International Artists Records (more formally, the International Artist Producing Corporation) was
started in Houston, Texas, in 1965. It was owned and run by Lelan Rogers (Kenny's oldest Brother).
Lelan was born June 9, 1928 in Cherokee Co., Texas, and died August 22, 2002 in Nashville.
International Artists was an innovative label, releasing both early "psychedelic" music and also proto-industrial rock many years before that became a genre in vogue. From today's viewpoint, they might also be classified as garage bands or even early punk rock. They were active from 1965-1970. During that time they released 12 albums and 42 singles.
International Artists put out their first three singles in 1965. The first [IA 101] was "Alright"/"Wonderful You" by the Coastliners, followed by "You Done Me Wrong"/"Because You're A Man" by Ray Brooks [IA 102] and "Honey Child"/"Another Love" by Johnny Williams. These three singles garnered no particular notice by the record-buying public. Neither did the next three, by the She's, Kathy Clarke, and Tom Harvey [IA 104-106, respectively], released in early 1966.
It was the seventh single that put International Artists on the map. The story goes like this. An Austin, Texas, based garage band called the Spades, fronted by vocalist/guitarist Roger "Roky" Erickson, was formed in 1964, and in late 1965 cut a single called "You're Gonna Miss Me," which was released on Zero 10002, going nowhere. Meanwhile, guitarist Tommy Hall, a college undergrad in Austin, was running a band called the Lingsmen, and recruited Erickson for their lead singer. When Erickson joined, the band name changed to the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, and the group recut "You're Gonna Miss Me," this time with the odd "electric jug" sound played by Hall that was to become the group's musical trademark. The new version, produced and financed by Gordon Bynum, was issued first on Contact 5269, then reissued by HBR [HBR 492], a California label that was looking around in Texas for hits. Finally, the song was picked up by its third label, International Artists, where it was issued as IA 107. It jumped on the national charts, eventually reaching #55 in early Fall, 1966.
The other members of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators were lead guitarist Stacy Sutherland, bassist Dan Galindo, and drummer Danny Thomas. Lelan Rogers decided to promote them as a psychedelic band, even though their roots were folk and garage-type rock and roll. Hall's oddball electric jug (sounding almost, but not quite, like a rapidly picked guitar) gave the band a strange, unique sound. In addition to the title of their first album, The Psychedelic Sounds of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, the liner notes included this "enlightened" screed: "Recently, it has become possible for man to chemically alter his mental state and thus alter his point of view (that is, his own basic relation with the outside world which determines how he stores his information). He then can restructure his thinking and change his language so that his thoughts bear more relation to his life and his problems, before approaching them more sanely. It is this quest for pure sanity that forms the basis of the songs on this album."
Fair enough; the drug culture in pop music had begun. But more than the drug references, the hit "You're Gonna Miss Me" became popular because, as Lelan Rogers put it, people kept asking, "What's that funny little noise in that record?" Indeed, "You're Gonna Miss Me" has become a rock and roll classic, undoubtedly selling many more copies over the years than it did when first released. As late as 2007, it was heard in the background of a commercial by (fittingly enough) Austin-based Dell Computer Corporation, who obviously is aware of the local music heritage.
The Thirteenth Floor Elevators' followup single, "Reverberation (Doubt)" [IA 111] scraped the bottom of the "Bubbling Under" chart at #129 for a week in November, 1966, then the band was done on the charts. But their albums have been heavily reissued over the years, both on vinyl and on CD. Apparently, the "funny little noise" was quite catchy.
Other singles issued by International Artists in 1966 included singles by Sterling Damon, the Disciples of Shaftesbury, Thursday's Children, and Frankie & Johnny.
At the beginning of 1967, IA tried another Thirteenth Floor Elevators single, "Levitation"/"Before You Accuse Me" [IA 113], but it failed to chart. New artists with singles on the label in 1967 included Chayns, Billy Wade McKnight, and Lost & Found. Lost & Found merited an album, as did two groups who had no singles released, Golden Dawn and Red Crayola. In the latter's case, there was nothing even remotely suitable for a single to be played on radio; the group played what has been described as a precursor to industrial rock with the group members not exactly masters of their instruments. Also, as was to be expected when the group name incorporates a trade-marked brand name, the group was legally forced to alter their name to "Red Krayola." I'm sure the Crayola folks didn't exactly welcome the association with an album of strange noise.
1968 brought International Artists several new artists. Texas-based bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins recorded an album for the label, from which the single "Mr. Charlie"/"Baby Child" [IA 127] was drawn. Other newcomers were Beauregard and Rubayyat, who each merited one single. Three more singles by the Thirteenth Floor Elevators again failed to chart.
