Cherry Red Records

Last updated

Cherry Red
FounderIain McNay
Richard Jones
Distributor(s) Proper Music Distribution
Genre Punk rock, alternative rock
Country of origin United Kingdom
Location London, England
Official website

Cherry Red Records is a British independent record label founded by Iain McNay in 1978. The label has released recordings by Dead Kennedys, Everything But the Girl, The Monochrome Set, and Felt, among others, as well as the compilation album Pillows & Prayers. In addition to releasing new music, Cherry Red also acts as an umbrella for individual imprints and catalogue specialists.

An independent record label is a record label that operates without the funding of major record labels. Many artists begin their careers on independent labels.

Dead Kennedys are an American punk rock band that formed in San Francisco, California, in 1978. The band was one of the defining hardcore punk bands during its initial eight-year run.

The Monochrome Set British band

The Monochrome Set is a highly influential English post-punk/new wave band, originally formed in London in 1978. The most recent line-up consists of Bid, Andy Warren, John Paul Moran and Mike Urban.


Cherry Red was listed by Music Week [1] [ full citation needed ] as one of the UK’s top ten record companies in Q1 2015 for sales of artist albums.

Music Week is a trade paper for the UK record industry. It is published by Future.


Cherry Red grew from the rock promotion company (similarly named after the song "Cherry Red" by The Groundhogs) founded in 1971 to promote rock concerts at the Malvern Winter Gardens. In the wake of the independent record boom that followed the advent of punk rock, founders Iain McNay (who remains company chairman) and Richard Jones released the label's first single, "Bad Hearts" by local punk band The Tights, in June 1978.

The Groundhogs band

The Groundhogs are a British rock band founded in late 1963, that toured extensively in the 1960s, achieved prominence in the early 1970s and continued sporadically into the 21st century. Tony McPhee is the sole constant member of the group, which has gone through many personnel changes but usually records and performs as a power trio.

Malvern, Worcestershire spa town and civil parish in Worcestershire, England

Malvern is a spa town and civil parish in Worcestershire, England. It lies at the foot of the Malvern Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The centre of Malvern, Great Malvern, is a historic conservation area, which grew dramatically in Victorian times due to the natural mineral water springs in the vicinity, including Malvern Water.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.

Cherry Red's early roster included releases by Morgan Fisher under various pseudonyms, using a small studio installed in his Notting Hill flat, as well as material licensed from The Hollywood Brats, Destroy All Monsters and The Runaways. The latter was the label's biggest seller until McNay invested $10,000 in the recording of the debut studio album by San Franciscan political punk band Dead Kennedys. Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1979) and its attendant singles sold well worldwide. New A&R head Mike Alway had promoted the Snoopies venue in Richmond, London and been involved with the Scissor Fits, and signed groups including The Monochrome Set, Everything But The Girl, Eyeless in Gaza, Felt, and Five Or Six. McNay's view aimed for Cherry Red to be a label that offered a space for artists who would otherwise not fit the image of some of the more succinctly defined and stylised independents. "Cherry Red Records was always about musical individuality, diversity, character, commitment and passion," he stated in 2008. [2] They also marketed other smaller independent record labels, like Bristol's Heartbeat Records, who recorded the Glaxo Babies.

Morgan Fisher artist

Stephen Morgan Fisher is an English keyboard player and composer, and is most known as a member of Mott the Hoople in the early 1970s. However, his career has covered a wide range of musical activities, and he is still active in the music industry. In recent years he has expanded into photography.

A pseudonym or alias is a name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which can differ from their first or true name (orthonym).

Notting Hill Area of London, England

Notting Hill is an affluent district in West London, located north of Kensington within the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. Notting Hill is known for being a cosmopolitan and multicultural neighbourhood, hosting the annual Notting Hill Carnival and Portobello Road Market.

Cherry Red's role as one of the keynote labels of the early 1980s independent scene was confirmed by the success of a budget compilation album compiled by Alway and released at Christmas 1982. Retailing for 99p, Pillows & Prayers topped the independent charts for several weeks.

<i>Pillows & Prayers</i> 1982 compilation album by Various

Pillows & Prayers is a compilation album released Christmas 1982, featuring artists on the Cherry Red record label. The record was originally sold at 99 pence, which helped ensure that the album peaked and remained at number 1 on the UK Indie Chart for 19 weeks and sold over 120,000 copies.

Cherry Red continued to sign contemporary artists but increasingly moved into the reissue market from the late 1980s onwards. It has a number of subsidiary labels dealing in genre-specific releases, curating many "critically unloved" musical genres, in partial continuation of McNay's earlier advocacy of the unfashionable.

