Stein Revives Sire for WB Records

By | April 25, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Sire Records, the label that introduced the world to Madonna, Talking Heads and the Ramones, is being resurrected and will officially rejoin the Warner Bros. Records family of labels.

Label founder Seymour Stein’s first signing under the new deal is the Von Bondies. Also on the Sire roster are Morcheeba, Guster, the Distillers, Hot Hot Heat, Less Than Jake and the Hives (through a joint venture with Burning Heart/Epitaph).

When Roger Ames was named chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group in 1999, Ames’ London Records was merged with Sire Records to create London-Sire. That label closed its doors in December 2001 during Warner Music’s groupwide restructuring, which also affected Atlantic and Warner Bros. Records. Stein stayed on as a Warner Music executive.

Sire’s history with Warner Bros. Records began in 1976 though a distribution deal that also brought acts such as the Pretenders, the Dead Boys and the Flamin’ Groovies into the Warner family. Sire also signed Depeche Mode, the Cure, Ice-T, Madness, the Replacements, the Cult, k.d. lang, the Smiths, Barenaked Ladies, Ministry, Echo and the Bunnymen, Primal Scream, Everything But the Girl and Erasure, among others. Sire was distributed through Warner Bros. Records until 1995 when it moved over to Elektra.

“In the midst of some of the worst times I have ever seen in our industry, I also see great potential and opportunity,” Stein said. “I want the new Sire/Warner collaboration to serve as a bridge between the exciting new artists that are now emerging.”

Added Warner Bros. Records CEO and board chairman Tom Whalley: “Sire Records is single-handedly responsible for some of the most important musical discoveries of our era, and for almost 20 years, Warner Bros. was an integral part of that process. It’s a tradition that now continues with our renewed partnership.”

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