A long-lived and successful label, dedicated mainly to
Irish music. Ritz was founded by Roberto Danova in 1977 as a
production company, its products appearing on other labels. The
actual Ritz label seems to have first seen the light of day in 1979, the debut
single being the one shown above, 'Heaven' by Nancy Nova (RITZ-1). 'Music
Master' gives March 1980 as the date of issue, which would put the record and
the label beyond the scope of this site, but as the back of the sleeve has
'1979' on it and Nancy Nova's website
also gives 1979 I'm prepared to go
with that. The first six releases were numbered in a RITZ-0
series and most were non-Irish, the exception being the 1981 Irish
Eurovision entry by Sheeba, 'Horoscopes' (RITZ-6; 3/81). There then appears to have been
some kind of upheaval. The next single, 'It's You, It's You, It's You' by
Joe Dolan (RITZ-001; 10/81) came out some seven months after the Sheeba
record. The label design and the company's address - at 24 Bruton St., Mayfair
- remained the same, but numbering changed to the RITZ-000s, starting
again at RITZ-001, and the focus changed to Irish music. Roberto Danova started
the Plaza label in early 1982, while many sources on the net
credit Mick Clerkin (previously of Release Records, q.v.) with starting the Ritz label.
It may perhaps be that, when Danova turned his attention to Plaza, Clerkin took the
helm of the company and set it off in its new direction. It proved
to be a successful direction, as hits from the likes of Foster & Allen
and The Fureys & Davey Arthur soon demonstrated.
Copyright 2013 Robert Lyons.