Founded in 1975, Riva was one of the labels which were owned by Rod
Stewart's manager Billy Gaff, GM (q.v.) being the biggest of
the others. According to Billboard of the 16th of August 1975
the new label was supposed to be called 'Tartan Records'; the design of the
label would certainly have suited that name. There was however
already a record company called Tartan - there's a page for it on this
site - and its existence may have led to the change of plan.
Stewart was the label's star; he left in 1982, after numerous Chart albums and
singles. In the wake of his departure John Cougar Mellencamp took
Riva into the Charts on a few occasions - he was particularly popular in Canada
- but despite this it looks as though the company struggled; it doesn't appear
to have lasted past 1986. Distribution was by WEA, and pressing was
done by or through that same company - WEA's pressing was done by CBS for much
of the decade, until the company obtained its own manufacturing
facilities. The label design remained basically the same throughout
the '70s, though there were minor changes such as the disappearance of
the hollow 'A' on the left side of the label in 1979 (2) - the example shown is
a re-pressing. Some popular singles had injection-moulded labels (3),
which were the result of contract pressings by Phonodisc. Contract
pressing was also done by other firms, such as Decca (4) - Riva singles tended
to have solid centres, so it is worth checking the matrix numbers of any
perforated ones to see if they are 'outsiders'. The discography below only
covers the 1970s.
Copyright 2006 Robert Lyons.