Do not confuse with the European label Imperial (2). Please use Imperial (12) for unofficial/bootleg items.

US independent record label formed by Lew Chudd in 1946 in Hollywood. The label was sold to Liberty Records, Inc., in 1964. Liberty was purchased by United Artists in 1968, and then UA was bought by EMI in 1979. The catalogue and brand are now owned by Universal Music Group. The name was re-launched in 2006 when entrepreneur and music industry veteran Neil Levine joined Imperial to establish a unit focused on the independent, urban music market. Imperial is a full-service label group specializing in artist, brand development, releasing critically acclaimed albums from Fat Joe, Evidence (of Dilated Peoples), Jin, and Anthony Hamilton (previously unreleased tracks).

See Imperial Records, Inc., Imperial Record Company or Imperial Record Company Inc. for the companies.

The early 45rpm singles were blue and had the Western Avenue address on them. The label lasted until 1954, when a Hollywood address replaced it. At the beginning (late 1950?), the 45s corresponding to 78s in the 1000 series were assigned to a 6000 series. By March 1951, Imperial was releasing the most popular members of their "Hillbilly" series (8000s) as 45s. In January 1952, Imperial began issuing R&B singles in the new format. When these came out, they had a 45‐ prefix, and at the start, only the most popular singles were released as 45s.

The new black label style began in July 1958, with approximately single 5531. It was black with a color spectrum at the top of the label. Some pressing plants added the words "Imperial Records, Inc.," and "Hollywood USA" to the label, but others did not. By September 1961, Imperial was dropping the "X‐" prefix for 45rpm singles; however, some pressing plants kept the "X" all the way to October 1963.

The month of October 1963 saw another completely new design adorn Imperial singles. Associated with the purchase of Imperial by Liberty Records, the new labels have an "IR" logo at the left side and sport rim print declaring "A Subsidiary Of Liberty Records, Inc. • Los Angeles, California." Two colors, white and hot pink, adorn the left side of the label containing the Imperial logo.

A new label, starting with approximately 66160 in February 1966, features a red Imperial logo with "A Product Of Liberty Records" underneath it. The rim text has been altered slightly to read "A Division Of Liberty Records..." instead of "A Subsidiary." The white and pink motif was replaced with lime green. Some pressing plants show the record with an IM‐ prefix.

45 RPM Catalog Number, Date and Label Identification:
5000 through 5300 (1952–1954): Blue label with Imperial name in script lettering.
5301 through 5357 (1954–1955): Red label with Imperial name in script lettering.
5358 through 5460 (1955–1957): Maroon label with Imperial name in block lettering. Red labels with silver print also exist in this range (i.e. 5463).
5461 and higher (1957 forward): Black label.
Opaque red vinyl pressings occur in the 5200–5235 series. Clear red is used on 5262 and "hold to a light" purple can be found in the 5340s. There was a great deal of overlapping, from one style to another, throughout the Imperial catalog. Numbers prior to the beginning of 45 rpm production are issues of material first issued on 78 rpms.

Parent Label:Universal Music Group
Sublabels:Discos Imperiales, Legendary Masters Series (4), Post (2), The Golden Series
Contact Info:

Imperial Records, Inc. Hollywood, U.S.A. , , , , , , , , ,


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