47 Years Ago, May 23, 1974 – George Harrison announced the launch of his own record label called Dark Horse.
MAY 23, 1974 – George Harrison announced the launch of his own record label called Dark Horse. Harrison had recorded for the Parlophone and Apple labels under a contract that terminated in 1976, and all of his subsequent recordings would released through Dark Horse, starting with “Thirty Three & 1/3” in 1976 and ending with the posthumous release of “Brainwashed” in 2002. Harrison’s Dark Horse back catalog was remastered and reissued in a box-set during 2004.
Dark Horse Records is a record label founded by former Beatle George Harrison in 1974. The label’s formation coincided with the winding down of the Beatles’ Apple Records and allowed Harrison to continue supporting other artists’ projects while maintaining his solo career. The initial signings were Indian musician Ravi Shankar and Splinter, the latter of whom provided the label with its only significant commercial success until Harrison himself signed with Dark Horse in 1976. The label was distributed internationally by A&M Records for the first two years of its operation. Following a highly publicised split with A&M, Harrison and Dark Horse formed a long-term partnership with Warner Bros. Records that lasted until the expiration of his contract in 1994.
The inspiration for the Dark Horse logo came from a label on a tin box Harrison saw on one of his many trips to India. The logo features the seven-headed horse Uchchaisravas, a common figure in Indian art and mythology. Harrison was arguably a dark horse in seeking a solo career after having been overshadowed among The Beatles by Lennon and McCartney, despite his creating several of the band’s more popular later songs (such as “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something”), and being the first ex-Beatle with a #1 solo album (1970’s “All Things Must Pass”).
Though Dark Horse ultimately focused solely on Harrison’s releases, the label also released albums by several artists between 1974 and 1976 including Ravi Shankar, Jim Keltner’s band Attitudes, Splinter, The Stairsteps and Keni Burke (a member of the Stairsteps), Henry McCullough, and Jiva.
Wonderwall Music (1968)
Electronic Sound (1969)
All Things Must Pass (3LP) (1970)
Living In The Material World (1973)
Dark Horse (1974)
Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975)
Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976)
George Harrison (1979)
Somewhere In England (1981)
Gone Troppo (1982)
Cloud Nine (1987)
Live in Japan (2LP) (1992)