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Crazy For You Record
Crazy For You Record

Our History

The roots of First Night Records and its formation by music business veterans John Craig and Tony Edwards can be traced back to their 1984 release on record--- itself an award winner and major chart success--- of the Olympic Gold Medal music of ice-dancers Torvill and Dean. It introduced John and Tony to the orchestrator of those routines who was then currently MD at the London Palladium and conducting, despite an already lengthy run,  the still unrecorded production of "Singin' in the Rain" starring Tommy Steele.

The show became John and Tony's first Cast Album Recording.

Frances:Com New York
John, Frances, Colm: New York
Both avid theatre-goers and quick to enjoy this new musical direction they enthusiastically sought out other shows and Cast Recordings of the 1985 productions of "Kern Goes to Hollywood" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight" soon followed.

In October 1985 Les Miserables, produced by Cameron Mackintosh, premiered at London's Barbican Theatre to extremely downbeat and negative reviews. Edwards and Craig had nevertheless been so entranced in listening weeks previously to an early French version of the musical that they had already pledged to Mackintosh that they would record the show "regardless of run or reviews". It was a costly proposition and at the time there was no guarantee that following its limited run at the Barbican the show would transfer to the West End.

Les Miz Dress Circle
Les Miz Dress Circle. From left to right: John Craig, Frances Ruffelle, Michael Ball, Roger Allam, Pattie Lu Pone, Colm Wilkinson, Rebecca Caine and Tony Edwards
The recording went ahead. Les Mis did transfer and on its opening night at the Palace in early December the Original Cast Recording was on sale in the theatre. First Night Records had been born.

Ecstatic word of mouth continued to gainsay those initial "Les Glums..." reviews and a first miserable ship-out to the retail morphed into an inward armada of Les Miserables repeat orders. Today, many times platinum, it is still First Night Records best-selling album.

Sharing anniversaries as First Night does with those of 'Les Mis' we too can look back at our own twenty-four years of achievement..

Studio Crazy For You
Studio Crazy For You
During those years we have recorded every show that Sir Cameron Mackintosh has produced in London including Miss Saigon, Oliver, Follies, My Fair Lady, Witches of Eastwick, Martin Guerre, Mary Poppins and most recently, from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, a LIVE recording of the new 2009 production of Oliver! featuring Rowan Atkinson and Jodie Prenger.

We have worked with almost all West End and International Producers establishing long and lasting relationships with them.

We have the respect of Equity and the confidence of actors and actresses in recording their performances for a First Night Records release.

We have recorded over 150 productions some small or medium--Gigi, South Pacific, Blood Brothers, Richard Stilgoe and Peter Skellern's Who Plays Wins--others large--Buddy, Cityof Angels, Kiss of the Spider Woman---and still others very large---The Complete Symphonic Les Miserables with the Philharmonia Orchestra and a cast of over 100 actors, recorded during 1988 in London, New York, Nashville, Sydney and Los Angeles, which incidentally went on to win a Grammy.

John and Cameron
John and Cameron
We have forged personal relationships with television presenters, broadcasters and press who together with major retailers all enjoy the preview evenings that we mount for new productions.

We run First Night Records and the Cast Collection, our very successful Mail Order business from our own small mews building in London's West End, close to the BBC and in the shadow of the BT Tower.

The entire First Night catalogue is available to download through our own Digital Shop.

The Cast Collection is particularly well known to theatre-goers, its advertising a regular feature in theatre programmes. The majority of orders are fulfilled from our own offices, usually on day of receipt Orders sent online go through our secure online service and are also despatched on the same day.