Founded by Asylum executive David Geffen and bankrolled by WEA, Geffen opened in 1979 with proven sellers Elton John and Donna Summer, but scored high with John Lennon's final album Double Fantasy (1980). Their mid-80s dry spell ended in 1987 with triple-header Metal hit-fest Permanant Vacation (Aerosmith), 1987 (Whitesnake) and Appetite For Destruction (Guns N' Roses).

The label was rejuvenated by Peter Gabriel, XTC, Kylie Minogue, Cher (a former belle of the label's head), Edie Brickell, Don Henley and Joni Mitchell (another former belle, who wrote 'Free Man In Paris' about David Geffen. When it was acquired by MCA in 1989, Geffen was the USA's third biggest label. David Geffen remained president, and offshoot DGC got a licence to print money with Nirvana's Nevermind (1991) and other signings Hole, Beck, Aimee Mann and Weezer. David Geffen finally left the company in 1995, founding SKG Dreamworks - home to George Michael and Eels- with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

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