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.

MCA Records

Kim Wilde’s record company from 1984 until 1998. MCA is short for Music Corporation of America. Kim joined the company in 1984, after she’d released three albums with RAK Records. Their initial aim was to spend more time on making good selling albums instead of a continuing stream of hit singles.
MCA used to have its headquarters on 139 Piccadilly, London but it was evacuated in 1998 when MCA was incorporated into Universal Music.

EMI Records

In 1897, two American businessmen, William Barry Owen and Frank Dorian moved to Europe to create a market for recorded sounds. Owen came to London where he started the Gramophone Company, and Dorian went to Paris to start the Columbia Phonograph Company. Both relied entirely on American suppliers for records and machines to play them. Since the American music did not appeal to the European audience, Owen was joined in London by Fred Gaisberg, a sound engineer, to create the first European disc recording studio in 1898.
By the time the First World War broke out in August 1914, around one third of the British households owned some kind of gramophone. Each year some 13 million records were sold.
By 1930, the two companies were forced to merge due to the great depression. The formed a single business called Electric and Musical Industries Ltd (EMI).

EMI Records started out in a difficult time of depression but they still managed to make important popular and classical records, thanks to recordings by contemporary idols like Gracie Fields, George Formby and Ray Noble and the New Mayfair Orchestra.
During the Second World War, EMI kept making records, and by the time the war ended in 1945, there was a massive demand for records of the Glenn Miller Orchestra and Frank Sinatra.
1957 saw the beginning of Rock and Roll, which at the time seemed to be a strictly American form of music. EMI soon created the basis of the 1960’s revolution in British rock and pop music by contracting such artists as Adam Faith, Helen Shapiro and Cliff Richard. In the 60’s EMI was of course the record company that contracted the Beatles, the most popular group in pop music ever. In the mid-60’s, EMI created the label Harvest to house the so- called ‘progressive’ or ‘underground’ musicians like Deep Purple and its most celebrated group Pink Floyd. Of the many British rock groups signed to EMI during the 1970s, Queen was the most flamboyant. They became most famous for their epic “Bohemian Rhapsody”, but fronted by Freddie Mercury, one of the truly great men in pop music, the group scored many platinum albums around the world.

In 1983, EMI acquired the back catalogue of RAK Records, and as such the repertoire of Kim Wilde up until then. Since then, EMI has released a string of Kim Wilde compilation albums. In 1997, EMI celebrated the fact that they existed 100 years with a lot of special releases on LP and CD. One of these special releases was the Centenary Collection, a 20 track CD with Kim Wilde tracks.

In 2001, Kim Wilde returned to EMI Records for a compilation album, released in conjunction with the Here & Now Tour 2001, entitled The Very Best of Kim Wilde. It contained one new track, Loved. Late 2005, Kim signed a new record contract with EMI Germany for the release of Never Say Never and associated singles in 2006 and 2007.

After the announcement that EMI had sustained a loss of £260 million in 2006/2007, EMI was acquired by Terra Firma Capital Partners in August 2007 which purchased it for £4.2 billion. Following the transition, several important artists including Radiohead walked away from the label, while other artists such as Paul McCartney had seen the writing on the wall and left ahead of the takeover.
In February 2010, EMI Group reported pre-tax losses of £1.75 billion for the year ended March 2009, including write-downs on the value of its music catalogue. In addition, KPMG issued a going concern warning on the holding company’s accounts regarding an ability to remain solvent.
Citigroup (which held $4 billion in debt) took 100% ownership of EMI Group from Terra Firma Capital Partners on 1 February 2011, writing off £2.2 billion of debt and reducing EMI’s debt load by 65%. The group was put up for sale and final bids were due by 5 October 2011. A month later, it was announced that EMI has sold its recorded music operations to Universal Music Group for £1.2 billion and its music publishing operations to a Sony-led consortium for $2.2 billion. A year later, the sale of EMI to Universal was approved in both Europe and the United States. In Europe the deal was approved under the condition that the merged company would divest itself of one third of its total operations to other companies. As a result, the labels V2, Parlophone, Sanctuary, Chrysalis, Mute, EMI Classics and Virgin Classics were divested, with the exception of the Beatles’ library (Parlophone) and Robbie Williams’ Chrysalis recordings.

Universal Music will continue to operate EMI entities it is retaining using the EMI name and has formed Virgin EMI Records as a UMG label unit in the UK. Warner Music incorporated EMI Classics and Virgin Classics into its Warner Classics unit with the EMI Classics artist roster and catalogue absorbed into the Warner Classics label and the Virgin Classics artist roster and catalogue absorbed into the revived Erato Records label.

Edel Music

Edel Music was founded in 1986 by Michael Haentjes in Germany as a mail order record company selling mostly soundtracks. With artists such as Scooter, Holly Johnson and many others, it became very successful as a pop music label. Edel went to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 1998.

Over the years Edel purchased Eagle Rock Records, Facedown Records, Gang Go Music, Club Tools, Control Records and the Belgian label Play It Again Sam.

Edel’s main office is based in Hamburg, but the edel network extends the label presence all over Europe with affiliates offices and labels and in the rest of the world with a strong network of distributors, Edel is in fact still present in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, and France.

In 2002, Kim released Born To Be Wild on the Edel Music label. It was the only release with Edel; they parted ways only a few months later. When Kim started her own Wildeflower label in 2013, Edel distributed her albums in Europe.


Disky was an EMI Records subsidiary label. It was based in Hoorn, the Netherlands, and specialized in releasing low-budget compilation albums for ‘impulse buyers’. Several Kim Wilde compilation albums were released on the Disky label.

In 1996, they started with The best of Kim Wilde. In 1998, Disky released More of the Best, Original Gold and Collection.In 1999, they re-released The Best of Kim Wilde and the new compilation Best of the 80’s. In 2005, two re-packagings of The Best of Kim Wilde were released by Disky: Ultra Selection and Kim Wilde.

Disky continued to release low-budget compilation albums on CD until 2014. It was subsequently acquired by Hermans Group and now specializes in online entertainment.

Cherry Pop

The Cherry Pop label is owned by Cherry Red Records. It is dedicated to re-releasing interesting pop albums originally released in the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s.

In 2009, they released Kim’s first three albums (Kim Wilde, Select and Catch as Catch Can) with additional bonus tracks and new liner notes.

In 2010, they released special double cd’s of Teases & Dares and Another Step, including all of the B-sides and remixes associated with those albums.

In 2017, Cherry Red acquired the rights of Kim’s entire output for RAK Records. Expanded 2CD+DVD releases of the albums Kim Wilde, Select and Catch as Catch Can were released in January 2020, featuring new remixes, demo tracks and music videos.