Swan Song Records was a record label launched by the English rock band Led Zeppelin on May 10, 1974. It was overseen by Led Zeppelin's manager Peter Grant and was a vehicle for the band to promote its own products as well as sign artists who found it difficult to win contracts with other major labels. The decision to launch the label came after Led Zeppelin's five year contract with Atlantic Records expired at the end of 1973. Atlantic Records ultimately distributed the label's product.
Artists that released material on the Swan Song label during its existence included Led Zeppelin itself (including later solo releases by band members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant); Bad Company; The Pretty Things; Dave Edmunds; Mirabai; Maggie Bell (and the short-lived band she fronted, Midnight Flyer); Detective; and Sad Café. In addition to these artists, two other noted recording acts (though not signed to the label) were credited artists on Swan Song singles, both of which were UK hits in 1981: B. A. Robertson duetted on with Maggie Bell on the single "Hold On", and The Stray Cats backed Dave Edmunds on his 1981 single "The Race Is On".
Swan Song ceased active operations in 1983, and now exists only to reissue previously released material.
In January 1974 Led Zeppelin negotiated the agreement with Atlantic Records to set up Swan Song Records. The label was launched with parties in New York and Los Angeles. A lavish media party was also held at Chislehurst Caves in Kent, England on October 31, 1974, to celebrate the label's first UK release by the Pretty Things, Silk Torpedo (the first US release for Swan Song was the self-titled debut album from Bad Company in June 1974). The company logo was based on Evening also called The Fall of Day (1869) by painter William Rimmer, featuring a picture of the Greek god Apollo.
By March 1975, Swan Song had four albums (Bad Company, Silk Torpedo, Physical Graffiti, and Suicide Sal) in the Billboard Top 200 chart. The recording label also partly funded film projects such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail in 1975. In an interview he gave in January of that year, Page offered his perspective on the label:
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