In the music industry, a reissue is the release of an album or single which has been released at least once before, sometimes with alterations or additions.

The company has also signed agreements with a number of specialist reissue labels, which operate with a degree of autonomy using Cherry Red's logistical and financial support. Mark Stratford's RPM Records label focuses on pop music from the 1960s to the advent of punk. Esoteric Recordings, headed by Mark Powell, specialises in progressive rock and folk catalogue. Mark Brennan heads 7T's Records, which reissues albums by that decade's glam/glitter generation. (Brennan originally helped Cherry Red form one of its first subsidiary labels, Anagram, covering punk, Psychobilly and Goth, which remains active). él Records continues under the auspices of Mike Alway (but purely as a re-release label), alongside other labels including Poker, Giant Steps, Mortarhate, Now Sounds, and Ork. The Cherry Red label group continues to house reissues, but is also active in the release of new studio material by established artists such as The Fall, Suzi Quatro, Marc Almond, Red Box, Van Der Graaf Generator, Jah Wobble & Keith Levene, Squackett (a collaboration between Steve Hackett and Chris Squire), Hussey-Regan (a collaboration between Wayne Hussey and Julianne Regan), Hazel O'Connor, The Christians and Ken Hensley.

Still headed by McNay, a fan of AFC Wimbledon, alongside managing director Adam Velasco, Cherry Red also has interests in football-related releases, with the most complete catalogue of soccer-related songs extant.

In 2007, the company launched a streaming television service, cherry red TV. It also publishes an in-house magazine and an 'in-house' publishing division, 'Cherry Red Songs'. [3]

In early 2015, Cherry Red Records and PWL reissued the first four Kylie Minogue albums, Kylie, Enjoy Yourself, Rhythm Of Love and Let's Get To It, as deluxe CD/DVD and LP boxsets. [4]

Cherry Red also released a plethora of prestigious frontline albums by established artists that year, including Marc Almond's The Velvet Trail, The Zombies' Still Got That Hunger, Sarah Cracknell's Red Kite, Andy Bell of Erasure's Torsten The Bareback Saint, Jimmy Somerville's Homage, The Fall's Sub-Lingual Tablet and Wolfgang Flür's (ex-Kraftwerk) Eloquence to name a few.

In 2016 Cherry Red had their highest Top 40 chart position, with the new studio album from Hawkwind 'The Machine Stops' reaching No.29 in the Official UK Charts in April 2016. [5] They are also due to release the brand new studio album from Van Der Graaf Generator in September.

In 2017 Cherry Red confirmed they will be representing several label catalogues and artist discographies, including Procol Harum, The Residents, Arthur Brown, Captain Oi, Glenn Hughes and Tim Blake. [6] They also acquired thirteen artist catalogues from Warner Music Group as part of the major's divestments to independent labels, including Howard Jones, Kim Wilde, Marc Almond, Third Ear Band, Dinosaur Jr., Mel & Kim, Fourplay (shared with Evolution Media Group), Renaissance (except their debut album, which remained with Elektra Records), Be-Bop Deluxe and Curved Air. [7] These catalogues will be distributed worldwide through Absolute Label Services. [8]

The 2017 BPI yearbook 'All About The Music' included Cherry Red in the 20 Market Share By Corporate Group at number 15, which explains the chart-eligible album sales of all record labels. [9]

In 2018 Cherry Red acquired the extensive catalogue of Witchwood Media, home to the music of the Strawbs and a roster of other related artists. [10]

Notable awards and prizes

In June 2008 the Pillows & Prayers box set won the 'Best Catalogue Release category at that year's Mojo Honours. [11]

At the 2013 Association of Independent Music Awards, Cherry Red won the Special Catalogue Release award for Scared To Get Happy - a box set that explored indie pop from 1980-1989. [12] .

In 2014, Cherry Red artist Dave Brock of Hawkwind won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Prog (magazine) Progressive Music Awards 2014. They also picked up nominations for Matt Stevens (Breakthrough Artist) and Panic Room (Best Anthem).

The 2015 Progressive Music Awards saw Genesis founder Tony Banks receive the Prog God award after his solo material catalogue reissue campaign with Cherry Red that year. The label also picked up nominations [13] for John Lodge and Tin Spirits in the Best Anthem category, and Bill Nelson and Anthony Phillips in the Storm Thorgerson Grand Design Award category.

2016 has seen Cherry Red's biggest release of the first quarter of the year, the new studio album from Hawkwind 'The Machine Stops', receive a nomination for Album Of The Year in the Progressive Music Awards 2016, [14] after it enjoyed Cherry Red's highest ever Top 40 chart position at No.29 in the Official UK Charts in April 2016.

