Manhattan Records was formed in 1984 by Bruce Lundvall, and was later renamed EMI Manhattan Records after absorbing the EMI America Records imprint. In addition to being a fully functional label in its own right, EMI Manhattan was also used to reissue back catalogue titles from Capitol Records, as well as other EMI labels, such as United Artists Records and Liberty Records. It also distributed new albums from Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International Records?during the later half of the 1980s as well, after a 15-year stint with CBS Records. The deal also gave EMI the distribution rights to PIR's back catalog from 1976 onward (CBS, later Sony Music, would retain the rights to PIR's catalog up to 1975).
The primary artist released on EMI Manhattan Records wasb Kenny Rogers. His hugely successful United Artists Records and Liberty albums, including "The Gambler" and "We've Got Tonight" were reissued on CD on EMI Manhattan. The label was also used to reissue singles (at that time, issued on vinyl 45s). Again, the main artist was Rogers. His biggest hits, including "The Gambler," "Lucille," and "Lady" were reissued on singles in the 1980s.
Notable artists signed to EMI Manhattan Records included Richard Marx, Queensr che, Bernard Wright, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Robbie Nevil, Lila Downs, Natalie Cole (her two Manhattan albums would later be reissued by Elektra Records),Anoushka Shankar, Baltimora, and Thomas Dolby. Pet Shop Boys were also distributed in North America on the label, being signed and distributed in the UK by Parlophone. In 1992, EMI Manhattan was dismantled and absorbed into Capitol Records with the catalog bearing the EMI label.
In 2001, the Manhattan label was relaunched (sans the EMI prefix) as a division of EMI Clsssics by veteran record producer Arif Mardin. Richard Marx, one of its flagship artists during the label's heyday, returned to the label upon its revival. In2006, EMI reorganized its adult music operations and put the Manhattan label under the aegis of the Blue Note Label Group.