Polydor Records is a record label owned by Universal Music Group, headquartered in the United Kingdom, where it operates as a frontline label. Additionally, it is affiliated with UMG's American-based Interscope Geffen A&M label, which distributes its releases in the US. In turn, Polydor distributes IGA releases in the UK.
Few labels can boast as long, prestigious and varied a musical history as Polydor Recors. From the 60s 'beat boom' onwards, through the eras of progressive rock, disco and punk, the label has been at the front of every big new musical development, while today the likes of the Lady Gaga, Scissor Sisters and The Black Eyed Peas maintain Polydor's cutting-edge reputation.
Founded in Germany in 1946 as the popular music arm of the long-established Deutsche Grammophon label, the UK division of Polydor was not established until ten years later. Initially, the label concentrated on releasing continental-made recordings. In August 1961, German Polydor released a single called My Bonnie by Tony Sheridan and The Beat Boys. Polydor went on to place itself at the centre of the creative melting-pot that was British music in the 1960s by signing a series of adventurous production deals with some of the most dynamic pop entrepreneurs.
In the 1970s, a combination of enlightened deals with entrepreneurs such as Stigwood and the adventurous policy of the label's in-house A'n'R team, built an impressively broad-based roster. Progressive rock was represented by the likes of the late, great Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher, Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton, both solo and with Derek and the Dominos. Glam rock was represented by Slade and the Rubettes. Then there was a Swedish group who won the Eurovision song contest in 1974 and went on to dominate the charts all over the world for years to come. They went by the name of Abba and their greatest hits Gold album still sells strongly to this day.
Into the 1980s, the dance-funk of Level 42, The Wonder Stuff and Paul Weller's Style Council added further diversity to the roster. In the 1990s the label became even more eclectic. Credible singer-songwriters such as Van Morrison and Eagle-Eye Cherry were signed alongside Britpop heroes Cast and Shed Seven. Polydor's link with the Interscope, Geffen and A'n'M labels also brought on board an impressive roster of American talent, including Eminem, 50 Cent, Lady Gaga, Will.i.am and Imagine Dragons as well as the Nirvana catalogue.
Into the new millennium, the label continues to boast plenty of big pop names from Ellie Goulding to The Rolling Stones. But it has also built an adventurous roster to revive the potent excitement of the halcyon days of the 1960s. From the realm of contemporary British music came the trailblazing Mercury Music Prize-winners The Klaxons, while HAIM, The 1975, Lady Gaga and Lana Del Rey spearhead an impressive pop contingent.