Founded by Iain McNay in 1978, UK record label Cherry Red has continued to uphold the same fiercely independent values since day one. Renowned for its diversity, the label is one of the most prolific with over 300 physical releases each year; from frontline albums to catalogue gems, including many innovative compilation box sets.
The current roster of (mainly maverick) artists recording new albums includes Hawkwind, Luke Haines, Peter Buck, Ken Hensley, Pere Ubu, Strawbs, The Residents, Van Der Graaf Generator, Jim Bob, Barclay James Harvest, Rosalie Cunningham, Anthony Phillips, Steve Howe, Nick Beggs, Claudia Brücken, Go-Kart Mozart and Jah Wobble.
The label runs over fifteen active labels under the Cherry Red umbrella, including Esoteric (progressive rock), Captain Oi (punk), Soul Music (soul, RnB), Doctor Bird (reggae), El (jazz, world, pop), 7Ts (70s rock/pop), Cherry Pop (80s pop), HNE (hard rock), Grapefruit (psych, garage), Robinsongs (soul, disco), SFE (pop) and Strawberry (60s, 70s).
Today Cherry Red represents the catalogues of several unique artists including Kim Wilde, Howard Jones, Dinosaur Jr, The Fall, Hawkwind, Roger Chapman & Family. Cherry Red also look after the repertoire of many independent labels and catalogues including Dissonance, Emerald, Les Reed’s Chapter One, Small Wonder and Safari. The label are also proud custodians of the fabled Joe Meek Tea Chest Tapes. Cherry Red owns over 100,000 tracks which it actively promotes across the world.
Cherry Red had early successes with artists ranging from the Dead Kennedys to Everything But The Girl, The Monochrome Set and Felt – going on to release the ground-breaking compilation Pillows & Prayers in 1982. In the 1990s the label reinvented itself as a reissue and catalogue specialist, releasing collectibles from the punk, psychobilly, goth and metal scene, alongside a fondly remembered football collectors series.
Over the years the company’s business has expanded with the values of its artists, enabling it to independently look after all rights from digital and audio-visual through to a publishing catalogue that oversees over 27,000 songs. The label produces a monthly radio show hosted on stations globally and publishes a print magazine. It also has close ties to the sporting world, sponsoring a stand at League 1 club AFC Wimbledon’s stadium and Championship club Wycombe Wanderers’ third kit and training kit, as well as sponsoring the Combined Counties Football League. Cherry Red also maintains an interest in Activate Sport – the sports academy and talent management group.