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The first comprehensive account of the iconic record label.

Music journalist Martin Aston explores the fascinating story behind the record label’s menagerie of artists and staff, drawing on over a hundred interviews from his unique access to all the key players, including 4AD’s notoriously reclusive founder, Ivo Watts-Russell.

With a cover designed by Vaughan Oliver, this is an essential book for all 4AD fans.

'4AD get the lavish label history they deserve' MOJO

'Aston has impressive access to some of rock's most reclusive figures' Q

'Martin Aston's 600-page chronicle is a suitable extravagant enterprise' GUARDIAN

Standard Edition

  • Six hundred pages detailing the history of the record label
  • Sixteen pages of full-colour photos
  • Cover design by Vaughan Oliver
  • Available now.

Limited Edition

  • The original book split into two volumes: one for the 1980s, one for the 1990s and beyond
  • Housed in a beautiful slipcase, all packaging designed by Vaughan Oliver
  • A further volume containing 2 CDs: a 42-track retrospective of the 4AD label
  • Each copy signed by author Martin Aston and designer Vaughan Oliver
  • A numbered strictly limited edition of 1,000 copies.


Volume One: 1980-1989

1 Hu Dif Juz
2 Zoo Music Girl The Birthday Party
3 Hate My Way Throwing Muses
4 Rema-Rema Rema-Rema
5 Anomymity Dance Chapter
6 Time Again for the Golden Sunset Matt Johnson
7 Dark Entries Bauhaus
8 No Human Can Drown Clan of Xymox
9 Barge Calm B.C.Gilbert and G.Lewis
10 Sado-Masochism is a Must A.R.Kane
11 Musette and Drums Cocteau Twins
12 Schopska Pesen (Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares) Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir
13 L'Esclave Endormi Richenel
14 Gathering Dust Modern English
15 Mercy Seat Ultra Vivid Scene
16 Die Laughing In Camera
17 Tony's Theme Pixies
18 Baby I Love You So Colourbox
19 Geheimnis Xmal Deutschland
20 In Power we Entrust the Love Advocated Dead Can Dance
21 These Waves Pieter Nooten and Michael Brook
22 Song to the Siren This Mortal Coil

Volume Two: 1990-1999

No.Track NameArtist
1 Game of Broken Hearts Tarnation
2 Laura Lush
3 Blue Mug GusGus
4 As We Could Ever His Name is Alive
5 Me and My Charms Kristin Hersh
6 Make Out Club Unrest
7 Honey Tree The Wolfgang Press
8 Mysteries of the Unexplained Tanya Donelly
9 The Vanishing Spies Frank Black
10 Slow Breakdown Michael Brook
11 Coco Crush Starry Smooth Hound
12 Dagger The Hope Blister
13 Only Human Heidi Berry
14 Mercy Mojave 3
15 New Year The Breeders
16 Hair Shoes Pale Saints
17 Road, River & Rail Cocteau Twins
18 Take Me Out Red House Painters
19 Sanvean (I am your shadow) Lisa Gerrard
20 The Darkest Night of All Lisa Germano