Holyground Records - one of the most collectable labels in the world

claims to fame

England's First Independent Record Label Number One in Italy! Our Logo in International Times Bill Nelson

Our claim to be the first English independent label rests on the definition of 'independent'. Holyground in the 60's and 70's had no ties with any organisation whatsoever. We pressed our own LPs, distributed them ourselves, and even sold the majority directly to our customers. No-one else released our music. From ideas to music, pressing to record player it was only us! As we were far from good at business this meant we didn't sell many records, but it does explain why they became so valuable and collected. Only small numbers were made, and releatovely few escaped into the wide world.

We even tried some promotion. Dave and I went to London, where the discs are made with gold, and met DJ Pete Drummond. For the life of him he could not understand why we chose to do it this way! We were supposed to meet John Peel, but he got his dates mixed up - we did speak to him though. John understood.


In 1989, The Italian Rock Magazine, Rockerilla, published a chart for the whole year showing the choice of all their readers and staff. Holyground had the number one re-issue that year : Astral Navigations. We also chalked up a number five place in the originals section with Gygafo's Legend Of The Kingfisher. This was recorded in 1973, but not issued publically till 1989.

Rockerilla's front cover, January 1990. Rockerilla's chart Note holyground sticker art! Close up of the chart page from Rockerilla.

There were rumours around this time that the album (vinyl LP) had been bootlegged in Italy - maybe this explains its wide acceptance? We'd love to know if it was bootlegged, and be even more pleased to get a copy.


Opening our favourite national Underground newspaper on we were surprised and flattered to see the letters page adorned with our logo, lovingly stolen from Astral Navigation's cover!

Our logo in IT
IT newspaper cover for August 12 to 26 1971
IT newspaper letters page with our logo


Bill Nelson made his recording debut at Holyground. He first recorded with Global Village in September 1968, making an EP from which Mike had 5 acetates cut. These tracks start our compilation of all Bill's early work, the Electrotype CD. His first actual release was on our A - Austr LP recorded on 19th December, 1968, and released in 1971. Bill played a small part - an Hawaiian guitar on the short track Hawaiian War Chant. He also played some acoustic guitar on the album, but memories are hazy. He could have played on the hippy anthem It's Alright, or on What Did You Go?. Anyone's guess really!

Bill also turned up at the photoshoot for the album, famously holding his guitar aloft in one picture. None of the photos with him in made it to the album though!

Bill Nelson
Cass Yard photo shoot for A - Austr LP, 1970
close up of Bill Nelson at rear, 1971