Though he worked for a series of labels over the course of his storied career, David Axelrod is best known as one of Capitol Records' foremost producers during the company's glory years in the 1960s. Under his production, actor David McCallum released four albums; soulster Lou Rawls released a countless number of LPs (including his first gold album, Lou Rawls Live); Cannonball Adderly released Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (1966), one of the highest selling jazz albums of all time; and countless artists from Letta Mbulu to Common People released albums that spanned the gamut from funky African folk to psychedelic rock. Axelrod himself released three albums as a solo artist on Capitol - Songs of Innocence (1968), Songs of Experience (1969), and Earth Rot (1970) - the first of which even legendary producer Quincy Jones admitted was the immediate precursor to jazz-fusion.
David Axelrod was instrumental in creating the Black Music division at Capitol Records in the mid-'60s, and had a string of hit albums with artists such as soul singer Lou Rawls and jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. Today he is best known in the hip-hop world for three albums he released on Capitol under his own name between 1968-1970. Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience, Earth Rot, and other ancillary Axelrod productions are among the most sampled records in hip-hop history, having been mined by producers as varied as Madlib, DJ Shadow, and Dr. Dre, Mos Def, and many others.