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Pye Records was a Britishmarker record label. In its first incarnation, Pye's best known artists were Lonnie Donegan (1956-69), Petula Clark (1957-71), The Searchers (1963-67), The Kinks (1964-71), and Brotherhood of Man (1975-79). The label changed its name in 1980 but was briefly reactivated in 2006.


The Pye Company originally manufactured televisions and radios. It entered the record business when it bought Nixa Records in 1953. In 1955, the company acquired Polygon Records, a label that had been established by Petula Clark's father to control distribution of her recordings, and merged it with Nixa Records to form Pye Nixa Records.

In 1958, Pye International Records was started. The company licensed recordings from American and other foreign labels in the UKmarker including Chess Records, A&M Records, Kama Sutra Records, Colpix Records, Buddah Records, 20th Century Records, and King Records. It also released recordings from British artist Labi Siffre which were produced outside the company.

In 1959, Pye Nixa became Pye Records and ATV acquired 50% of the label. ATV bought the other half of the business in 1966. The company entered the budget-priced record market in the 1960s, with first Golden Guinea, priced at a guinea (one pound and one shilling), and then Marble Arch reissuing older Pye material at an even lower price. Another, full-price, subsidiary, Piccadilly Records, was for new pop acts. In 1969, Pye launched a less mainstream label for folk, jazz, blues and progressive acts, Dawn Records, the most successful Dawn act being Mungo Jerry.

When the rights to the name Pye expired in 1980, the label changed its name to PRT, which stood for Precision Records and Tapes. Its back catalogue was later acquired by Castle Communications.

In July 2006, it was announced that Scottishmarker alternative rock group Idlewild would sign to Pye Records, which was being reactivated by the music group Sanctuary for bands that were seen to be more indie and alternative than the 'heritage acts' that were signed to their main label. However, plans for continued usage of the Pye name were scuttled when Universal Music Group purchased Sanctuary in 2007.

Pye in the U.S.

Starting with the "British Invasion" of 1964, Pye placed their artists in the U.S. mostly on labels that they distributed in the U.K.: The Searchers to Mercury Records and then Liberty Records (one single each), and finally Kapp Records, The Kinks to Cameo Records and then to Reprise Records, David Bowie and Petula Clark to Warner Bros. Records, and Status Quo to Chess Records (which issued their records on their newly created Cadet Concept Records label).

In 1972, Bell Records set up a short-lived Pye label, featuring Michel Pagliaro, a French-Canadian artist whose first English language album was issued on UK Pye (largely recorded in England), and Jackie McAuley, whose lone solo album was originally issued on UK Dawn. The label only lasted a very short time.

In 1974, Pye established a Americanmarker version of its record label. The label was not a success, however, and closed its U.S. operations in 1976. The head of the U.S. division, Marvin Schlachter, then started Prelude Records, named after one of Pye's acts of the time, Prelude; its initial LP and 45 catalogue series were carried over from the ill-fated U.S. Pye label (with the catalogue prefix changed from PYE- to PRL-), and Prelude would have a string of disco and dance music hits into the early 1980s.

Artists on Pye Records

(including the U.S. labels that issued records by the artists during the time they were on Pye)

See also

External links

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