Caroline Records

Caroline Records is a record label originally founded in 1973. Initially founded in the United Kingdom to showcase British progressive rock groups, the label ceased releasing titles in 1976 and the re-emerged in the United States in 1986 to release the work of American punk, post-punk and alternative rock bands. Caroline has or had a number of subsidiary labels including Astralwerks, Gyroscope, Caroline Blue Plate, Beat the World, Scamp, and Passenger.

Caroline Records
Parent companyUniversal Music Group (2013-present)
EMI (1993-2013)
FounderRichard Branson
StatusRevived in 2013
Distributor(s)Caroline Distribution
Country of originUnited States
LocationNew York, New York, U.S.

UK label

The original Caroline record label started as a subsidiary of Richard Branson's Virgin Records from 1973 to 1976. It specialized in inexpensive LPs by progressive rock and jazz artists that lacked commercial appeal. Caroline records rarely mentioned a connection with Virgin, and some UK and European Virgin albums that were distributed internationally (instead of being manufactured in each country) named Caroline as their American distributor. Some Caroline records bore the label name Caroline Blue Plate.

The first release was Outside the Dream Syndicate by Tony Conrad and Faust in 1973. The logo was a photographic-style variation of Virgin's "Twins" logo designed by Roger Dean.

US label

In 1983, the Caroline name was reused by Virgin in the US as the importer Caroline Distribution. Caroline Distribution founded the current Caroline Records in 1986. Caroline Records was merged into Virgin Records after Virgin was acquired by Thorn EMI.[1] Caroline Distribution was separated and became part of EMI Music Distribution.

Primo Scree

Primo Scree was an imprint of Caroline Records created by Ned Hayden of the Action Swingers, who had previously been a sales rep at Caroline.[2][3] Its releases included the Action Swingers' single "Fear of a Fucked Up Planet", as well as Gumball's debut album Special Kiss and Monster Magnet's debut album Spine of God.[4][5]

Notable releases


  1. Barnes, Terry (11 September 1999). "Caroline Distribution: Sweet 16 and Never Been Dissed". Billboard via Google Books.
  2. "Monster Magnet". Contemporary Musicians. 2004. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  3. Belanger, Ashley (25 March 2015). "Total Punk talks to Action Swingers' Ned Hayden about CBGB, his influences and the early NYC punk scene". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  4. Marlowe, Keith (21 May 2015). "Action Swingers Just Won't 'Quit While You're Ahead'". Noisey. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  5. Huey, Steve. "Gumball Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  6. Kids on the Street > Overview
  7. "Billy, Don't Be a Hero". Spin. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  8. The Vanishing Point > Overview
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