Independent label: Stiff Records was One of the few independent labels from the Punk / New Wave era to grow and flourish, Stiff was set up in 1976 by Jake Riviera, Dave Robinson and Nick Lowe.  It earned itself a place in history by releasing the first Punk single, the Damned's, 'New Rose' (BUY-6; 1976), and brought a breath of fresh air to the music business with its tongue-in-cheek attitude to promotion and publicity.  It was also responsible for introducing Elvis Costello & the Attractions to the world.  Riviera left in 1978, to start the Radar label, and Lowe and Costello went with him. Despite this setback Stiff continued to do well under Robinson's leadership, and it ended that year with a No.1 single, 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick', by Ian Dury & the Blockheads (BUY-38).  Other hits followed: Dury got to No.3 the following year with 'Reasons To Be Cheerful' (BUY-50), a feat matched by Lene Lovitch ('Lucky Number'; BUY-42; 1979) and Jona Lewie ('Stop The Cavalry; BUY-104; 1980).  The most successful of all of Stiff's artists, however, were Madness, who notched up twelve Top 10 singles, including a No.1, 'House Of Fun' (BUY-146) in the period 1979-82.  Despite all this the label hit financial difficulties, and it was sold to Island in 1984.  It enjoyed another brief period of independence in 1986, again under Dave Robinson, but soon closed down. Stiff was responsible for the distribution of its own records at first, but after eight releases it signed a licensing agreement with Island Records in which that company took over responsibility for manufacture, marketing and (alongside EMI) distribution; Stiff retained its own identity and continued to operate its own direct-order mail service.  Pressing of singles was done by EMI, as it was for most other Island singles.  When Island ceased doing any of its own manufacture and distribution and joined EMI's group of licensed labels (in December 1977) Stiff went with it, EMI honouring the agreement that had been signed with Island.  In the autumn of 1979 Stiff moved to CBS for both manufacture and distribution, the label design and catalogue numbers remaining unaffected.  A variety of labels were used in the '70s, starting with the black-and-white one up to BUY-18.  The grey label was short-lived, lasting from BUY-19 to BUY-23, though it also appeared on BUY-41 and LAST-4.  Finally came a more colourful design which saw out the decade: it started out red (BUY-25 to BUY-33), changed to blue (BUY-36 to BUY-39), then yellow (BUY-42 to BUY-52) and finally green (BUY-53 to BUY-61).  There were the occasional exceptions: BUY-40 and BUY-49 were red, and BUYs 30 and 33 can be found with blue labels as well as red ones.  In addition a good number of singles had their own specific label designs.  As well as the BUY-0 singles series there was a short series of EPs, which were numbered in the LAST-0s; every now and again singles were given discrete numbers, such as LEW-1 and HORN-1.  See also 1 Off, Booji Boy, Stiffwick and Ovalstiff.. Thanks to Robert Lyons For The Info.

77 Damned Stretcher Case Baby STIFF DAMNED 1
77 Lowe Nick Bowi [ Ep ] STIFF LAST 1
77 Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias Snuff Rock STIFF  LAST 2
78 Wreckless Eric Excuse Me STIFF  LAST 3
78 Farren Mick & Deviants  All Screwed Up [ Ep ] STIFF  LAST 4
79 Sports Who Listens To The Radio STIFF  LAST 5
77 Ian Dury And The Blockheads / Ian Dury & The Kilburns  Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll STIFF  FREEBIE 1
77 Various Artists Excerpts From Stiff´s Greatest Hits STIFF  FREEB 2
78 Devo Jocko Homo STIFF  DEV 1
78 Subs Gimme Your Heart STIFF/ONE OFF OFF 1
78 Graham Ernie Romeo And The Lonely STIFF/ONE OFF OFF 2
78 Members Solitary Confinement STIFF/ONE OFF OFF 3
78 Devo Satisfaction STIFF  BOY 1
78 Devo Be Stiff STIFF  BOY 2
78 Mickey Jupp With Legend My Typewriter STIFF UPP 1
79 The Rumour Frozen Years STIFF RUM 1
79 The Sports Who Listens To The Radio STIFF AUS 1
79 Lewis Lew Lucky Seven STIFF LEW 1
79 The Dulcet Tones Of Jock Scot A Souvenir To Commemorate The Wedding Of Dave And Rosemary STIFF MAX 1
79 Davey Payne  Saxophone Man STIFF HORN 1

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