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October 26, 2022 |Press Statements

Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky Celebrates the Blues and Honors 50 Years of Alligator Records with Statement in Congressional Record

Members Of Illinois Congressional Delegation
Celebrate Cultural Legacy Of The Blues

Special Private Event In Washington, DC To Be Hosted By
The Recording Industry Association Of America,
The American Association Of Independent Music And Exceleration Music
To Include Performance By Blues Icon Shemekia Copeland

Alligator Records—50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin' Music (3 CD set)
“Alligator Records stands as one of the most enduring and revered independent blues labels in the world, its catalog holding inextinguishable works.”
–The Chicago Tribune

Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, with the support of 12 members of the Illinois Congressional delegation, entered a commemorative statement, entitled Honoring 50 Years Of Alligator Records, into the official Congressional Record. The statement celebrates blues music as a towering creation of African American culture, and praises Alligator Records and its president and founder, Bruce Iglauer, in honor of the pioneering blues label’s 50th anniversary.

To further celebrate, Schakowsky, along with other dignitaries, will join Iglauer during a private event hosted by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and Exceleration Music at the RIAA’s state-of-the-art headquarters in Washington, DC on November 16, 2022. Longtime Alligator recording artist Shemekia Copeland, whom The Washington Post calls, “the greatest blues singer of her generation,” will perform a stripped-down acoustic set for an exclusive list of invitees.

According to Congresswoman Schakowsky, “In 1971, at the young age of 23, Bruce Iglauer established Alligator Records. Using all the money in his savings, Bruce invested in his favorite Chicago blues band, Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers, and the rest is history. Now, 50 years later, we celebrate Bruce, Alligator Records, and the magic that is Chicago blues. The rich, vibrant blues scene in Chicago is just one of the many things that makes our city so great. Thanks to the strong leadership of Bruce Iglauer and Alligator Records, blues continues to play on in Chicago and across the entire world.”

Iglauer is thrilled to be recognized, saying, “I’m incredibly honored that the blues and Alligator Records have been lauded by the wonderful Jan Schakowsky. This official recognition is not only for me as the label’s founder, but it’s also for all the dedicated staff, some of whom have worked at Alligator for over four decades, who are committed to supporting our artists and our music. Above all, this statement honors Chicago blues and artists like Hound Dog Taylor, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks, Fenton Robinson, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Johnson, James Cotton, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Charlie Musselwhite, Carey and Lurrie Bell, Billy Branch, Luther Allison, Corky Siegel, Shemekia Copeland, The Cash Box Kings, Nick Moss and Toronzo Cannon — who have cut timeless albums for Alligator. Those albums carry on the glorious Chicago blues tradition, keeping this deeply rooted music as charismatic and soul-healing for future generations as it has been for me.”

Mitch Glazier, RIAA Chairman and CEO adds, “The new RIAA offices were built to celebrate the creative community, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome members of Congress to honor the blues and Alligator Records. Congratulations Bruce, on your vision and leadership that has inspired some of the biggest blues artists across decades.”

A2IM President and CEO Dr. Richard James Burgess adds,”Alligator Records’ incredible legacy of excellence highlights what independent labels do best: take huge risks to embrace underappreciated and poorly supported art forms. Many great blues artists might not have made the recordings that have contributed to American culture if Bruce Iglauer had not believed and invested in them. Congratulations to longtime A2IM member and my friend, Bruce Iglauer, on such well-earned and richly-deserved recognition.”

After highlighting Alligator’s and Iglauer’s storied history, Congresswoman Schakowsky’s statement concludes:
Alligator Records has been a driving force in support of Chicago blues and blues music worldwide, and a glowing example of our country’s rich tradition of musical and entrepreneurial spirit. Now, my colleagues in the House of Representatives and I honor Alligator Records on 50 years of business and celebrates the American cultural legacy of Chicago blues music.

Together we urge the United States Government to take all necessary steps to preserve and advance the art form of Chicago blues music; recommit itself to ensuring that recording labels like Alligator Records and their artists receive fair protection under the copyright laws of the United States for their contributions to culture in the United States; and reaffirm the status of Chicago blues as a unique national treasure.

The members who rose in support are Congressman Chuy Garcia, Congressman Sean Casten, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Congressman Brad Schneider, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, Congressman Bobby Rush, Congresswoman Marie Newman, Congressman Bill Foster, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood and Congressman Mike Quigley.