Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has acquired Criterion Music Corporation and its affiliated entities, including songs written by jazz legend Charlie “Bird” Parker (Ornithology), Lee Hazlewood (These Boots are Made for Walkin’), Lyle Lovett (If I Had a Boat), Rodney Crowell (Shame on the Moon), Rosanne Cash (Seven Year Ache), Jackson Browne (Doctor My Eyes), and many others
For the past 70 years, the family-owned and run music publishing company has racked up 13 No. 1 country hits in the US, as well as one of the largest collections of Hawaiian and Polynesian music and interests in such standards as Dream (When You’re Feeling Blue), Moonlight in Vermont, It’s a Good Day, Mañana, Papa Ooh Mow Mow, Let The Good Times Roll, Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You and Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair.
The company will relocate to UMPG’s global headquarters in Santa Monica, CA, where Bo Goldsen will continue to serve as President of Criterion.
Criterion was effectively born in 1943 when music publishing veteran Mickey Goldsen joined the newly-founded Capitol Records to create its publishing division, then called Capitol Songs.
Many of the earliest publishing copyrights were recorded by Capitol’s recording artists, including Nat King Cole (Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You), Peggy Lee (It’s a Good Day, Mañana), The Pied Pipers (Dream (When You’re Feeling Blue)), and Stan Kenton (I Told You I Love You (Now Get Out)).
In 1950, Goldsen purchased the publishing assets from Capitol and started Criterion Music Corporation. That decade, the newly-independent company purchased the Charlie Parker catalog, which includes 54 original songs written by the legendary jazz saxophonist and composer, featuring such jazz standards as Ornithology, Koko, Scrapple from the Apple, Confirmation, and Yardbird Suite.
During this period, Criterion also acquired classics like Let The Good Times Roll, originally a hit for Shirley & Lee and later recorded by Roy Orbison, Harry Nilsson, Barbra Streisand and Joe Strummer, among others. It also snapped up Moonlight in Vermon, often considered the unofficial song of the state of Vermont, and recorded by everyone from Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Billie Holiday, Linda Ronstadt, to Willie Nelson.
In the 1960s, Criterion secured the publishing rights of the catalog of the iconic songwriter, producer, and singer Lee Hazlewood. His catalogue includes Nancy Sinatra’s hit version of Hazlewood’s song These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ (pictured), which rose to No. 1 in both the US and the UK, selling over 6 million singles worldwide and two million albums. The song has been covered by artists as diverse as Jessica Simpson and Megadeth. Other Hazlewood originals published by Criterion include Sugar Town (a Top 5 pop hit for Nancy Sinatra), Houston (a Top 11 pop hit for Dean Martin) and Summer Wine (the first of a series of hit duets by Nancy & Lee). A German version of “Summer Wine” by Ville Valo and Natalia Avelon was the fourth best-selling single in that country in 2007, and Lana Del Rey has also recorded a new version of the song.
In the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, Criterion found further success when Mickey’s son, Bo Goldsen, began working with the company and added new generations of talented writers to its roster. Bo was responsible for signing Jackson Browne, and the Criterion catalogue features well-known Browne favorites like Doctor My Eyes, Song For Adam, and Jamaica Say You Will.
Bo also signed Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell, two of the most respected country writers of their era, as well as Lyle Lovett, who went on to pen multiple gold and platinum-certified albums.
“Over seven decades, the Goldsen family has built one of the finest collections of songs in contemporary music publishing. We are privileged that they have entrusted their legacy to UMPG. We are delighted that Bo Goldsen will continue to run Criterion as its President and work with us to write the next chapter in the company’s history,” said Zach Horowitz, Chairman & CEO, UMPG.
“I am excited to take Criterion into the future, under the wing of UMPG, and the great enthusiasm for the catalog shown to me by Zach Horowitz, Lance Freed, and Evan Lamberg” said Bo Goldsen.
Criterion’s diverse catalogue also contains some of the most popular and recognizable Hawaiian and Polynesian songs of the 20th century, including the catalogues of seven members of the Hawaiian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Among these is perhaps the most well-known Hawaiian song of all time, Tiny Bubbles, which crossed over to pop success when released as a single by Don Ho.
In addition, Criterion owns the theme music of many classic TV shows, including The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. A new animated movie based on characters from the Rocky and Bullwinkle series is planned for 2014 and will feature music from the Criterion catalogue.Music Business Worldwide