was a record label
which existed from 1966
. It was a joint venture between Columbia
and RCA Records
, to issue records by The Monkees
and other Screen Gems artists. The label would also issue soundtrack
recordings for Screen Gems and Columbia Pictures productions. RCA acted as manufacturer and distributor for Colgems. (Outside the United States, all Colgems productions appeared on the RCA Victor
An earlier label, Colpix Records, was dissolved to make way for the new company, and nearly all Colpix titles went out of print. (One Colpix album was reissued on Colgems; the soundtrack to the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.) Ironically, even before the Monkees began, Colpix had signed two future members – Davy Jones, recruited to Screen Gems by Ward Sylvester, and Michael Nesmith, who recorded as "Michael Blessing". Eventually, the Colpix catalog was sold to Roulette Records. Today, the Colpix catalog is owned jointly by Rhino/Warner and EMI.
Among the non-Monkees Colgems roster were Sally Field (star of Gidget and The Flying Nun), Jewel Akens, Sajid Khan (star of the short-lived NBC-TV series "Maya"), Paula Wayne, the Lewis & Clarke Expedition (whose members included Michael Martin Murphy). Hoyt Axton, Alex Keenan and comedian Rich Little released singles on Colgems, and the soundtracks to Casino Royale, Oliver!, In Cold Blood, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner also appeared on the label.
Colgems Records slumped after the critical and commercial failure of the last Monkees album Changes, which featured only Jones and Micky Dolenz. The label's final release, titled Barrel Full of Monkees and showcasing its flagship act, appeared in 1971 but sold very poorly. Colgems then closed, and its master recordings and artists were folded into the Bell Records family, which later evolved into Arista Records, headed by Clive Davis.
In 1979, Columbia Pictures sold Arista (including the Colgems assets) to BMG-owned Ariola Records. Six years later, Ariola's parent company, BMG, merged with RCA Records.
Today, the assets of Colgems Records (except for The Monkees' output) is controlled by Sony BMG - all the more ironic given that the group's part owner Sony had acquired Columbia Pictures in 1989. All of the Monkees' recordings are currently owned by Rhino Records, who licensed the group's original Colgems LP's from Arista and reissued them in the mid-1980s.
A related label to Colgems was SGC Records (Screen Gems-Columbia), which issued albums by Nazz through Atlantic Records, in a distribution deal similar to the one Screen Gems held with RCA.
- 1966-1967: White label with red stripe across the middle and black outlines in the upper and lower half-circles, COLGEMS in red at top with "TM OF COLGEMS RECORDS" disclaimer underneath. "TM OF COLUMBIA PICTURES CORPORATION" and "C" logo to the left of the spindle hole, "TM OF SCREEN GEMS INC." and "S From Hell" logo to the right. Bottom of label shows round RCA "bolt" logo and the disclaimer "TM MANUFACTURED AND DISTRIBUTED BY RCA"
- 1968-1969: Same color label format with a few differences: The black outlines and "TM OF COLGEMS RECORDS" disclaimer has been removed, the Screen Gems disclaimer is shortened to "SCREEN GEMS INC." and there is an addition to the disclaimer at the bottom perimeter, on a second line: "TRADEMARK (R) REGISTERED MARCA REGISTRADA--MADE IN U.S.A."
- 1969-1970: Same as label #2, but the Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, and RCA logos are all replaced with the round Colgems "CG" logo to the left.
- All yellow label for promotional singles
- 1966-1967: Red label with white half-circle at top showing COLGEMS in red and "TM OF COLGEMS RECORDS" underneath. Left edge of label shows "TM OF COLUMBIA PICTURES CORPORATION" and "C" logo, right side shows "TM OF SCREEN GEMS INC." and "S From Hell" logo. Bottom of label shows round RCA "bolt" logo with the mono/stereo designation to the left and "TM MANUFACTURED AND DISTRIBUTED BY RCA" to the right. Bottom perimeter of label under RCA logo shows "TRADEMARK (R) REGISTERED MARCA REGISTRADA--MADE IN U.S.A."
- 1968-1969: Same color format, but the "TM OF COLGEMS RECORDS" disclaimer is removed and the Screen Gems disclaimer is shortened to "SCREEN GEMS, INC.". The "TM MANUFACTURED..." disclaimer is moved from the right of the RCA logo to underneath the logo with the "MARCA REGISTRADA" disclaimer following on the second line.
- 1969-1971: Same as label #2, but the Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems and RCA logos are all replaced with the round Colgems "CG" logo to the left. Some early 1969 pressings may show label #3 on one side and label #2 on the other.