Harrison Estate and Dark Horse Sign Further Publishing and Album Release Deals with BMG

You might recall that back in 2020 the mega music distributor and publisher BMG announced that it had formed a multi-faceted, worldwide distribution partnership with Dark Horse Records, the George Harrison-founded record label now led by his son, Dhani Harrison.

Well, there have been some developments.

Last week there was a rather intriguing press release from BMG announcing that they’ve now secured the publishing rights to the entire George Harrison song catalogue, including his Beatle, solo, and Traveling Wilbury compositions.

Plus the company has secured the rights to distribute some existing – and additional – interesting legacy artists on the the Dark Horse record label.

Here’s the official 2-page press release. We’ve highlighted those bits that grabbed our attention:

So, while there’ll be new publishing deals being done by BMG/Dark Horse for George Harrison’s compositions, it also looks like we can expect a range of interesting physical releases on the Dark Horse label.

These will include another EP from Billy Idol, and the new studio album from former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench. There’s also likely to be a slew of back-catalogue re-issues from the great Leon Russell.

Interesting times indeed.

See also our articles on the six BMG/Dark Horse Records already released so far: Joe Strummer’s Assembly LP, Billy Idol’s The Roadside EP, the Billy Idol Happy Holidays Christmas album, Ravi Shankar’s Chants of India LP, and Joe Strummer’s two Record Store Day 12″ singles: ‘Junco Partner’ and ‘Johnny Appleseed’.

Dark Horse to Release Billy Idol Christmas LP

Dark Horse Records have struck again – this time with another Billy Idol release.

Just in August the label, now headed by George Harrison’s son Dhani, issued a new four-song EP by Idol called The Roadside.

Now comes a remixed and remastered version of the singer’s 2006 Christmas album, Happy Holidays. It the first time the disc has been on vinyl and streaming platforms.

As the title suggests, Happy Holidays features Idol performing a variety of Christmas classics as well as one new original called ‘On Christmas Day’ as a bonus track.

It’s available on limited edition white vinyl (now sold out):

Happy Holidays is also on standard black vinyl. It comes in a gatefold sleeve and is available now:

And it’s also available on CD:

We think it’s interesting and a little unusual that Dark Horse is taking artists like Billy Idol under their wing and are releasing a mix of new and back-catalogue music like this. Maybe it’s just not what we expected would happen when the revamp of Dark Horse was first announced. What do you think?

Just as an FYI, for Record Store Day Black Friday this year the label will be issuing another 12″ single taken from Assembly, the Joe Strummer ‘Best Of’ compilation that Dark Horse released earlier this year. It’ll be on limited edition pink vinyl with ‘Johnny Appleseed’ on the A-side and ‘At the Border, Guy’ as the B-side.

Billy Idol to Join the Dark Horse Records Stable

Billy Idol is set to issue a new four-song EP called The Roadside — and it will be on none other than the newly resurrected Dark Horse Records label.

Produced by Butch Walker (Green Day, Weezer) and featuring Idol’s longtime lead guitarist and co-writer Steve Stevens, the EP will be Idol’s first new release in nearly seven years.

Dhani Harrison, who runs the label with David Zonshine, said in a statement “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Billy Idol to the Dark Horse Records family. Billy is a legend, and his music couldn’t fit the Dark Horse persona any better. I’ve loved his music throughout my whole life, so to be able to give this new music a home on our historic label is a massive honour.”

It’s interesting to read that Idol fits the ‘Dark Horse persona’. When the label was re-launched with a distribution deal with BMG in January last year, Dhani said “Future releases in 2020 will include compilations, live albums, and box sets featuring rare and unreleased recordings from the Dark Horse label, many of which will be available digitally for the first time. From the Indian classical Ragas Of Ravi Shankar to the rock and roll of Attitudes I look forward to reintroducing, to a new audience, all of those artists that my father loved so much. We will also be expanding the Dark Horse family with new artists and classic catalogues in the coming years to include a rich and varied roster of incredible musicians whom we love. Please watch this space!”

So, under those criteria, Billy Idol is a perfect candidate.

For those who like physical formats, the EP is available for pre-order on exclusive blue vinyl from the Billy Idol website – though it is showing as Sold Out already. Hopefully more copies will be pressed. Orders will ship on September 17:

It’s also avaiable on black vinyl:

And on CD:

The lead single from the EP, ‘Bitter Taste’, has been previewed on YouTube. It’s a pretty good track:

Billy Idol joins Joe Strummer and Ravi Shankar as the most recent physical releases on Dark Horse.