RAK Records

Mickie Most started out in the music business as a performer. After extensive touring in South Africa, the country where he was most famous with his group the Playboys, he became a producer, working with many different acts such as Donovan and the Animals. In the late 1960s he decided to introduce the American selling style of rack-jobbing in the United Kingdom. This is where the salesman sets up a rack of albums for sale in places outside of record shops, such as garages and supermarkets. He formed RAK records (The ‘c’ was dropped because Mickie thought it looked less harsh) to achieve his goal. Unfortunately, the supermarkets weren’t too keen on the idea, but still Most decided to keep the company name, although changing his strategy.

Initially, RAK had no artists signed, but all this changed when the first RAK single was released in 1970. Julie Felix sang a version of Paul Simon’s ‘If I Could (El Condor Pasa)” and reached the UK top 20. RAK quickly became big business when they signed Hot Chocolate, who were formerly on Apple Records, Australian folk group New World, 70’s glamrock band Mud, and teenybop acts like Smokie and Suzi Quatro.
Songwriters and producers like Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman had many hits through RAK, and at one point, the company was situated in Charles Street, Mayfair, nextdoor to the also very successful Bell record label (who had signed Gary Glitter and the Bay City Rollers, amongst others). As the teenybop era passed into punk, RAK was less successful, although the label briefly bounced back in the early 80’s with Kim Wilde. She was signed to RAK from 1981 until 1984. After Kim left, RAK was sold, the entire catalogue taken over by EMI Records.

Kim released three albums at RAK: Kim Wilde, Select and Catch as Catch Can. After Kim left the label, they released a compilation album called The Very Best of Kim Wilde, which Kim did not approve of. After the RAK Records catalogue was bought by EMI Records, they started releasing a lot of other compilations on the Disky and EMI Plus labels.

All of Kim’s music from the RAK period was acquired by Cherry Pop in 2019. They released deluxe versions of Kim’s albums, featuring several tracks from the archives.