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Monday, 14 July 2014

Life after Apple Records

George Harrison's Dark Horse Records label
The rise and fall of Apple Records didn't discourage the individual Beatles from founding record labels of their own, in order to release records by other artists. Ringo Starr started Ring O' Records, Paul McCartney started his own MPL label and George Harrison started Dark Horse Records. John Lennon was the only ex-Beatle not to start his own record label.

Dark Horse Records

The record label was founded by George in 1974. The label's formation coincided with the winding down of Apple Records and allowed Harrison to continue supporting other artists' projects while maintaining his solo career.

The initial signings were Indian musician Ravi Shankar and Splinter, the last of whom provided the label with its only significant commercial success until Harrison himself signed with Dark Horse in 1976. The label was distributed internationally by A&M Records for the first two years of its operation. Following a highly publicised split with A&M, Harrison and Dark Horse formed a long-term partnership with Warner Bros. Records that lasted until his retirement from the music industry in 1992.

Attitudes, Stairsteps and Keni Burke were among the other artists who recorded for Dark Horse, although it increasingly became a vehicle for Harrison's solo releases once Warner's had taken over distribution.

After a ten-year period of inactivity, the label returned in 2002 with the posthumous release of Harrison's final studio album, Brainwashed, followed by his Dark Horse Years box set in 2004. More recently, Dark Horse Records issued the Ravi Shankar–George Harrison, Collaborations box set in 2010. Apart from Harrison's own releases, the following albums were released on the Dark Horse label.

Splinter - The Place I Love

1974 Splinter - The Place I Love SP 22001
Released on CD by Bigpink Records in 2010.

Ravi Shankar - Shankar Family & Friends

1974 Ravi Shankar - Shankar Family & Friends SP 22002
The tracks are available in the Collaborations box set CD, but the single is not on a CD.

Jiva - Jiva

1974 Jiva - Jiva SP 22003
Not released on CD, just the old Dark Horse vinyl LP.

Stairsteps - 2nd Resurrection

1975 Stairsteps - 2nd Resurrection SP 22004
These days available on a Solaris CD, the single is still only available on vinyl.

Henry McCullough - Mind Your Own Business!

1975 Henry McCullough - Mind Your Own Business! SP 22005
These days available on a Bigpink CD.

Splinter - Harder To Live

1975 Splinter - Harder To Live SP 22006
Available on CD by the Korean Bigpink label.

Ravi Shankar - Ravi Shankar's Music Festival from India

1976 Ravi Shankar - Ravi Shankar's Music Festival From India SP 22007
The tracks are available in the Collaborations box set CD.

Attitudes - Attitudes

1976 Attitudes - Attitudes SP 22008
Not released on CD, just the old Dark Horse vinyl LP.

Attitudes - Good News

1977 Attitudes - Good News DH 3021
Not released on CD, just the old Dark Horse vinyl LP.

Keni Burke - Keni Burke

1977 Keni Burke - Keni Burke DH 3022
Available on a Solaris CD, the single tracks still only available on vinyl.

Splinter - Two Man Band

1977 Splinter - Two Man Band DH 3073
Their final album on Dark Horse, released on CD in 2016 by Bigpink Records.

Ravi Shankar/George Harrison - Collaborations

2010 Ravi Shankar/George Harrison - Collaborations released on Dark Horse Records, in collaboration with Rhino Records. The CD collection includes the 1974 album Shankar Family & Friends, 1976's The Ravi Shankar Music Festival From India and the 1997 album Chants Of India. Also included is a DVD featuring a concert performance of Ravi Shankar's Music Festival From India recorded at London's Royal Albert Hall in 1974.

For a more comprehensive discography of Dark Horse Records, including singles and international releases, we direct you to this page.

Billy Preston - Everybody Likes Some Kind of Music

Honourable mention: Billy Preston - Everybody Likes Some Kind Of Music
Even if this LP was originally issued on A&M in 1973, there were definite plans to (re)issue this on Dark Horse as well, judging by the existence of test pressings on the Dark Horse label.
These days, this record can be found as an A&M CD.


1980 Zoot Money - Mr Money LUNE1

Zoot Money - Mr Money (MPL)

1980 UK 10-track LP released by Paul McCartney's MPL Communications on the label "Magic Moon Records".  The Magic Moon Records Ltd company was probably Zoot Money's own, as it had a Bournemouth address. It was dissolved in 2010. Zoot Money (George Bruno Money, born 17 July 1942, Bournemouth) signed to Paul McCartney's record label MPL Communications in 1980 and recorded Mr. Money, produced by Jim Diamond. The record has not been re-released on CD. There was a single from the album, "Your Feet's Too Big" c/w "Ain't Nothin' Shakin But The Bacon" (Magic Moon Mach 3.S)

Magic Moon Records label
One of the songs, "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" was recorded and released by Paul McCartney on his "Kisses On The Bottom" album in 2012.

The Cimarons - Reggaebility (Pickwick)

1982 The Cimarons - Reggaebility was released and published in the UK by Paul McCartney's company MPL Communications, and the record was pressed on the Pickwick Records label, catalogue no. SHM 3106. The album features reggae versions of Beatles and Paul McCartney compositions plus other songs from the MPL publishing catalogue, including; 'With A Little Luck', Mull Of Kintyre', 'Love Me Do', 'C Moon', 'That'll Be The Day' and others. The sleeve photograph was taken by Linda McCartney. The Cimarons was a UK reggae band formed in 1967.

Little is known about any other releases by MPL, if you have more information about other record releases by MPL Communications, please leave a commentary.

Ring O' Records

Ring O' Records
For records on Ringo Starr's Ring O' label, we kindly direct you to this excellent page.


Anonymous said...

There's not been an MPL record label as such (although MPL owns Juggler Records). MPL is a producer and publisher and 'issues' items rather than 'releases' records. The Zoot Money and Cimarons items are therefore not 'releases' by MPL but productions 'handled' or owned in some way by MPL (the Zoot Money sound recording has been copyrighted by MPL, probably because it paid for and/or produced the recording).

Other items issued by MPL have included compilation albums by artists in their publishing catalogue. These are for promotional use only and the recordings thereon are the property of other companies.

It's important to note, though, that records which issue forth from MPL under its name are not 'released' in any commonly understood sense. They are not for sale and in a real sense have the same status as items of stationery bearing the MPL logos.

willycannon said...

Excellent summary-why Splinter has never been released on CD/Digitally is beyond me. Their first album has George all over it as he produced it, it has some excellent tunes-a missing link in his history to be sure.

Unknown said...

Time for a multi-CD Splinter retrospective, and there's no shortage of potential bonus material: their 3 Dark Horse albums + several non-LP B-sides + single edits + 3 singles released exclusively in Japan + great radio shows, from the US as well as from the UK + many demos that circulate among fans & collectors.

And then, their two post Dark Horse albums are just as good, and again, could be supplemented by many non LP tracks that appeared on single and compilations in Japan only.