Rhino is probably the most well-known reissue label around. It’s one label that a lot of people know even if they don’t care about labels, reissues, obscurities, bonus tracks, liner notes and all that nerdy stuff. Like many labels that specialize in rarities and reissues, Rhino started out as a record store. Rhino Records opened its doors in L.A. in 1973.

Check out early Nirvana playing Rhino Records in 1989:

Aside from genuinely good taste, Rhino’s success can be attributed in part to their quickness moving into the CD market in the mid-80s. After building its reputation as a record store, distributor, and label in the 70s, Rhino really began to take off by bringing Oldies, Rock & Roll, British Invasion, Soul, Jazz and Comedy classics to disc for the first time.

Rhino gained control of a number of catalogs from legendary labels such as Straight/Bizarre (Frank Zappa’s labels), White Whale (The Turtles, Warren Zevon) and Roulette (Bill Haley and His Comets, Ronnie Hawkins and number of Jazz legends) among others. The label became known for its box sets and deluxe reissues of albums that included extensive liner notes, nice packaging, quality remastering and bonus tracks.

Check out a few Rhino bonus track gems:



The label has since continued its trajectory and persevered through a long string of major label distribution deals and buy outs. Rhino is currently owned by Warner Music Group and is reissuing as well as releasing new music. The label recently remastered The Smiths complete catalog and has reissued it on CD and LP.

– Submitted by Justin Main, Music Design