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The current Harvest Records logo
|Distributor(s)||Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group (Syd Barrett catalog)|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
Harvest Records was created by EMI in 1969 to market progressive rock music, and to compete with Philips' Vertigo and Decca's Deram labels, and the independent Island label, initially under the direction of Malcolm Jones. Harvest was distributed in North America by EMI's US arm, Capitol Records. They were the European licensee for the American label Blue Thumb Records from 1969 to 1971.
In the 1970s the label primarily released progressive rock recordings by British acts including Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, Kevin Ayers, The Move, Roy Wood, Barclay James Harvest, Be Bop Deluxe and Deep Purple. Nearly all the acts on the Harvest roster were British; two notable exceptions were Australian progressive band Spectrum (whose first two LPs were issued on Harvest) and Spectrum's successor Ariel, whose first two LPs also came out on the label.
The focus of the label changed slightly as the 1970s drew to a close, with the signing of post-punk groups Wire, Australian band the Saints and the Banned. New wave artists Thomas Dolby and Duran Duran released their debut albums on the label in North America. Iron Maiden's first three albums were also released in the US by the label. Pink Floyd switched to Columbia Records after the release of The Dark Side of the Moon in 1973.
In the United States, Capitol initially treated Harvest as a separate label that they expected big sales from. After only a few issues, they had few sales to show for their effort and consequently only issued a few releases and numbered them within their standard Capitol LP series (mostly using Harvest for Pink Floyd releases). After this initial short-lived series, Capitol passed on most of the UK Harvest artists.
In 1975, a reissue sub-label was launched called Harvest Heritage. This new label largely compiled material that had been previously released on Harvest from 1969 onward. However, Harvest Heritage also reissued music from late 1960s EMI bands that had never recorded for the label, such as the Gods, Love Sculpture and Tomorrow. Heritage also occasionally released new music, such as Four Rock 'n' Roll Legends, a recording of a 1977 concert by rockabilly veterans Charlie Feathers, Buddy Knox, Jack Scott and Warren Smith.
Much of Harvest's European back catalogue (including Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Duran Duran, and Iron Maiden) was divested by Universal after its takeover of EMI, as part of the Parlophone Label Group. Warner Music Group would buy the catalogue in February 2013.
Capitol Music Group announced its relaunch of the label on 25 February 2013, with former Warner Bros. Records and Dangerbird Records executive Piero Giramonti at the helm. Giramonti is tasked with running the label as an independent label, with the support of Capitol Music Group and Caroline Distribution for distribution, radio promotion and licensing. As of 2013, the Harvest roster consists of TV on the Radio, Arthur Beatrice, Babes, Banks, Death Grips, the Olms, together PANGEA, White Lies and Young & Sick.
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