American record label founded by Seymour Stein and Richard Gottehrer.
The first release of the label was The Jam (3) - Loving Kind Of Way, late March or early April 1968. Around the same time Sire arranged a distribution contract with P.I.P. Records.
In April 1968 Seymour Stein flew to Europe and Far East to arrange distribution deals and signing progressive British and European bands who didn't have American label deals. The most successful artists from this era include Renaissance (4), Climax Blues Band and Focus (2), whose instrumental "Hocus Pocus" gave Sire its first Top 10 hit.
Originally pressed and distributed by London Records from 1968 to 1972; distribution switched to Dot Records/Famous Music later in 1972. Distribution again changed in 1974, this time to ABC Records.
In 1976, Sire was one of the first large independent labels to sign artists from the burgeoning punk and NYC new wave scene, including The Ramones, The Dead Boys and Talking Heads.
In 1976, Seymour Stein sold the rights for European releases to Polygram, so UK releases were marketed by Phonogram Ltd. till the end of 1978, while Continental releases were released by PolyGram on the Philips label. In late 1978, when Sire's CBGB acts like Ramones and Talking Heads became popular, he secured new licensing deals in all European key markets. Sire was distributed now in Germany by Ariola Eurodisc GmbH, in the UK by WEA Records Ltd., in France by Pathé Marconi EMI, in Italy by RCA S.P.A. and so on. In November 1981 WEA International Inc. bought all distribution rights for Sire in Europe, except for Italy.
Please note: all European WEA Musik GmbH related Sire releases are released post-1981.
In the US, a distribution deal was signed in 1977 with Warner Bros. Records. Warner finally purchased the label in 1980. In 1982, Sire signed Madonna, who became the label's most popular act. In the 1980s many Sire albums were put out through the Warner subsidiary Reprise Records.
In 1995, Sire temporarily switched distribution from Warner Brothers and Reprise to Elektra, always remaining part of the Warner Music Group.
In 2000, Sire Records and the US division of London Records, which came to the Warner fold when Roger Ames was hired to run all of Warner Music, were merged to become London-Sire Records, part of Warner Music Group. This partnership was dissolved in April, 2003, at which point Sire once again became a distinct imprint in the portfolio of Warner-owned labels and returned to the aegis of Warner Bros. Records.
Label Code: LC 3228 / LC 03228
Please note that some US cassettes and 8-tracks have a SIR code on the spine or elsewhere near or above the catalogue number. This is not part of the catalogue number and should not be entered as such. Instead, it's a label identification code and may be entered in the Barcode and Other Identifiers fields in Other.