Bristol Archive Records Blog

Simon Edwards – Heartbeat Records and Riot City Records

We’ve come across two fantastic videos on Cherry Red TV featuring Bristols music guru who started releasing records in BRISTOL from 1978 – the legend that is Simon Edwards.

Heres the links….


Set up in 1978, to provide a platform for music from the Bristol (UK) area to reach a wider audience. Initially run as a partnership between Tony Dodd (Tony’s Records, & ace guitar man) and Simon Edwards (local musician & manager), though after the first release Tony decided to concentrate on the shop & Heartbeat became a one man operation. A number of singles & albums were subsequently released around the label flagship “Avon Calling” – The Bristol Compilation LP, which went on to bring Bristol music much deserved critical acclaim & thanks to John Peel a good deal of national airplay. After a period of inactivity between 1984 – 1996, while other projects were persued, the label was reactivated on an international footing with the release of an album by American 60′s psych legends The Electric Prunes.


Bristol’s premier punk band Vice Squad came up with the idea of releasing their records, and those of other punk bands on a dedicated label, amid discussions with Heartbeat Records on the prospective release of their first EP back in 1980. The current marketing agreement set up between Heartbeat and Cherry Red Records had begun to wobble, and after introducing the Vice Squad demo tape as a possible next release – it was turned down flat as “unsuitable music for the partnership to get involved in” – leaving Heartbeat with final decision, whether to go it alone or turn down the band.

Having always been given total control over the label’s output, and as yet not been completely wrong in the selection of artists to record, it was obvious to me that Vice Squad were developing as a band, with a big following, and therefor surely worth being given a chance to prove themselves – after all, that had always been the criteria behind Heartbeat.

We will have more coverage on Heartbeat Records in the coming months.  

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