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Creator / United Artists Records

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UAR's 1960-67 logo.
The 1968-70 logo.
The 1971-80 logo.

"The proudest name in entertainment"
— Slogan of United Artists Records during The '60s

United Artists Records was a subsidiary of the United Artists film studio. It was founded in 1957 primarily to release soundtrack albums to UA's films, but soon branched out into pop music.

Berry Gordy brought several Soul acts to the label before forming Motown, while Leiber and Stoller, fresh from their tenure at Atlantic Records, came on as staff producers. Performers such as The Isley Brothers, George Jones, Jay and the Americans, Bobby Goldsboro, The Highwaymen, Ferrante & Teicher, and Patty Duke (from the studio's TV series The Patty Duke Show) sold well. When The British Invasion hit, UAR's soundtrack album for The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night became a best seller, and the label also signed Manfred Mann to its Ascot subsidiary in the US. Soon afterwards, UAR got the American rights to The Spencer Davis Group, and later its Spin-Off band Traffic.

In 1967, United Artists was acquired by Transamerica Corporation, an insurance company that was looking to expand into the entertainment business. A year later, Transamerica bought Liberty Records, which was absorbed into UAR by 1971. The label's best-selling acts during The '70s included Crystal Gayle, Hawkwind (brought over from Liberty), Don McLean, Kenny Rogers, War (Band) and Electric Light Orchestra.

In 1978, United Artists studio executives Artie Mogull and Jerry Rubinstein bought the record company from Transamerica, helped by a loan from British record conglomerate EMI. The deal lost money (partially because UAR lost the rights to ELO in the process), and EMI wound up buying the label outright. Because UAR was no longer connected with the film studio, EMI eventually changed its name back to Liberty; this new/old label would handle new releases and reissues of UA acts, particularly in country music, until 1984, when it was merged into EMI America Records, which in turn was merged with Manhattan in 1987 to become EMI-Manhattan. After briefly using the name again as a country label, EMI would focus the imprint on "heritage" acts, before the Liberty name went dormant for good.

In 1986, producer Jerry Weintraub was brought in to revive both the studio (which still hadn't recovered from the Heaven's Gate debacle) and the label, but the only music release it managed was the soundtrack to The Karate Kid Part II, which Weintraub produced — for Columbia Pictures, not UA. (Said soundtrack was released internationally on Warner (Bros.) Records.) The United Artists Records name hasn't been used since then; a revival seems unlikely, especially given that the most recent revival of the film studio, United Artists Releasing, was folded back into MGM in March 2023.

As with other labels once controlled by EMI, UAR's American catalog is currently owned by Universal Music Group through Capitol Records, while its British and European catalog is owned by Warner Music Group through Parlophone Records.

United Artists Records performers with TV Tropes pages:

*Transferred from either the British or German branch of Liberty Records