Imperial Records

Imperial Records

:"This article is about the Imperial Records label currently owned by EMI.":"For the previous record labels called Imperial Records, see Imperial Records (1900) and Imperial Records (1920).":"For the Japanese record label, see Teichiku Records."infobox record label
name = Imperial Records

image_bg = black
parent = EMI
founded = 1947
founder = Lew Chudd
distributor = Capitol Music Group (In the US)
genre = (historic) various
(current) Urban
country = United States
url =

Imperial Records is a United States based label started in 1947 by Lew Chudd and reactivated in 2006 by label owner EMI.

The independent and Liberty Records years

Imperial was famous for recordings of rhythm & blues and early rock & roll like Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson. Imperial was licensed to London Records in the UK. In 1960 Lew Chudd bought Aladdin Records. Minit Records was acquired in 1963.

Later in 1963, after Imperial lost Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson to rival labels, Chudd sold the label to Liberty Records. Under Liberty's management, the label enjoyed success from such artists as holdover Irma Thomas as well as Johnny Rivers, Jackie DeShannon, Classics IV and Cher.

During the British Invasion years, Liberty (whose recordings were distributed by EMI in the UK) licensed artists including The Hollies, Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas and The Swinging Blue Jeans from EMI for release on the Imperial label. Recordings by Liberty UK act The Bonzo Dog Band were issued in the USA on the Imperial label.

By 1970 the label became part of Liberty's merger with United Artists, but was phased out shortly thereafter with its artists being transferred to United Artists. EMI now owns the Imperial Records catalogue.

Label variations

*Early to mid-50s -- Maroon label, IMPERIAL at top
*Late 50s-1963 -- Black label with stars under IMPERIAL at top
*1964-1966 -- Black, white and magenta label. I-R logo in black box on left side, IMPERIAL shown under logo. Disclaimer at bottom of label shows "A SUBSIDIARY OF LIBERTY RECORDS"
*1966-1969 -- Black and lime green label, I-R logo in red box on left side, IMPERIAL shown under logo, "A PRODUCT OF LIBERTY RECORDS" shown under IMPERIAL. Disclaimer changed to "A DIVISION OF LIBERTY RECORDS"
*1970 -- Black and lime green label, I-R logo in red box on left side, IMPERIAL shown (in slightly larger letters than the previous label) under logo. Disclaimer reads "LIBERTY/UA, INC"


Throughout the 1990s, EMI released various CD compilations of Imperial artists. For nostalgia, the compact discs featured the various Imperial labels.

In June 2006, EMI re-activated the Imperial Records imprint and announced that it will be the full-service Urban Music division of Caroline Distribution, part of Virgin Records, spearheaded by urban music veteran Neil Levine.

The first signing to the imprint is Raptivism Records. Fat Joe has signed with Virgin Records and Imperial Records.

The revived Imperial is a full service label group that offers promotions, marketing and digital services for the independent urban music market. Imperial also provides additional resources for developing urban artists within EMI's major labels including Capitol Records and Virgin Records which were merged on January 2007 into the Capitol Music Group.

Imperial Records artists (1947-1970)

*Jeff Alexander
*Dave Bartholomew
*Lee Bedford, Jr.
*Elmer Bernstein
*Joe Bill (DeAngelo)
*The Bonzo Dog Band
*Mel Carter
*Petula Clark
*Classics IV
*Clay Cole
*Sonny Criss
*Sonny Curtis
*Wild Bill Davis
*Mel Day
*Eva Decker
*Von Dexter
*Jackie DeShannon
*Fats Domino
*Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames
*Fantastic Baggys
*Fender IV
*Freddy Fender
*Ralph Flanagan
*Ernie Freeman
*Peppermint Harris
*Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
*Bob Harrington
*Ray Harrison Orchestra
*Adolph Hofner
*The Hollies
*Betty Kay
*Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas
*Smiley Lewis
*George Liberace
*Harley Luce
*The Majors
*Warne Marsh Quintet
*Reginald G. Marshall
*Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters
*Bill Mooney and his Cactus Twisters
*Carl Myles
*Ozzie & Harriet Nelson
*Ricky Nelson (Rick Nelson)
*Sandy Nelson
*James O'Flynn
*Frankie Ortego
*Bo Rhambo
*Johnny Rivers
*Leonard Rosenman
*Huey "Piano" Smith
*April Stevens
*The Spiders
*The Sunshine Company
*The Swinging Blue Jeans
*The Teddy Bears
*Irma Thomas
*T-Bone Walker
*Slim Whitman
*Tim Whitsett
*Lew Williams

Current artists

*Joe Hound
*Fat Joe
*Bizzy Bone
*Anthony Hamilton
*Cool & Dre
*Thug Lordz

External links

* [ Imperial Records Myspace]
* [ The Imperial Records Story]

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