Swan Song Records

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Swan Song Records
Parent company Warner Music Group
Founded 10 May 1974
Founder Led Zeppelin
Status Defunct since October 1983
Distributor(s) Atlantic
Genre Rock
Country of origin UK
Location London, England
New York City, New York

Swan Song Records was a record label launched by the English rock band Led Zeppelin on 10 May 1974. It was overseen by Led Zeppelin's manager Peter Grant and was a vehicle for the band to promote its own products as well as sign artists who found it difficult to win contracts with other major labels. The decision to launch the label came after Led Zeppelin's five-year contract with Atlantic Records expired at the end of 1973. Atlantic ultimately distributed the label's product.

Artists that released material on the Swan Song label during its existence included Led Zeppelin itself (including later solo releases by band members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant), Bad Company, the Pretty Things, Dave Edmunds, Mirabai, Maggie Bell (and the short-lived band she fronted, Midnight Flyer), Detective, and Sad Café. In addition to these artists, two other noted recording acts (though not signed to the label) were credited artists on Swan Song singles, both of which were UK hits in 1981: B. A. Robertson sang a duet with Maggie Bell on the single "Hold Me", and the Stray Cats backed Dave Edmunds on his 1981 single "The Race Is On".

Swan Song ceased active operations in 1983, and now exists only to reissue previously released material.

History[edit]

In January 1974 Led Zeppelin negotiated the agreement with Atlantic Records to set up Swan Song Records.[1] The label was launched with parties in New York and Los Angeles.[1] A lavish media party was also held at Chislehurst Caves in Kent, England on 31 October 1974, to celebrate the label's first UK release by the Pretty Things, Silk Torpedo (the first US release for Swan Song was the self-titled debut album from Bad Company in June 1974). The company logo was based on Evening also called The Fall of Day (1869) by painter William Rimmer, featuring a picture of the Greek god Apollo.[2]

By March 1975, Swan Song had four albums (Bad Company, Silk Torpedo, Physical Graffiti, and Suicide Sal) in the Billboard Top 200 chart. The recording label also partly funded film projects such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail in 1975. In an interview he gave in January of that year, Page offered his perspective on the label:

We've got some good things lined up. I think the Pretty Things LP is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. We're [record] executives and all that crap, but I'll tell you one thing the label was never right from the top Led Zeppelin records. It's designed to bring in other groups and promote acts that have had raw deals in the past. It's a vehicle for them and not for us to just make a few extra pennies over the top.[3]

Two years later, he elaborated on Led Zeppelin's intention to found the label:

We'd been thinking about it for a while and we knew if we formed a label there wouldn't be the kind of fuss and bother we'd been going through over album covers and things like that. Having gone through, ourselves, what appeared to be an interference, or at least an aggravation, on the artistic side by record companies, we wanted to form a label where the artists would be able to fulfill themselves without all of that hassle. Consequently the people we were looking for the label would be people who knew where they were going themselves. We didn't really want to get bogged down in having to develop artists, we wanted people who were together enough to handle that type of thing themselves, like the Pretty Things. Even though they didn't happen, the records they made were very, very good.[4]

Artists who signed with the label but did not produce any releases included Metropolis (which featured members from the Pretty Things), The Message (which featured future Bon Jovi members Alec John Such and Richie Sambora), and Itchy Brother (which featured future members of The Kentucky Headhunters.) Artists that Swan Song Records wanted to sign but who bowed out to other labels were Roy Harper and blues guitarist Bobby Parker. When Swan Song's offices were cleared out in 1983, early demos from Iron Maiden, Heart and Paul Young's band Q-Tips were among those found, unplayed and stored, on the shelves.[5]

Swan Song ceased operations in October 1983 due to the break-up of Led Zeppelin and Peter Grant's health problems. A rescue attempt to save the label by Atlantic Records executive Phil Carson proved fruitless.[citation needed] Robert Plant started his own label, Es Paranza Records, in the wake of the closure of Swan Song, while Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones returned to Atlantic Records. Bad Company moved over to both Atlantic and its subsidiary Atco when they resumed in the late 1980s. Today, the label is strictly used for reissues of all the albums that were released by the label when it was active.

  • UK Address: 484 Kings Road, London, SW10 UK
  • US Address: 444 Madison Avenue, New York, New York, 10022 USA

Personnel[edit]

Label discography[edit]

