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Telstar Records was a British record label that operated from 1982 to 2004.
Telstar was founded in 1982 by Sean O'Brien and Neil Palmer with a government loan of £120,000. It was launched as a specialist compilation marketing label and had hits with a range of compilation franchises such as the Deep Heat, Kaos Theory and 100% ranges. As well as these brands, the company licensed a number of major artist recordings (for example ABBA and the Four Tops) to release telemarketed compilations.
In the mid-1990s it diversified its output into the singles market and long-term artist development with the launch of the Multiply Records and Wildstar Records subsidiaries. Until then, Telstar normally only released singles that were tele-marketed and associated products like The Chippendales or PJ and Duncan aka. Acts signed in this period included Conner Reeves, Sash!, Phats & Small and Basement Jaxx. Craig David had the label's first UK number one single.
Other artists included Victoria Beckham (a sub-licence deal from 19 Records), Rosie Ribbons, Skream!, The Cheeky Girls and Mis-Teeq. In the late 1990s, Telstar became closely associated with BMG Records, especially with the Telstar TV compilation arm and The Hits Album releases.
Telstar Records went bankrupt in 2004, largely due to the company's habit of giving large advances to artists such as Claire Sweeney, Victoria Beckham and Rosie Ribbons who failed to make them any money. In the media much of the blame for the label's failure was placed on their most high profile signing, Victoria Beckham. However, as most of Telstar's artists were not directly signed to the label, instead being either sub-licensed or part of a number of joint ventures, BMG (soon to be merged with Sony) declined to buy the label's assets outright.
- Ant & Dec (also as PJ & Duncan)
- Victoria Beckham (from 19)
- Crush (ex-Byker Grove)
- Monk & Canatella
- Vinnie Jones
- Mis-Teeq (from Inferno Cool - recordings owned by Twenty First Artists Ltd)
- Project D
- Skream! (three-piece boyband)
- Antonia Lucas
- Maria Willson
- The Cheeky Girls
- Specialist Compilation Marketing:
- ABBA (compilation with tracks licensed from Polar)
- Daniel O'Donnell
- Diana Ross
- Marvin Gaye (compilation with various licensing deals)
- Maggie Moon
- Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers
- Bonnie Tyler
- Heatwave (Disco remixes)
- Bad Manners
- Boney M. (compilation with tracks licensed from MCI/BMG Germany)
- Electric Light Orchestra
- Roy Orbison
- London Symphony Orchestra - Classic Rock series
- Deep Heat
- Euphoria (to Ministry of Sound)
- The Greatest Hits of... (yearly compilation series e.g. The Greatest Hits of 1987)
- Hits 93 / Hits 94 (these were listed as part of the Hits Album brand in the Complete Book Of British Charts due to Telstar TV's later involvement with the series, butwere actually released by Telstar in joint venture status with BMG. There was later a 'Pure Hits 97'.)
- Box Hits (to UMTV)
- BRIT Awards (to Sony BMG)
- Kaos Theory
In the late 1990s, Telstar's successful dance music compilation series Euphoria and Breakdown (full name The Very Best of Euphoric Breakdown) were launched, both of which lasted into the days when BMG were co-credited on compilations, and transcended Telstar Records' closure when they were continued on the Ministry of Sound label.
Chart Attack was Telstar Records first chart hit in the UK Top 75 album charts. It was released in autumn 1982 and reached number 7 in the main chart in the days before the exclusion of such various artist albums.