Founded in Jamaica in 1959, the indie had just been relocated to the UK. In 1964 it has a massive international hit with Millie Small’s cover of pop-ska song My Boy Lollipop; many more important ska, reggae recordings follow. The “indie”s recordings are often distributed by much bigger companies.
In 1967 Island begins to focus on the rock market, releasing Traffic album Mr. Fantasy (UK#8, US#88) with the first of its new pink labels (now collector’s items). ▷US ▹ ▷UK ▹ In 1972 Island pulls out of a partnership with ska, reggae label Trojan Records.
In July, 1989 — by which time Island is the largest indie label in history — Blackwell sells to PolyGram.
See also: Island Records discography
The US title, picked by the record industry’s top geniuses, has nothing to do with the song. It’s stew! The song’s original title, ‘Ue O Muite Aruko’ means ‘I look up when I walk’ (so that his tears won’t fall). It sells 13 million copies!
Non-English singles that top the US charts are extremely rare; 1963 saw another: French-language song Dominique by Belgian one-hit wonder The Singing Nun. It reaches the top-ten in eleven countries. (Her life also ends sadly.) In 1973, Spanish song Eres tú reaches US#9.
Recorded over three sessions with producer Jack Endino at Seattle’s Reciprocal Recording Studios beginning in late December 1988, it initially sells 40,000 copies.
Other titles considered: All Humans are Stupid, Ashamed to Be a Human. They’re rejected; a ‘Bleach your works’ poster works.