Radar Records was an ambitious but short lived label that was active in England in the late 70s and early 80s. The label worked closely with Warner/Electra/Atlantic and Polydor to bring some of the more prominent underground UK artists of the era to a wider audience. Nick Lowe’s single “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” was the label’s very first release.
Radar was founded by music industry veterans Martin Davis (United Artists Records) and Andrew Lauder (Liberty Records) in 1978. Nick Lowe came to the label via Stiff Records and brought with him Elvis Costello, giving the label two early classic albums in Lowe’s Jesus of Cool and Costello’s This Year’s Model. Other significant bands that signed to the label early on include cult icons like The Pop Group, The Soft Boys, Metal Urbain and Richard Hell & The Voidoids.
A second tier to Radar’s influential catalog arose when they began reissuing some great garage, psych and protopunk from the sixties and early seventies. Radar was the first to issue the unreleased Iggy Pop and James Williamson album, Kill City, and some of the most essential recordings from The 13th Floor Elevators, Shadows of Knight and the Electric Prunes were reissued by Radar in 1979.
Radar closed its doors in 1981. The label was revived for a brief second stint in the mid-90s, but it’s most influential and enduring work comes from it’s early years. Check out a few more great videos from the label’s history.
– Submitted by Justin Main, Music Design