| United Kingdom|
| George Harrison|
| Rock, Indian classical, soul|
A&M Records (1974–1976), Warner Bros. Records (1976–1994), EMI (2002–2004)
Cloud Nine, Thirty Three & 1/3, Somewhere in England, Gone Troppo, The Place I Love
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 last of whom provided the label with its only significant commercial success until Harrison 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.
Attitudes, Stairsteps and Keni Burke were among the other artists who recorded for Dark Horse, although it increasingly became a vehicle for Harrison's solo releases once Warner's had taken over distribution. After a ten-year period of inactivity, the label returned in 2002 with the posthumous release of Harrison's final studio album, Brainwashed, followed by his Dark Horse Years box set in 2004. More recently, Dark Horse Records issued the Shankar–Harrison compilation box set Collaborations (2010).
Dark Horse Records Wikipedia
Since the formation of the Beatles' EMI-affiliated Apple Records in 1968, George Harrison had produced and helped nurture acts signed to the label, including Jackie Lomax, Billy Preston and Badfinger, all of whom were little known at the time. Following the Beatles' break-up in 1970, Harrison continued in this role while maintaining a successful solo career, adding prestigious signings such as Ravi Shankar and Ronnie Spector to Apple's roster. By 1973, when he was producing an ambitious "East-meets-West" album by Shankar and the debut by a duo from South Shields, Splinter, Apple was being wound down following Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr severing their ties with Beatles manager Allen Klein. While all the former Beatles were contractually obliged to EMI until 26 January 1976, as solo artists, Harrison sought a new avenue for his extracurricular projects. He and Starr considered buying Apple in 1973 and running it themselves, but Harrison was wary of business complications associated with the label.
In early 1974, he began a dialogue with David Geffen, head of Asylum Records in Los Angeles, and, according to Tom Petty's later recollection, he also consulted Leon Russell, co-founder of Shelter Records, about setting up a label. Harrison eventually agreed terms with A&M Records for the latter to distribute his new label worldwide. For a company name, Harrison used the title of a song he had written in 1973, "Dark Horse". The inspiration for the Dark Horse Records logo came from a label on a tin that Harrison found during a trip to India. The logo features the seven-headed horse Uchchaisravas, a common figure in Indian art and mythology.
After Harrison signed with Dark Horse Records on 27 January 1976, all of his subsequent recordings were released through the label, starting with that year's Thirty Three & 1/3 and ending with Live in Japan in 1992. After the latter, it went into hiatus for ten years.
Dark Horse was distributed by A&M Records (1974–76), Warner Bros. Records (1976–94) and EMI (2002–04).
Dark Horse was revived with the posthumous release of Brainwashed in 2002. Harrison's back catalogue on the label was remastered and reissued as the Dark Horse Years 1976–1992 box set during 2004. In 2010, Dark Horse released the Ravi Shankar–George Harrison box set Collaborations, with distribution through Rhino Entertainment.
Though Dark Horse ultimately focused solely on Harrison's releases, the label also released albums by the following artists between 1974 and 1978:Ravi Shankar
Attitudes, a Los Angeles band
Splinter, a South Shields duo
The Stairsteps, a Chicago soul vocal group
R&B vocalist Keni Burke, a former member of the Stairsteps
Henry McCullough, formerly guitarist with Joe Cocker and Wings
Jiva, a California band
1 Also released as a picture disc, catalog number K 17423P
2 Released by Dark Horse/Parlophone.
3 Box set of Harrison's remastered Dark Horse years albums: Thirty Three & 1/3 (1977) to Cloud Nine (1987).
4 Box set consisting of Shankar's two Harrison-produced albums on Dark Horse – Ravi Shankar's Music Festival from India and Shankar Family & Friends – together with Chants of India (1997) and a DVD containing film of a 1974 Musical Festival from India performance at the Royal Albert Hall, London.