Aquarius Records

Aquarius Records is an independent record label based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Aquarius Records was founded in 1969. The first president was Terry Flood and the other founding owners were Donald Tarlton, Bob Lemm, Dan Lazare and Jack Lazare. Originally the label was distributed by London Records of Canada.

Among the first acts signed to the label was a Halifax band called April Wine, who had also worked with Much Productions. Other Aquarius artists developed by Aquarius during the first decade included Montreal’s Walter Rossi and a rock band from Windsor Ontario called Teaze. While still with London, Aquarius released records by Mashmakhan, Freedom North, Ross Holloway, Roger Doucet, The Rabble and others.

In 1978 Aquarius Records changed distribution to Capitol-EMI and it was early in this association that April Wine began achieving international success. In the 1980s Aquarius signings included Corey Hart, Sass Jordan, Mindstorm, Sword and Myles Goodwyn and the label also released albums by The Stampeders and The Guess Who. In its first twenty years Aquarius sold over 5 million records in Canada and Aquarius artists sold a similar amount in the rest of the world.

In the 1990s some of Aquarius’ efforts were diverted by the launching of a French-language label called Tacca Musique which had success almost immediately with artists like Kevin Parent and France D’Amour. On the English side, Aquarius would release new artists Bif Naked and Serial Joe and also it licensed records by Men Without Hats and Deep Purple. By the end of the 1990s the ownership of Aquarius Records was acquired by Donald Tarlton (Donald K. Donald).

Starting in 2000 Aquarius began expansion through the development of new imprints, including DKD Disques (La Chicane, Danni Bedard) and through joint ventures like Last Gang Records (Metric, Crystal Castles, Mother Mother, Chromeo), Arts & Crafts International (Stars, Amy Millan), Indica Records (Les Trois Accords, Dobacaracol, Priestess), Mensa Music (Adam Gregory), Moving Units (Bless, Platinumberg). The biggest selling new artist on Aquarius was Sum 41, and other artists, including Danko Jones, Jeremy Fisher, Gob and Mark Berube, came to the label. Also during this period, it began a distribution deal with Unidisc Music.