In late 1968, International Artists signed what would be their most commercially successful band, the Bubble Puppy (the band's name derived from a children's game in the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley). The Texas-based band — originally formed in San Antonio, then moved to Austin, then relocated to Houston after signing with IA — consisted of Rod Prince (vocals/guitar), Todd Potter (guitar), Roy Cox (bass) and Dave Fore (drums). Their first single, "Hot Smoke & Sasafrass" [IA 128], reached #14 on the pop charts in the spring of 1969. The title of the song came from a comment on the Beverly Hillbillies television show when Grandma said, "Hot smoke and sassafras, Jethro, can't you do anything right?" The followup, "If I Had a Reason" [IA 133], however, only reached a disappointing #128 after its May release. Two additional singles in 1969 failed to make the national charts at all. Their album A Gathering of Promises was the only International Artists album to make the Top 200, reaching #176.
Other new artists for 1969 were Sonny Hall, the Shayds/Shayde, and Endle St. Cloud-In the Rain (a trio who also had an album released in 1970). The year 1970 was the last active year for the label, with singles by new artists Ginger Valley and Arnim & Hamilton.
All of the original pressings of the albums command premium prices today. Original copies of these twelve albums had either green labels with yellow print (mono), or green labels with silver print (stereo). Second pressings had yellow and blue labels, then all-yellow labels (similar to the 45 labels shown below). The label became inactive in 1970. In 1978-79, International Artists re-activated itself to re-issue their catalog. They reissued the albums with an aqua blue label, with "Masterfonics" in the runout grooves.They also reissued all twelve albums in a box set and in 1980 issued a thirteenth album, a 2-LP various artists set with many of the previously-non-LP singles. IA also reissued them in the UK on the International Artists/Radar label. Radar also issued an interesting two-song promotional flexidisc and a four-song EP (shown below).
Sometime in the 1980s, the label's masters were in the hands of the Charly label in the UK, who reissued many of the albums on their Decal subsidiary. Today, many if not most of the albums are available on CD, including a 6-CD box set from Collectables.
|Original mono labels (far left) were green with yellow print, with the International Artists logo at the top. Original stereo labels were green color with silver print.|
|Second pressings (far left) had a blue and yellow label, while reissues circa 1979 (near left) were aqua color had "Masterfonics" stamped in the runout grooves.|
|Promotional album labels were white with black print (far left), with the same graphics as the original labels. First singles label was blue with no graphics, with a large "IA" at the top.|
|The second IA label was yellow (far left), with the logo at the left of the center hole. Promotional versions of this label were issued in various colors. The one at the near left is blue and white.|
|Another promotional version of the second label was grey and white (far left). The third IA label (near left) was all yellow, with the global logo at the left side of the center hole.|
|Promotional versions of the third label are known with a white label and black print (far left). Promotional copies are also known with the regular label. The one at near left was pressed on green vinyl. Note that the logo is inverted on both of these examples.|
|In 1979, International Artists had a deal with Radar Records in the UK, which reissued many of the IA albums. At far left is an extended play 45 released about that time, and the near left shows a promotional flexidisc with two songs.|
Number - Title - Artist [Release Date] (Chart) Contents|
IA-LP-1 - Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators - 13th Floor Elevators 
Issued in mono and stereo. You're Gonna Miss Me (E)/Roller Coaster (S)/Splash 1 (S)/Reverberation
(Doubt) (E)/Don't Fall Down (S)/Fire Engine (S)/Thru the Rhythm (S)/You Don't Know (S)/Kingdom of
Heaven (E)/Monkey Island (S)/Tried to Hide (S)
IA-LP-2 - Parable of the Arable Land - Red Crayola  Issued in mono and stereo.
Free Form Freakout: Hurricane Fighter Plane/Free Form Freakout: Transparent Radiation/Free Form
Freakout: War Sucks/Free Form Freakout: Pink Stainless Tail/Free Form Freakout: Parable of Arable
Land/Free Form Freakout: Former Reflections Enduring Doubt
IA-LP-3 - Everybody's Here - Lost & Found  Issued in mono and stereo. Forever
Lasting Plastic Words/Everybody's Here/There Would Be No Doubt/Don't Fall Down/Zig Zag Blues/Let
Me Be/I Realize/2 Stroke Blues/I'm So Hip To Pain/Living Eye
IA-LP-4 - Power Plant - Golden Dawn  Issued in mono and stereo. Evolution/The
Way Please/Starvation/I'll Be Around/Seeing Is Believing//My Time/A Nice Surprise/Every Day/Tell Me
Why/Reaching Out To You
Starting at this point, commercial albums were issued in stereo only. Mono promotional copies of some numbers are known to exist.