Cherry Red have had two albums in the UK Album Charts Top 40 in 2017. Hawkwind's studio album Into The Woods charted at No. 34 in May [15] and the Fall's New Facts Emerge charted at No. 35 in July. [16]

On 4 September 2018 at the AIM Independent Music Awards, Cherry Red Records Chairman Iain McNay won the Special Recognition Award for his service to independent music for over 40 years, as the label celebrated its 40th anniversary. [17]

Hawkwind's studio album Road To Utopia charted at No 44 in the UK Albums Chart in September 2018. [18]

Cherry Red artists

Original label artists

Reissue label artists

Cherry Red associated imprint labels

The full repertoire of Cherry Red associated imprint labels as of 2016: [21]


Notable compilations released by Cherry Red Records include:

See also

Related Research Articles

Stock Aitken Waterman are an English songwriting and record producing trio consisting of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman. The trio had great success from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s. SAW is considered to be one of the most successful songwriting and producing partnerships of all time, scoring more than 100 UK top 40 hits, selling 40 million records and earning an estimated £60 million.

<i>Kylie Minogue</i> (album) 1994 studio album by Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue is the fifth studio album by Australian singer Kylie Minogue, first released on 19 September 1994, by Deconstruction, Mushroom, and Arista Records. It was her first studio album released after leaving PWL. Through her new deal, Minogue worked with new producers including Brothers in Rhythm, M People, Farley And Heller, Jimmy Harry and Ronin, among others.

<i>Hits+</i> 2000 compilation album by Kylie Minogue

Hits+ is the second compilation album by Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue, which was released on 7 November 2000 by Deconstruction Records. The album was the last compilation album which was released by the record label at the time, because Minogue had released her then Parlophone album Light Years (2000). The album peaked at number sixty-three in Australia on the ARIA albums chart.

<i>Lets Get to It</i> 1991 album by Kylie Minogue

Let's Get to It is the fourth studio album by Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue, released on 14 October 1991 by Mushroom Records. Critically, the album drew a mixed reception. Most critics noticed a change in Minogue's image, but criticised the album's songwriting. Let's Get to It remains Minogue's least successful studio album to date, missing the top ten in both her native Australia and United Kingdom. Nonetheless, it was certified gold in Australia. A promotional tour entitled Let's Get to It Tour managed to have success around Europe.

Pete Waterman Entertainment record label

Pete Waterman Entertainment (PWE) is the production company one-time pop and dance record label owned by pop mogul Pete Waterman. The label, originally PWL, is most famous for being the home of hit record producers Stock Aitken Waterman.

<i>Ultimate Kylie</i> 2004 greatest hits album by Kylie Minogue

Ultimate Kylie was the second official greatest hits album by Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue, and her first greatest hits released under her contract with Parlophone, her record company between 1999-2015. The compilation was released in many different formats including a two-disc edition and a deluxe double disc with a bonus DVD. A separate compilation DVD with the same name, was released to accompany the audio versions. The album includes two new tracks; its lead single, "I Believe in You", and the second single, "Giving You Up". A third track, "Made of Glass", was recorded for the album but not used; it was included on the physical releases of "Giving You Up".

Turn It into Love 1988 single by Kylie Minogue

"Turn It into Love" is a single released by Australian singer Kylie Minogue. It was taken from her debut album Kylie. The single was released in December 1988 in Japan only. The B-side was a new song "Made in Heaven", which also served as the B-side to both "Je ne sais pas pourquoi" and "It's No Secret" in other international territories.

Got to Be Certain 1988 single by Kylie Minogue

"Got to Be Certain" is a song by Australian recording artist and songwriter Kylie Minogue from her debut studio album Kylie (1988). It was written and produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman, who also produced Minogue's first four albums. The song was released as the second single from Kylie in most territories outside Australia and was released on 2 May 1988 in Australia and the UK.

Step Back in Time 1990 single by Kylie Minogue

"Step Back in Time" is a song recorded by Australian singer Kylie Minogue, taken from her third studio album Rhythm of Love (1990). It was released as the album's second single on 22 October 1990, and distributed by PWL and Mushroom as a CD single, cassette tape and 12" and 7" vinyls. The track was written, arranged, and produced by Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, Pete Waterman, who are collectively known as Stock Aitken and Waterman, and was recorded in London, United Kingdom. Musically, it is a disco song that lyrically pays tribute to the 1970s culture.

What Kind of Fool (Heard All That Before) 1992 single by Kylie Minogue

"What Kind of Fool " is a song recorded by Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue, released as the lead single from her first greatest hits album Greatest Hits (1992). The song was written by Mike Stock, Minogue and Pete Waterman, and produced by Stock and Waterman.

