Imperial Records is a US Hollywood (Californie) based label started in 1947 by Lew Chudd and reactivated in 2006 by label owner EMI.
Imperial was famous for recordings of Rhythm 'n' blues and early Rock 'n' Roll like Bill Allen, Richie Allen (Dickie Polodor), Sonny Anderson, Charline Arthur, Leon Ashley, Jay Blue, Roy Brown, Burnette Brothers, Dorsey Burnette, Ken CopelandJimmy Craig, Jackie De Shannon, Ronnie Diamond, Fats Domino, Evie & The Five Tech-Niques, Freddie Fender, Ernie Freeman, Johnny Garner, Gene Henslee, Dennis Herrold, Bobby Jay, Johnson Brothers, Al Jones, Merle Kilgore, the Leen Teens, Bobby Lile, Bob Luman, Jimmie Maddin, Chuck Maroni, Richard Moreland, Ricky Nelson, Paris Sisters, Laura Lee Perkins, Johnny Preston, Johnny Rivers, Weldon Rogers, Sammy Salvo, the Scholars, the Sidewinders, Slick Slavin, Ronny Smith (Ronnie Smith), Billy Starr, the Strikes, the Syllables, Jack Tucker, Jesse Lee Turner, Kip Tyler, Nick Venet, Jackie Walker, Slim Whitman, Jimmie Widner, Ron Williams, and Lew Williams. Imperial was licensed to London Records in the UK. In 1960 Lew Chudd bought Aladdin Records. Minit Records was acquired in 1963.
Later in 1963, after Imperial lost Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson to rival labels, Chudd sold the label to Liberty Records. Under Liberty's management, the label enjoyed success from such artists as holdover Irma Thomas as well as Johnny Rivers, Jackie DeShannon, Classics IV and Cher.
During the British Invasion years, Liberty (whose recordings were distributed by EMI in the UK) licensed artists including The Hollies, Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas and The Swinging Blue Jeans from EMI for release on the Imperial label. Recordings by Liberty UK act The Bonzo Dog Band were issued in the USA on the Imperial label.
By 1970 the label became part of Liberty's merger with United Artists, but was phased out shortly thereafter with its artists being transferred to United Artists. EMI now owns the Imperial Records catalogue.