Labels II

Continuing a nostalgic look at prog rock labels, here are a few independents from the late 1960s and 70s:

Original pink label Island records are highly sought. Island started as a reggae label but moved into prog with bands like King Crimson:

Others included the wonderful Kevin Ayers, Dr Strangely Strange, Nick Drake, ELP and Roxy Music.

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Labels I

In the late 1960s into the 70s, and well, even now, I loved progressive rock. Every major record company had their own prog rock label, and it helped to identify them from the others. Here are a few, nostalgia fans:

Harvest was EMI’s label. There is some story that the name came from Barclay James Harvest, one of their artists.

But they had plenty of others, including Deep Purple, Soft Machine, The Move and some band called Pink Floyd or something.

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I run a website for a teddy bear. No really… It used to do quite well, less so now.

Associated with the site is an e-mail address. The teddy bear has, in recent weeks, started getting an awful lot of spam.

One appears a lot. It is a request to invest in a film being made about Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. Epstein also managed Cilla Black, Billy J Kramer, Gerry and the Pacemkers and others. He shaped much of the Merseybeat music scene.

Epstein had his issues, but there is no doubt he made The Beatles. At the time, the contracts he negotiated with record companies etc seemed OK. Looking back, it is clear Epstein lost a lot of opportunities (merchandising for one) but then, who knew?

Anyway, I haven’t invested in the film for several reasons:

  • the mail is addressed to the bear so I should not read it anyway
  • bear has no money
  • I have little money
  • there have already been great books and at least one good tv documentary about Mr Epstein, and I am sure others are not needed. They will probably say ‘based on a true story’ and mangle the facts anyway

It’s amazing to think that Brian Epstein died aged just 32 in 1967. His death, from a drug overdose, has been well documented as to the events but there have always been questions about exactly why it happened.


If you like prog rock kind of music, Genesis, Moody Blues, King Crimson whatever, you may enjoy a band called IQ.

They started in the early 1980s and are still on the go, despite members coming and going.

Their last album, The Road of Bones, is, in my opinion, one of their best and is really enjoyable. Don’t be put off by long tracks, up to 20 minutes or more. Tuneful and multi-part epics.

IQ do regular concerts. They are popular in the UK, doing two concerts in London alone this year including their legendary Xmas bash, and on the continent, especially the Netherlands.

In September, they did a new album launch at the Islington Town Hall. The new disc, Resistance, is a double cd at a reasonable price. The concert was full (they have loyal fans) and I am sure they sold plenty of records.

For me, though, while there are great moments, it’s a bit unsatisfying and a let down from the last. Having listened to it several times, I still find the tracks somewhat unmemorable and none really stands out.

But you may enjoy it, so give it a listen.