LPs[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Can't Get Enough/Little Miss Fortune" – Bad Company: SS-70015 (US, 1974), SWS 70015 (Canada)
  • "Is It Only Love/Joey" – Pretty Things: SSK 19401 (UK, 6 November 1974)
  • "Movin' On/Easy On My Soul" – Bad Company: SS-70101 (US, 18 Jan. 1975), SWS 70101 (Canada)
  • "Trampled Under Foot/Black Country Woman" – Led Zeppelin: SS-70102 (US, 2 April 1975; Australia), DC-1 (UK, 10 May 1975), SSK 19 402(N) (Germany, March 1975), SS 19402 (Holland), K 19402 (Italy, April 1975), 19 402 (France), P-1361N (Japan, April 1975), P-108N (Japan), 45-1205 (Spain), SWS 70102 (Canada), SNS 100 (South Africa)
  • "Good Lovin' Gone Bad/Whiskey Bottle" – Bad Company: SS-70103 (US, 19 April 1975), SWS 70103 (Canada)
  • "I’m Keeping.../Atlanta" – Pretty Things: SSK 19403 (UK, 13 June 1975)
  • "Joey" – Pretty Things: SS-70104 (US, April 1975), SSK 19404 (UK, 25 July 1975), 45-1214 (Spain)
  • "Wishing Well/Comin' On Strong" – Maggie Bell: SS-70105 (US, June 1975)
  • "Feel Like Makin' Love/Wild Fire Woman" – Bad Company: SS-70106 (US, August 1975), SWS 70106 (Canada)
  • "Sad Eye/Remember That Boy" – Pretty Things: SSK 19405 (UK, 20 February 1976)
  • "It Isn’t Rock 'N' Roll" – Pretty Things: SS-70107 (US, March 1976), 98.001 (Brazil, 1977)
  • "Young Blood/Do Right By Your Woman" – Bad Company: SS-70108 (US, 20 March 1976), SWS 70108 (Canada)
  • "Tonight/It Isn't Rock 'N' Roll" – Pretty Things: SSK 19406 (UK, 28 May 1976), SSK 19 406 (Germany, June 1976)
  • "Honey Child/Fade Away" – Bad Company: SS-70109 (US, June 1976), SWS 70109 (Canada)
  • "Candy Store Rock/Royal Orleans" – Led Zeppelin: SS-70110 (US, 18 June 1976), SSK 19 407 (Germany, August 1976), 45-1381 (Spain), P-35N (Japan, September 1976), SWS 70110 (Canada)
  • "Royal Orleans/Candy Store Rock" – Led Zeppelin: 19 407 (France)
  • "Here Comes The Weekend/As Lovers Do" – Dave Edmunds: SSK 19408 (UK, 6 August 1976), SS 19 408 (Germany, September 1976), SS 19408 (Holland), 19 408 (France), 19408 (Belgium/Luxemburg)
  • "Where Or When/New York's A Lonely Town" – Dave Edmunds: SSK 19409 (UK, 29 October 1976)
  • "Juju Man/What Did I Do Last Night" – Dave Edmunds: SSK 19410 (UK, April 1977)
  • "Burnin' Sky/Everything I Need" – Bad Company: SS 70112 (US, 21 May 1977), SWS 70112 (Canada)
  • "I Knew The Bride" – Dave Edmunds: SSK 19411 (UK, June 1977), SS 19.411 (Germany, 7 August 1977), 45-1569 (Spain), SS 1698 (Australia)
  • "Little Darlin'/I Knew The Bride" – Dave Edmunds: SS 70113 (US, June 1977)
  • "Recognition/Grim Reaper" – Detective: SS 70114 (US, July 1977), P-207N (Japan, September 1977), SWS 70114 (Canada, August 1977)
  • "Get Out Of Denver/Worn Out Pockets, Brand New Suits" – Dave Edmunds: SS 70116 (US, August 1977)
  • "Something Beautiful/Dynamite" – Detective: SS 70117 (US, March 1978)
  • "Hazell/Night Flighting" – Maggie Bell: SSK 19412 (UK, March 1978), SSK 19412 P (UK picture disc, May 1979), SS 1859 (Australia)
  • "Deborah/What Looks Best On You" – Dave Edmunds: SSK 19413 (UK, August 1978), SS 1970 (Australia)
  • "Television/Never Been In Love" – Dave Edmunds: SSK 19414 (UK, October 1978)
  • "Trouble Boys/What Looks Best On You" – Dave Edmunds: SS 70118 (US, November 1978), SS 19.415 (Holland)
  • "Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy/Crazy Circles" – Bad Company: SS 70119 (US, March 1979; Canada; New Zealand), SSK 19416 (UK, 16 February 1979; Australia), SS 19 416 (Germany, March 1976), SS 19.416 (Holland), W 19416 (Italy), 19 416 (France, May 1979), 45-1835 (Spain), N-S-20-1 (Portugal), P-382N (Japan, March 1979), 200088 (Argentina)
  • "A1 On The Juke Box/It's My Own Business" – Dave Edmunds: SSK 19417 (UK, February 1979)
  • "Gone, Gone, Gone/Take The Time" – Bad Company: SS 71000 (US, July 1979; Canada, August 1979; New Zealand), P-453N (Japan, August 1979)
  • "Girls Talk" – Dave Edmunds: SS 71001 (US & Canada, August 1979; New Zealand), SSK 19418 (UK, June 1979; Australia), SSK 19418 C (UK clear vinyl, 8 August 1979), SS 19 418 (Germany, August 1979), SS 19.418 (Holland/Belgium), 45-1898 (Spain)
  • "Queen Of Hearts/The Creature From The Black Lagoon" – Dave Edmunds: SSK 19419 (UK, September 1979; Australia), SS 19 419 (Germany, 26 October 1979), SS-19.419 (Holland/Belgium),

DJ SS 71002 (Canada)

  • "Crawling From The Wreckage" – Dave Edmunds: SS 71002 (US, November 1979), SSK 19420 (UK,

10 October 1979)

  • "Fool In The Rain/Hot Dog" – Led Zeppelin: SS 71003 (US, 7 December 1979; Canada; Australia; New Zealand), SS 19 421 (Germany, February 1980), SS 19.421 (Holland/Belgium), PROMO 097 (Italy),

W 19421 (Italy), 45-1925 (Spain), P-530N (Japan, February 1980)

  • "Singing The Blues/Boys Talk" – Dave Edmunds: SSK 19422 (UK, January 1980; Australia),

SS 19422 (Germany, March 1980), 19 422 (France)

  • "All My Love" – Led Zeppelin : 11.105 (Brazil), DIF. 132 (Argentina)
  • "Rough Trade/Midnight Love" – Midnight Flyer: SSK 19423 (UK, March 1981)
  • "Almost Saturday Night/You'll Never Get Me Up (In One Of Those)" – Dave Edmunds: SS 72000 (US, March 1981), SSK 19424 (UK, 10 April 1981; Australia; New Zealand), SS 19 424 (Germany,

20 March 1981), SS 19424 (Holland/Belgium, April 1981; Portugal), 19 424 (France, May 1981), 45-2092 (Spain), SS72000 (Canada), SWS 102 (South Africa)

  • "In My Eyes/Midnight Love" – Midnight Flyer: SS 72001 (US, May 1981)
  • "La Di Da/Love Today" – Sad Cafe: SS 72002 (US, June 1981)
  • "The Race Is On" – Dave Edmunds with The Stray Cats: SS 72003 (US, June 1981), SSK 19425 (UK, June 1981; Australia & New Zealand, August 1981; Ireland), SS 19 425 (Germany,

9 July 1981), SS 19425 (Holland/Belgium), 19425 (France)

  • "No Favours – No Way/I'm In Love Again" – Sad Cafe: SS 72004 (US, October 1981)
  • "Hold Me/Spring Greens" – B. A. Robertson and Maggie Bell: SS 72006 (US), BAM 1 (UK, October 1981; New Zealand), ELK 12 564 (Germany, 23 October 1981), ELK 12564 (Holland/Belgium), 45-2169 (Spain), PRO 72006 (Canada)
  • "Waiting For You/Rock 'N' Roll Party" – Midnight Flyer: SSK 19426 (UK, April 1982)
  • "Who's To Blame (Death Wish Title)/Carole's Theme" – Jimmy Page: P-1673 (Japan, July 1982)
  • "Slow Dancer/Burning Down One Side" – Robert Plant: PS-1018 (Japan)
  • "Goosebumps/Key To Your Heart" – Maggie Bell: SSK 19428 (UK, September 1982)
  • "Burning Down One Side" – Robert Plant: SS7-99979 (US, September 1982), SSK 19429 (UK, September 1982), SSK 19429T (UK Limited Edition 12" single, September 1982), SS 19 429 (Germany, September 1982), SS 19.429 (Holland/Belgium), W 19429 (Italy), PRO 233 (France, October 1982), P-1679 (Japan, October 1982), 99 99797 (Canada), 7-99979 (Australia & New Zealand)
  • "Electricland" – Bad Company: 7-99966 (US, September 1982; Australia), 79,9966-7 (Germany), 79.9966-7 (Holland/Belgium), P-1713 (Japan, November 1982), 99 99667 (Canada)
  • "Pledge Pin/Fat Lip" – Robert Plant: SS7-99952 (US, November 1982), 79 99527 (Canada)
  • "Crazy/All I Have To Do Is Dream" – Maggie Bell: MB 1 (UK, January 1983)
  • "Put Angels Around You/Here, There And Everywhere" – Maggie Bell and Bobbie Whitlock: SS7-99907 (US, March 1983), SWS 105 (South Africa)
  • "Big Log/Far Post" – Robert Plant: 7-99844 (US, September 1983; Australia), P-1786 (Japan, September 1983), 79 98447 (Canada)
  • "Somewhere In The Night/Sun Don't Shine" – Wildlife: 7-99842 (US, September 1983), B 9842 (UK, September 1983), PR 522 (US 12" promotional single)

Promo discs[edit]

  • 1978 – LAAS-002 – "Live from the Atlantic Studios" – Detective
  • 1978 – PR-230 – "College Radio Presents Dave Edmunds" – Dave Edmunds
  • July 1982 – SAM-154 – "Pictures at Eleven – Interview with Alan Freeman" – Robert Plant

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chris Welch (1994) Led Zeppelin, London: Orion Books. ISBN 1-85797-930-3, p. 71.
  2. ^ "Famous Rimmers Artist: William Rimmer". September 2006. Retrieved 2013-08-04. 
  3. ^ "Cameron Crowe interview Led Zeppelin". 18 March 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-07. 
  4. ^ Dave Schulps, Interview with Jimmy Page, Trouser Press, October 1977.
  5. ^ Uncut Magazine #166, March 2011, page 50.

External links[edit]