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, The Platters, Brook Benton, and Patti Page.  In the 1960’s and 1970’s the company was releasing records by Paper Lace, Rod Stewart, BTO, and 10cc.  By the early 1980’s the company had released albums of funk musicians such as Ohio Players, Kool and the Gang, The Gap Band, Robert Cray, and disco queen Donna Summers.

Mercury absorbed the artists and catalog of Casablanca Records which included Kiss, The Village People, Van Morrison, Scorpions, Rush, John Mellencamp, Tears for Fears, Bon Jovi, and Def Leopard.

The innovative company achieved several “firsts.”  In 1947, Patti Page became the first artist to overdub a backing vocal on tape.  In 1955, Mercury began using three omnidirectional microphones instead of one to enhance the depth of stereo recordings.  The Mercury ‘Living Presence’ stereo records were recorded on 35mm magnetic film instead of tape.  In June 1967, Mercury became the first U.S. record label to release cassette tapes (Musicassettes).

Mercury Records was inducted into the Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in June, 2023.

The museum suffered damage as the result of a microburst in downtown Joliet. The building did sustain some damage however we are extremely grateful that no one was injured during this tragedy. 

We are fortunate that Gigantar, our exhibit artifacts and the gift shop merchandise all escaped any damage. 

We are temporarily closed to the public as we work with our contractors through the cleanup process. 
Please stay tuned as we get back in the groove.