1985 – Rene & Angela – Secret Rendezvous
Champion founder Mel Medalie originally heard this classic release on Capitol in the US in 1981, and felt it would be a success in the UK.
Champion licensed the single in from EMI and it became the first big success in Champion’s catalogue.
1986 – Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Girls Ain’t Nothin’ But Trouble
Mel & 18 year old A&R assistant Paul Oakenfold found a white label of this in a record store in Philadelphia. Attracted to it by the credit “Produced by Joe The Butcher”, it was licensed by Champion for the UK for the price of a new DJ mixer.
1987 – Salt ‘n’ Pepa – Push It
Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s appearance on Live Aid (with the remix version of Push It – produced by Hurby Luv Bug) in 1985 made them household names. Champion brought them over from the US to perform on hit TV show The Tube and to do a press campaign. They were front cover on NME and Melody Maker, and the song became a Top 5 hit in the UK and Top 5 in the USA Billboard chart. Not bad for a track that was originally a b-side.
1988 – Royal House – Can You Party
In Idler’s Studio in Brooklyn, Mel met a young kid looking for little pieces of tape on the floor. His name was Todd Terry who was a very friendly, happy-go-lucky guy, and he played Mel “Can You Party” which he instantly loved and picked up.
The track became a massive acid house anthem, and Royal House even performed on Top Of The Pops.
1992 – Todd Terry Project – Put Your Hands Together
Todd Terry was in the UK for a gig, and went into a studio in Kensington at 2pm to record Put Your Hands Together. Todd had to catch a plane to Italy at 6am the next day but got started on the record and was kept going by Ricky Morrison who received a mixing credit on the release. The track was put together in around 16 hours.
1992 – Robin S – Show Me Love (Stonebridge Club Mix)
Champion founder Mel had heard the original Show Me Love as a demo, loved it, and really believed it could a smash.
It was Stonebridge’s mix that completely rebuilt the track from the ground up that made it a huge club and commercial success, including a Top 5 placing on the US Billboard Chart.
1992 – Madhouse Records started with Kerri Chandler
Madhouse Records Inc was started as a joint venture between US DJ and producer Kerri Chandler and Champion Records. Mel met Kerri on a trip to the US whilst visiting Todd Terry at Idler’s Studio in Brooklyn.
Madhouse became predominantly an outlet for Kerri’s music, as well as tracks from his producer friends including Dennis Ferrer and Jerome Sydenham.
1993 – Cheeky Records started with Rollo
A&R at the time Johnny Walker heard one of Rollo’s productions on radio, and brought him in for a meeting. He brought with him some tracks he’d made called “Insomnia” and “Salva Mea” that he’d recorded with Maxi Jazz which sounded fantastic.
Cheeky Records was started as a joint venture, predominantly as an output for Rollo’s productions, and later the Faithless project.
1994 – Kristine W – Feel What You Want
Rollo Armstrong and Rob Dougan wrote and produced with Kristine W, an artist that was found singing in the Hilton Club Lounge on the strip in Las Vegas.
She was quite amazing live and Champion brought her to the UK, introduced her to Rollo and Rob D, and Feel What You Want was born, becoming a club anthem.
1996 – Faithless – Reverence
Salva Mea was an original Ibiza club anthem, and swiftly became a pop hit.
Maxi Jazz’s amazing lyrics, personality and unique vocal style (best showcased on Insomnia) were the catalyst for the first Faithless album, released on Cheeky Records.
1996 – Sandy B – Make The World Go Round
Joey Carvello, who ran the Champion office in New York, found the original song Make The World Go Round, and Deep Dish were brought in to do their now iconic mix and production.
1998 – Dido’s “No Angel” album released on Cheeky Records
Produced by Rick Nowels, Rollo & Dido, the No Angel album was quite a large investment for an independent record label, but Dido had done very well as one of the four vocalists in Faithless (alongside Maxi Jazz, Pauline Taylor & Jamie Catto).
The album was mostly made at Swanyard Studios, Islington, North London which has since closed down, and launched the beginning of a successful career for Dido, including such iconic songs as ‘Thank You’ and ‘Here With Me’. The album has since gone on to sell over 30million copies worldwide.
2005 – Champion Classics series launched
In 2005 Champion launched a major reissue series on 12” vinyl, revisiting some of the biggest releases in the catalogue, featuring remasters of the original tracks plus brand new remixes.
The series featured remixes from Diesel (X-Press 2), Lifelike & Kris Menace, Robbie Rivera and more!
2012 – Madtech Records launched
2012 saw the birth of a new label Madtech, an offshoot of Kerri Chandler’s Madhouse imprint. The aim of this label was to focus on the volume of fantastic new house tracks being sent in by up and coming artists, but that didn’t quite fit within the remit of the Madhouse label.
Artists such as Citizen, Lakosa & iO Sounds, Krystal Klear and Voyeur helped shaped the sound of the label, which is now approaching it’s second year.