Vertigo Records is a record company that originated in the United Kingdom. It was a subsidiary of the Philips/Phonogram record label, launched in 1969 to specialise in progressive rock and other non-mainstream musical styles. Today it is operated by Universal Music Germany, and the UK catalogue was folded into Mercury Records, which was absorbed in 2013 by Virgin EMI Records, which was renamed back to EMI Records in June 2020.
Vertigo was the brainchild of Olav Wyper when he was Creative Director at Phonogram. It was launched as a competitor to labels such as Harvest (a prog subsidiary of EMI) and Deram (Decca). It was the home to bands such as Colosseum, Jade Warrior, Affinity, Ben and other bands from 'the "cutting edge" of the early-'70s British prog-folk-post-psych circuit'. The first Vertigo releases came with a black and white spiral label, which was replaced with Roger Dean's spaceship design in 1973. Vertigo later became the European home to various hard rock bands signed to Mercury in North America, such as Bon Jovi, Rush and Kiss.
Vertigo is a division of Republic Records in the United States and operates as EMI Records in the UK, which in turn is a frontline music group operation of Universal Music UK. Island Records manages Vertigo's North American back catalogue that was once distributed by Mercury. In France, Vertigo France existed as a sub-label of Universal Music France's Barclay Records until 2014, when it was renamed as Island France. In Germany, Vertigo has merged with Capitol Records and is mainly used for German rock artists, and is named Vertigo/Capitol (notable contract exception here is Lewis Capaldi, he comes from UK). The label's legacy artists include Metallica (outside the US and Canada), Razorlight, Rush (Europe) and Dire Straits (except the US). More recent signings include The Rapture, The Killers (UK/Ireland), One Night Only, Amy Macdonald, Noisettes and Thee Unstrung between 2004-2005 and Kassidy in 2009. Black Sabbath returned to the label in 2013 (including the US and Canada for the first time via sister label Republic) until their dissolution in 2017 although former sister label Sanctuary Records Group acquired international rights to their back catalogue in the interim (the band were last on Vertigo in 1987).
Vertigo/Capitol (formerly Vertigo Berlin) is today the only active Vertigo label in the Universal Music Group. Artists signed to Vertigo/Capitol are Rammstein, Chvrches, Herbert Grönemeyer, Andreas Bourani, Haim, AnnenMayKantereit, Gzuz, Volbeat or Sportfreunde Stiller. Unheilig's sixth studio album Große Freiheit became one of the most successful albums in Germany of all time and sold 2 million albums. The collaboration album Palmen aus Plastik 2 by the rapper Bonez MC and RAF Camora stayed for 58 weeks at the German charts and was the first album to have 8 songs in the top 10 single charts in the release week. Shirin David's debut album Supersize was the first album by a female hip hop artist to chart at #1. Also international artists like Lana Del Rey, Dua Lipa, Sigrid or Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi launched their careers on Vertigo. Associated Artists