Given the longevity of the Island Records record label it is inevitable that a large amount of data has to be gathered, managed and presented not only correctly but also usably. To this end, the label's history (and this discography) can conveniently be divided into three phases:
The Jamaican Years, covering the label's releases from 1959 to 1966 - this year, in the UK at least, is considered a turning point in popular music, providing Good Vibrations and Revolver. Popular music had changed, and Island Records changed with it.
The New Ground Years, covering 1967 to approximately 1980. 1967 brought Sergeant Pepper and A Whiter Shade of Pale, followed by an explosion of diversity in popular music. Pop songs were no longer "moon in June", radio stations were no longer limited by the "two-minute barrier" and influential DJ's, particularly John Peel, were providing exposure to experimental, even dangerous, music. The cut-off of "approximately 1980" is used here because in an increasingly fluid cultural milieu, Island records seemed always to be, if not ahead of the game, at least in possession of the ball.