A Ton of Hits : The Very Best of Stock Aitken Waterman is a compilation album released in the UK in November 1990 bringing together the hits of Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW) in a continuously sequenced mix. It was released by Chrysalis Records on their subsidiary label Dover Records. Although not listed as such, the release could be seen as an extension of the previous "Best Of SAW" collections The Hit Factory : The Best of Stock Aitken Waterman (1987), The Hit Factory Volume 2 (1988) and The Hit Factory Volume 3 (1989). The album reached #7 in the compilation Top 20.

The Hit Factory: Pete Waterman's Greatest Hits is a compilation album featuring music produced by Pete Waterman. It was released by Universal Music in 2000 and reached #3 in the UK compilation Top 20 chart, achieving a Gold BPI award.

él is an English independent record label based in London that was founded by Mike Alway, later becoming a subsidiary of Cherry Red Records. Their musicians were characterized by a strong English sensibility, as well as the French influence stemming from in-house writer/producer Louis Philippe. During its original run, él received much press interest, but little sales—except in Japan, where the label became an enormous influence on J-pop acts like Cornelius and Pizzicato Five. The label closed in 1989. In 2005, it was revived as a reissue label.

Esoteric Recordings British music label

Esoteric Recordings is a UK independent record label specialising in 1970s progressive rock, folk, psychedelic, and jazz-rock reissues as part of Cherry Red Records. Its releases include both catalogue reissues and new works from artists who share a similar musical heritage.

Kylie Minogue albums discography albums discography

The albums discography of Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue, consists of fourteen studio albums, twelve compilation albums, six live albums, ten extended plays, eleven remix albums and two box sets.

<i>The Albums 2000–2010</i> 2011 box set by Kylie Minogue

The Albums 2000–2010 is a box set by Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue. It was released by Parlophone Records on 12 July 2011. The five-disc box set was released in Europe, and Australasia, and included all of Minogue's studio albums from the years 2000 to 2010; Light Years (2000), Fever (2001), Body Language (2003), X (2007), and Aphrodite (2010). The cover sleeve for the album consisted of fragments from the original artworks inserted into Minogue's silhouette from her cover for Fever (2001). The Albums 2000–2010 marked Minogue's first box set collection until her October 2012 release, K25: Time Capsule.

<i>Kylie Christmas</i> 2015 studio album by Kylie Minogue

Kylie Christmas is the thirteenth studio album, and first Christmas album, by Australian singer Kylie Minogue. It was released on 13 November 2015 by Parlophone. Following the release of her twelfth studio album, Kiss Me Once, Minogue announced her departure with Parlophone, and her management deal with American label, Roc Nation. Minogue signed an exclusive one-album deal with Parlophone to release Kylie Christmas, with distribution through Warner Music Group worldwide and Warner Bros. Records in the United States. A Christmas music album consisting of thirteen songs and three bonus tracks, Kylie Christmas contains both cover versions and original songs.


  1. "Music Week". Music Week . Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  2. I'll Give You My Heart box set sleeve notes (LP sleeve). 2008.
  3. "Cherry Red Licensing". Cherry Red Licensing. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  4. "PWL - Pete Waterman Entertainment | Step Back In Time - The PWL Kylie Minogue Reissue Campaign". 20 June 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  5. "Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  6. "Cherry Red Acquires New Catalogues". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  7. "Cherry Red set to capitalise on Warner divestment". Music Week . Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  8. "Absolute inks worldwide deal with Cherry Red for Warner-divested catalogues - Music Business Worldwide". 12 February 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  9. "All about music report" (PDF). 2017.
  10. ""We look forward to a creative partnership": Cherry Red acquires Strawbs' Witchwood Media catalogue".
  11. "MOJO Award Winners". BBC 6. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  12. "AIM Independent Music Awards: 2013 - The Association of Independent Music". 3 September 2013. Archived from the original on 8 May 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  13. "Prog Magazine". Team Rock. Team Rock. 24 June 2015.
  14. "Progressive Music Awards". Team Rock. Archived from the original on 10 July 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. "The Fall - full Official Chart History - Official Charts Company". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  17. "The Aftershow: Iain McNay - Interviews - Music Week". Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  18. "HAWKWIND - full Official Chart History - Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  19. "Cherry Red Records". Cherry Red Records. Archived from the original on 11 January 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  20. "Kylie Minogue / box sets & reissues". Superdeluxeedition. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  21. "Cherry Red Records". Cherry Red Records Official Website. Retrieved 12 July 2016.