Swan Song Records

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Swan Song Records
Parent companyWarner Music Group
Founded1974 (1974)
FounderLed Zeppelin
Defunct1983 (1983)
Distributor(s)Atlantic Records
Country of originUK
LocationLondon, England
New York City

Swan Song Records was a record label that was launched by the English rock band Led Zeppelin on 10 May 1974, however, its first record releases (in UK and US, respectively) were Silk Torpedo by another English rock band, The Pretty Things and the self-titled album, "Bad Company". 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, although Atlantic ultimately distributed the label's product.

Artists that released material on the Swan Song label included Led Zeppelin itself, solo releases by Led Zeppelin band members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Bad Company, 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: BA Robertson sang a duet with Maggie Bell on the single "Hold Me", and 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.


In January 1974, Led Zeppelin negotiated an 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 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, designed by Hipgnosis and illustrated by Joe Petagno, was based on Evening also called The Fall of Day (1869) by painter William Rimmer.[2]

By April 1975, Swan Song had four albums (Bad Company, Silk Torpedo, Physical Graffiti, and Suicide Sal) in the Billboard Top 200 chart.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

In the original cut of the 1974 film Phantom of the Paradise, the name of a media conglomerate owned by the antagonist Swan was "Swan Song Enterprises". The name had to be deleted from the film prior to release due to objections from Swan Song Records. Although most references were removed, "Swan Song" remains visible in several scenes.[7]

Swan Song ceased operations in October 1983 due to the break-up of Led Zeppelin and Peter Grant's health problems. An 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 albums that were released by the label when it was active except in 2012 the label was resurrected when Led Zeppelin released the live Celebration Day document of their 2007 one-off reunion concert.

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


Label discography[edit]



Some of Swan Song's more notable singles include:

  • "Can't Get Enough/Little Miss Fortune" – Bad Company: SS-70015 (US, 1974), SWS 70015 (Canada)
  • "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)
  • "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)
  • "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)
  • "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)
  • "Burnin' Sky/Everything I Need" – Bad Company: SS 70112 (US, 21 May 1977), SWS 70112 (Canada)
  • "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)
  • "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)
  • "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,
  • "Who's To Blame (Death Wish Title)/Carole's Theme" – Jimmy Page: P-1673 (Japan, July 1982)
  • "Big Log/Far Post" – Robert Plant: 7-99844 (US, September 1983; Australia), P-1786 (Japan, September 1983), 79 98447 (Canada)

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]


  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. Archived from the original on 11 January 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  3. ^ Cabison, Rosalie (2 January 2013). "Billboard 200". Billboard.com. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  4. ^ "Cameron Crowe interview Led Zeppelin". 18 March 1975. Archived from the original on 29 April 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
  5. ^ Dave Schulps, Interview with Jimmy Page, Trouser Press, October 1977.
  6. ^ Uncut Magazine #166, March 2011, page 50.
  7. ^ "The Swan Archives - Production". swanarchives.org. 2006. Retrieved 22 November 2018.

External links[edit]