IA-LP-5 - Easter Everywhere - 13th Floor Elevators  Mono promotional copies
were issued. Slip Inside This House/Slide Machine/She Lives (In A Time of Her Own)/Nobody To
Love/Baby Blue//Earthquake/Dust/Levitation/I Had To Tell You/Posturos (Leave Your Body Behind)
IA-LP-6 - Free Form
Patterns - Lightnin' Hopkins  There were two covers for this album. The first showed
a photo of Hopkins, while the second (right) was a "psychedelic" cover. Mr.Charlie/Give Me Time To
Think/Fox Chase/Mr. Ditta's Grocery Store/Open Up Your Door//Baby Child/Cooking's Done/Got Her
Letter This Morning/Rain Falling/Mini Skirt
IA-LP #7 - God Bless the Red Krayola and All Who Sail with It - Red Krayola  Say
Hello To Jamie Jones/Music/Shirt/Listen To This/Save The House/Victory Garden/Coconut Hotel/Sheriff
Jack/Free Piece/Ravi Shankar: Parachutist/Piece For Piano And Electric Bass Guitar/Dairymaid's
Lament/Big/Leejol/Sherlock Holmes/Dirth Of Tilth/Tina's Gone To Have A Baby/Jewels Of The
Madonna/Green Of My Pants/Night Song
IA-LP #8 - 13th Floor Elevators Live - 13th Floor Elevators  Actually, this seems to
be a collection of B-sides, hits and such, with applause dubbed in. It has been described as "cheesy."
Before You Accuse Me/She Lives In A Time Of Her Own/Tried To Hide/You Gotta Take That Girl/I'm
Gonna Love You Too//Everybody Needs Somebody To Love/I've Got Levitation/You Can't Hurt Me
Anymore/Roller Coaster/You're Gonna Miss Me
IA-LP #9 - Bull of the Woods - 13th Floor Elevators  Livin On/Barnyard Blues/Till
Then/Never Again/Rose And The Thorn/Down By The River/Scarlet And Gold/Street Song/Dr.
Doom/With You/May The Circle Remain Unbroken
IA-LP10 - A Gathering of Promises - Bubble Puppy  (5-69, #176) Hot Smoke And
Sasafrass/Todd's Tune/I've Got To Reach You/Lonely/A Gathering Of Promises//Hurry
Sundown/Elizabeth/It's Safe To Say/Road To St. Stephen's/Beginning
IALP-11 - Color Blind - Dave Allen "The Man"  Terp/How Can You Be So
Cold/Please Don't Try To Tell Me What To Do/Dave's Blues/Lord Have Mercy/Goin' Back To
Houston/Poor Soul/Livin' In A World Of Darkness/Bone's Home/Midnight Hour Blues/Goin' To St. Louis
IALP-12 - Thank You All Very Much - Endle St. Cloud-In the Rain  Street Corner
Preacher/Who Would You Like To Be Today/This Is Love/Professor Black//Laughter/Jessica/Come
Through/Like A Badge
IA-BOX-1 - International Artists Box Set - Various Artists  (12-LP box set) Limited
Edition (1000). Includes the 12 original International Artists albums (IA-LP-1 through IA-LP12) with
original artwork. Covers appear to be from original artwork and pressings seem to be equivalent to
original albums. Both the vinyl and the cardboard used for the covers are thinner than the originals.
IALP - 13 - Epitaph for a
Legend: International Artists Story - Various Artists  (2-LP
set) Issued in the UK as Decal LIKD 52, with a different cover (shown at right). Disc 1: Night
Time - Chaynes/In My Own Time - Patterns/I Tried So Hard - Chapparrals/A
Part of You - Thursday's Children/If I Were a Carpenter - Electric Rubayyat/Poor Planet Earth - Sonny
Hall/Communication Breakdown - Inner Sense/Hurricane Fighter Plane - Red Krayola/Pink Stainless Tail
- Red Krayola/Nickle Niceness - Red Krayola/Vile Vile Grass - Red Krayola/Transparent Radiation - Red
Krayola/I Want My Woman - Emperors/25 M.P.H. - Lost & Found; Disc 2: Breakfast in Bed - Big
Walter/C.C. Rider - Dave Allen/Saturday A.M. Blues - Dave Allen/Conversation with Lightnin' Hopkins -
Lightnin' Hopkins/Black Ghost Blues - Lightnin' Hopkins/Excerpts from Interview With Roky, KSAM
4/1/78 - Roky Erickson/You're Gonna Miss Me - Spades/We Sell Soul - Spades/Splash I - Roky & C.
Hall/Right Track Now - Roky & C. Hall/Wait for My Love - 13th Floor Elevators/60-Second Radio Spot for
Bull of the Woods - 13th Floor Elevators/Fire Engine - 13th Floor Elevators
Decal LIK 53 (UK) - The International Artists Singles Collection - Various Artists 
Tried To Hide - 13th Floor Elevators/Rejected - Sterling Damon/Help Murder Police - Thursday's
Children/Ever Ever Land - Rubayyat/Thinkin' About Thinkin' - Bubble Puppy/When Will You Come
Through - Lost & Found/Ginger - Ginger Valley/Tell Me One More Time (What's Happening To Our
World) - Endle St. Cloud//You Can Forget About That - Thursday's Children/If I Had A Reason - Bubble
Puppy/Quest For Beauty - Endle St. Cloud/Professor Black - Lost & Found/Times Gone By - Disciples Of
Shaftesbury/Country Life - Ginger Valley/What Do You See - Bubble Puppy