Sarah Records was a UK independent record label active in Bristol between 1987 and 1995, best known for its recordings of indie pop, which it released mostly on 7" singles. On reaching the catalogue number SARAH 100 the label celebrated its centenary by throwing a party and shutting itself down. In March 2015, NME declared Sarah to be the second greatest indie label of all time.[1]

The label was formed in Bristol in 1987 by Clare Wadd and Matt Haynes and grew out of the fanzine scene at the time, Haynes having previously edited Are You Scared To Get Happy? and Wadd Kvatch.

(Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links To Peel

The Field Mice 'Sensitive 1989

The Field Mice 'Sensitive 1989

#26 in the 1989 Festive Fifty.

Peel gave airtime to numerous releases on the label, from the first single (Sarah 001), 'Pristine Christine' by the Sea Urchins – having earlier played the band on a Kvatch flexidisc – through to the final compilation CD (Sarah 100), 'There And Back Later Lane'.[1] [2] [3] Eight of the 31 artists who released singles on the label had Peel sessions.

John Peel interview with Sarah Records founders Clare Wadd & Matt Haynes

John Peel interview with Sarah Records founders Clare Wadd & Matt Haynes

0n 22 April 1995, the DJ interviewed Matt and Clare of Sarah Records during Sound City Bristol, ahead of the planned release of Sarah 100, still an "exciting secret", later that year:

JP: Does it sort of spur you on, the fact that Sarah Records does get the mickey taken out of it quite a bit and reviews always start off with words like “limp” and “pale”? You've always had that. Does that encourage you to continue, or ignore it, or does it depress you?

Clare: It's wearing a bit thin.

JP: I should have thought it's wearing exceedingly thin!

Matt: It depresses us, because it means we don't sell as many records as we could sell, because people don't take us seriously as a record label because we get this criticism the whole time.

JP: But then also, the other side of that, is that you have this kind of cult following, in a sense, where people would buy anything on Sarah.

Matt: I think we've lost that a bit. Obviously when you start out you have that, any label just starting out.


JP: Well, I hope you keep going. I take heart from your continued activities. I mean, I don't like everything you put out, obviously madness to claim that I did, but at the same time it always encourages me to know that you're throbbing away down here.

After the demise of Sarah, Peel played releases from Shinkansen Recordings, the label subsequently set up by Matt Haynes, whose roster included former Sarah artists and related outfits such as Trembling Blue Stars.


Sarah Records singles artists who did Peel sessions.[2]

Festive Fifty

Sarah Records singles artists who had Festive Fifty entries on the Peel show.[5]

Sarah Records Compilations

(The label's various artist sampler albums were named after places in and around Bristol, and numbered after the buses that went to them.)

Temple cloud square
Fountain island
Battery point
There and back again lane

(LP - Temple Cloud) Sarah 376

(LP - Fountain Island) Sarah 583

(LP - Battery Point) Sarah 359

(CD - There And Back Again Lane) Sarah 100

Shows Mentioned

  • 20 December 1989: JP has received a Christmas card from Clare and Matt of Sarah Records, who are very keen for him not to play That Greg Lake Record over the festive period.
  • 26 December 1989: "I am tempted to say that that's the first Sarah record to get into the Festive Fifty, but I say that without any research whatsoever, and whenever I do say anything as absolute as that, people phone in or write in and say, "You're completely wrong, it's the 17th", or something like that."
  • 23 January 1993: Peel sends out belated birthday greetings to Clare from Sarah Records after playing the Field Mice entry in the "phantom" 1991 Festive Fifty.



  1. "Greatest Indie Labels Of All Time". NME. 7 March 2015.
  2. Talulah Gosh, who evolved into Heavenly, did one Peel session in 1988, which was included in the retrospective compilation album 'They've Scoffed The Lot', released by Sarah in 1991.
  3. Both sessions recorded before the band's only single on Sarah Records, 'Come Get Me' (1988).
  4. Only session predated the formation of Sarah Records in 1987.
  5. Talulah Gosh, who had a retrospective BBC sessions compilation album released by Sarah in 1991, placed #50 in the 1987 Festive Fifty with the self-titled track 'Talulah Gosh'.
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