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Chris Blackwell Net Worth, Biography & Wiki 2017
Christopher Percy Gordon Blackwell was born on the 22nd June 1937 in Westminster, London England, and is a businessman and record producer best known to the world as the founder of the Island Records, one of the Britain’s most successful record labels, but which he sold to PolyGram records in 1989. His career started in the late ‘50s.
Have you ever wondered how rich Chris Blackwell is, as of early 2017? According to authoritative sources, it has been estimated that Blackwell’s net worth is as high as $180 million, earned through his successful career in the music industry.
Chris Blackwell Net Worth $180 Million
Chris is of mixed ancestry; his father was English, while his mother was born in Costa Rica and belonged to a Sephardic Jewish family from Jamaica. Although born in London, Chris spent his childhood in Jamaica, and then moved to Britain to attend Harrow School. His parents divorced when he was 12, and once he finished high school he returned to Jamaica to work as ADC for the Governor of Jamaica, Sir Hugh Foot. Following Foot’s departure to Cyprus, Chris left King’s House and worked several jobs in real estate and other industries, including managing jukeboxes, through which he was introduced to the Jamaican music community.
In 1958 during one of his boat trips, his boat got stuck on a coral reef, and Chris swam back to the shore to find help. He collapsed on the beach, and was eventually rescued by Rasta fisherman, who healed his wounds with traditional Ital food. This pushed Chris into Rastafarianism, and encouraged him to further explore the culture and music. The same year he founded Island Records, with the help of his parents who gave him $10,000, and with a business partner, radio personality Graeme Goodall.
Chris’s first performer was pianist Lance Hayward, who recorded a piano and vocal album. In 1959 he started recording Jamaican music and soon enough landed his first hit, “Boogie in my Bones/Little Sheila”, performed by Laurel Aitken.
In the next couple of years, Chris had several successful singles on his label, and a couple of albums. He then decided to return to England to try to expand his business, by starting selling Jamaican music to the community in London. Little by little Chris’s name became more known in the music industry, and he was the one who firstly signed The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve Winwood, to a recording contract. After that, he focused on rock musicians, such as Nirvana, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Spooky Tooth, Etta James, The Cranberries and U2. The success of these bands and musicians increased Blackwell’s net worth by a large margin.
Apart from Island Records, which he sold in 1989 to PolyGram, Chris had several other business ventures, including Mango Records, through which he released Jamaican musicians such as Burning Spear, Third World, Salif Keita, King Sunny Ade among many others.
After that, he started Palm Pictures, which was not only focused on music but also on film and DVD releases. However, he merged company with Rykodisc in the late ‘90s to form RykoPalm. Thanks to his contribution to music, he was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
Aside from music, Chris has created a luxurious resort on Oracabessa Bay in Jamaica, once owned by famous writer Ian Fleming, creator of secret agent James Bond and called Goldeneye.
Regarding his personal life, Chris was married to Mary Vinson Blackwell from 1998 until her death in 2009; the couple had three children. In his late wife’s honor he founded the philanthropic organization called Mary Vinson Blackwell Foundation, while he has also started several other organizations, including Oracabessa Foundation and Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary.