Ace of Hearts Records (US)

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Ace of Hearts Records
Founded1978 (1978)
FounderRick Harte
GenreNew wave, rock
Country of originU.S.
LocationBoston, Massachusetts

Ace of Hearts Records is a Boston-based independent label founded in 1978 by Rick Harte, who also produced all its releases. It recorded and released Boston area post-punk and garage rock bands in the early 1980s, including Mission of Burma, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, Roger Miller, Neats, Lyres, John Felice, Nervous Eaters, Del Fuegos, The Neighborhoods, Martin Paul, Wild Stares, Infliktors, Classic Ruins, Crab Daddy, Chaotic Past, Tomato Monkey, and Heat from a DeadStar.


Rick Harte started Ace of Hearts Records in 1978. Harte's specialty was well-produced, tightly played recordings, with great stereo separation and a walloping bottom end; Harte's covers, printed on expensive heavy stock, were strikingly attractive - everything was done with meticulous care. Ace of Hearts released singles by Boston bands such as the Neighborhoods, the Infliktors, Classic Ruins, and Mission of Burma. "Prettiest Girl" by the Neighborhoods sold ten thousand copies.[1]

Harte recorded late at night, when studio rates went down, until daylight. His method was painstaking, layering electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and feedback. Unaccustomed to the rigors of recording, band members occasionally stormed out of the studio. At one point they trekked up to a studio on a Vermont mountainside and mixed the song "Max Ernst" for two stressful days, completing the mix only in the last of the twenty-eight hours of studio time they'd rented. To top it off, they wound up scrapping that mix and using one they'd done earlier.[1]

The Boston radio scene was then fairly open. Local bands got played on even the large commercial stations, mostly because many of the DJs had come from the area's numerous free-form college stations. In fact, the program director of Boston rock stalwart WBCN, Oedipus, had hosted what many consider the first all-punk radio show in the U.S. during his days at MIT's station. "Academy" won WBCN's juke Box Jury competition three weeks in a row, beating out bands like the Who and the Rolling Stones. As a result, the classic "Academy Fight Song"/"Max Ernst" single, released in June'80, sold out its 7,500-copy initial pressing in weeks, something very few independent punk singles had done before. Still, Conley was working for the Census Bureau, Prescott was moving cars around a Pontiac dealership, Miller was tuning pianos and busking on the Boston subway, and Swope, as he told Boston Rock in typically enigmatic fashion, found "money on the ground".[1]

Harte worked closely with his bands, choosing material, working out arrangements, doing extensive preproduction, and tweaking amplifiers. He was manager, mentor, and fan. In Boston, he delivered records to record stores.[1]


  • Infliktors Where'd You Get That Cigarette 1979 (45)
  • Classic Ruins 1+1<2 1980 (EP – 3 songs)
  • The Neighborhoods Prettiest Girl 1980 (45 Vinyl)
  • Mission of Burma Academy Fight Song 1980 (45)
  • Mission of Burma Signals, Calls, and Marches 1981 (EP – 6 songs)
  • Mission of Burma Trem Two 1981 (45)
  • Mission of Burma Vs. 1981 (LP)
  • Lyres AHS 1005 1981 (EP – 4 songs)
  • Lyres Help You Ann 1981 (45)
  • Neats The Monkey's Head in the Corner of the Room 1982 (EP – 7 songs)
  • Neats Caraboo 1983 (45)
  • Neats Neats 1983 (LP)
  • Birdsongs of the Mesozoic Birdsongs of the Mesozoic 1983 (EP – 5 songs)
  • Lyres On Fyre (New Rose) 1984 (LP+CD)
  • Birdsongs of the Mesozoic Magnetic Flip 1984 (LP)
  • Mission of Burma The Horrible Truth About Burma 1985 (LP)
  • Lyres Someone Who'll Treat You Right/She Pays The Rent/You've Been Wrong 1985 (12", 45)
  • Lyres Someone Who'll Treat You Right 1985 (45)
  • Birdsongs of the Mesozoic Beat of the Mesozoic 1985 (EP – 5 songs)
  • Nervous Eaters Hot Steel and Acid 1986 (CD – 9 songs)
  • Lyres Lyres Lyres (New Rose) 1986 (LP+CD)
  • Roger Miller No Man Is Hurting Me 1986 (LP)
  • Roger Miller Groping Hands 1986 (12", 45)
  • Roger Miller The Big Industry 1987 (LP, CD)
  • Mission of Burma Live at the Bradford 1988 (video)
  • Mission of Burma Mission of Burma (Ryko) 1988 (CD comp.)
  • Lyres A Promise is a Promise (New Rose) 1988 (LP+CD)
  • Lyres Box Set AHS 1005, On Fyre, A Promise Is a Promise (New Rose) 1988 (EP+LPs)
  • Lyres Here's a Heart w/Stiv 1988 (12", 45)
  • Birdsongs of the Mesozoic Sonic Geology (Ryko) 1988 (CD Comp.)
  • John Felice and the Lowdowns Nothing Pretty 1988 (LP)
  • John Felice and the Lowdowns Nothing Pretty (New Rose) 1988 (CD)
  • The Wild Stares The Wild Stares Land of Beauty 1992 (CD)
  • Tomato Monkey Mostly Torso 1992 (45)
  • Chaotic Past Distraught and Out of Control 1992 (45)
  • Chaotic Past Load 1993 (EP, CD)
  • Tomato Monkey Blowrod 1993 (CD Radio Sampler – 4 songs)
  • Tomato Monkey Blowrod 1993 (CD)
  • Tomato Monkey Chow Call 1994 (CD)
  • Chaotic Past Moodchanger 1994 (EP, CD)
  • Crab Daddy Ancient Baby 1994 (CD)
  • Various Artists The Wasted Years 1995 (CD)
  • Mission of Burma Signals, Calls, and Marches (Ryko) 1997 (CD – 6 songs)
  • Mission of Burma Vs. (Ryko) 1997 (CD)
  • Mission of Burma The Horrible Truth About Burma (Ryko) 1997 (CD)
  • Lyres AHS 1005 (Matador) 1998 (CD – 13 songs)
  • Lyres On Fyre (Matador) 1998 (CD – 14 songs)
  • Lyres Lyres Lyres (Matador) 1998 (CD – 13 songs)
  • Lyres A Promise is A Promise (Matador) 1998 (CD – 17 songs)
  • Chaotic Past Yer-in 1999 (CD)
  • Chaotic Past New Young Girl 2000 (45, CD single)
  • Martin Paul Crooked Country 2000 (EP, CD)
  • William Hooker/Roger Miller/Lee Ronaldo Monsoon (recorded by Rick Harte for Atavistic Records) 2003 (CD)
  • Mission of Burma A Gun to the Head (Ryko) 2004 (CD comp.)
  • Various Artists 12 Classic 45s 2006 (CD)
  • Mission of Burma Signals, Calls, and Marches (Matador) 2008 (CD+DVD – 10 songs)
  • Mission of Burma Vs. (Matador) 2008 (CD+DVD – 16 songs)
  • Mission of Burma The Horrible Truth About Burma (Matador) 2008 (CD+DVD – 14 songs)
  • Heat from a Deadstar CD 2 Songs including Messy Kid, Ad Astra 2009
  • Heat from a Deadstar Seven Rays of the Sun 2009 (CD – 13 songs)
  • Birdsongs of the Mesozoic Dawn of the Cycads (Cuneiform) 2009 (Double CD – 32 songs)
  • Neats 1981–1984 The Ace of Hearts Years 2009 (CD – 22 songs)


  1. ^ a b c d Azerrad, Michael (2001). Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981–1991 (1 ed.). Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0316063791.

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