I.R.S. Records

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I.R.S. Records
I.R.S. Records logo.svg
Parent company Universal Music Group
Founded 1979 (1979)
Founder Miles Copeland III
Jay Boberg
Defunct 1996 (1996)
Status Defunct
Distributor(s) A&M (1979–1985)
MCA (1985–1990)
EMI (1990–1996)
EMI (2011–2012)
Caroline Distribution (2013–2015)
Genre New wave, rock
Country of origin U.S.
Official website onamrecords.com

I.R.S. Records was an American record label founded by Miles Copeland III and Jay Boberg in 1979. I.R.S. produced some of the most popular bands of the 1980s, including R.E.M. and The Go-Go's.[1]

History[edit]

Miles Copeland III, the son of CIA agent Miles Copeland Jr., played many roles in the U.K. punk rock and new wave music industry of the middle to late 1970s: agent, manager, producer, magazine publisher, record company and label owner. His brother Ian was the head of a talent agency, Frontier Booking International (F.B.I.), while his brother Stewart played drums for The Police, a band that Copeland managed. The Police's first album was released on A&M Records in 1978 with a hit single, "Roxanne", that Copeland called a turning point in his life.[2]

Building on success with the Police, Copeland convinced Jerry Moss, co-owner of A&M, to establish the I.R.S. division in 1979. I.R.S. stood for International Record Syndicate.[3]

I.R.S. releases were distributed by A&M until 1985, by MCA Records until 1990, and by EMI until the label folded in 1996. In 2011, EMI revived the label; as of 2012, the new label has Chiddy Bang and Foxy Shazam on its roster. In October 2013, shortly after the integration of EMI into its successor, Universal Music Group, the label was revived again as I.R.S. Nashville, with Striking Matches, Marc Scibilia and Cowboy Jack Clement on its roster before being shut down once again in 2015.[4][5]

In 1985, Copeland brokered a deal to switch the label's distributor to MCA Records. Under the agreement, A&M continued to release the label's pre-1985 catalog, much of which still can be found under the A&M banner. The last I.R.S release was All Set (1996) by the Buzzcocks. Shortly after, Copeland formed Ark 21 Records.

From 1983 to 1987, I.R.S. Records sponsored a monthly MTV show called I.R.S. Records Presents The Cutting Edge, hosted by Peter Zaremba of The Fleshtones. The series concentrated on bands that recorded for the label.

Faulty Products labels[edit]

Faulty Products was the UK holding company for I.R.S. Records of the UK record labels set up by Copeland. It included Illegal Records, Deptford Fun City Records and others. Faulty Products was also an American independent record label and distribution company for other indie labels between 1980 and 1982. Faulty handled artists that didn't go through I.R.S.'s distribution deal with A&M.

Illegal Records was set up by Miles Copeland with his younger brother Stewart and the manager of The Police, Paul Mulligan.[6] The label released The Police's debut single, "Fall Out". Deptford Fun City Records was set up by Miles Copeland in the late 1970s as an outlet for Deptford, England bands such as Alternative TV and Squeeze.[6][7]

I.R.S. No Speak, also known as No Speak Records, was set up as an all-instrumental imprint of I.R.S. in January 1988. It released albums by Stewart Copeland, Wishbone Ash, and William Orbit. Tribal America was a label run by Rob DiStefano that was distributed by I.R.S from 1991 until IRS folded in 1996. It concentrated on house music, a type of electronic dance music. One of the most prominent acts on its roster was the production team Murk. DiStefano went on to found Twisted America Records.

Roster[edit]

I.R.S.'s roster of musicians included The Alarm, The Bangles, Berlin, Buzzcocks, J. J. Cale, The Cramps, The Damned, Dead Kennedys, The English Beat, The Fall, The Fleshtones, General Public, The Go-Go's, Jools Holland, Klark Kent, Let's Active, The Lords of the New Church, Magazine, Oingo Boingo, R.E.M., Renaissance, Skafish, The Stranglers, and Wall of Voodoo.[1]

I.R.S. compilation album[edit]

On the Charts was a 1994 compilation album that chronicled I.R.S. Records from 1979 to 1994.

U.S. release[edit]

  1. "Our Lips Are Sealed" – The Go-Go's
  2. "Mexican Radio" [Edit] – Wall of Voodoo
  3. "Only a Lad" – Oingo Boingo
  4. "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" – Timbuk3
  5. "Save It for Later" – The English Beat
  6. "She Drives Me Crazy" – Fine Young Cannibals
  7. "Mad About You" [Single Mix] – Belinda Carlisle
  8. "Tenderness" – General Public
  9. "The One I Love" – R.E.M.
  10. "Joey" – Concrete Blonde
  11. Rain in the Summertime" [Edit] – The Alarm
  12. "Dizz Knee Land" – Dada

U.K. release[edit]

  1. "Our Lips Are Sealed" – The Go-Go's
  2. "Mexican Radio" [Edit] – Wall of Voodoo
  3. "68 Guns" – The Alarm
  4. "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" – Timbuk3
  5. "Spirit in the Sky" – Doctor and the Medics
  6. "Heartbreaker (At the End of Lonely Street)" – Dread Zeppelin
  7. "Camouflage" – Stan Ridgway
  8. "Mad About You" [Single Mix] – Belinda Carlisle
  9. "Hey, Matthew" – Karel Fialka
  10. "The One I Love" – R.E.M.
  11. "Joey" – Concrete Blonde
  12. "Holy Cow" – Jools Holland
  13. "Dizz Knee Land" – Dada

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "I.R.S. Records History On A&M Records.com". www.onamrecords.com. Retrieved 20 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Hunt, Dennis (5 June 1988). "Going a Round With Miles Copeland". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  3. ^ "UM Entertainment Management". www.business.umt.edu. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  4. ^ Peoples, Glenn (22 October 2013). "I.R.S. Nashville Imprint Names John Grady President". Billboard. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Stark, Phyllis; Roland, Tom (16 December 2015). "Nashville Notes: Capitol's I.R.S. Nashville Label Shuttered; Zac Brown Band on the Move". Billboard. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Paul Marko Popular music genres: an introduction - Google Books. books.google.com. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  7. ^ The Roxy London Wc2: A Punk History. The Roxy Club London:Punk, 2007, ISBN 0955658306. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 

External links[edit]