Island Records was founded in Jamaica in 1959 by Chris Blackwell and Graeme Goodall. Until Blackwell sold the label to PolyGram in 1989, Island was the largest indie record label in history.
In May 1962, Blackwell relocated the label to the UK in order to market music by Jamaican artists to immigrant communities in London and Birmingham. In 1967, however, Island shifted its focus to relatively edgy rock music, and most of its Jamaican acts were moved to the spinoff label Trojan Records. Island resumed its support of reggae artists with the signing of The Wailers in 1972.
Blackwell sold Island to PolyGram in 1989, but remained chairman of Island Entertainment Group until 1997. Since 1999, the Island label has been under the control of the Island Def Jam Music Group in the US and Universal Island Records in the UK.