In 1980, after having had a deal for his first production, D'Llegance, on RSO Records, Rick Gianatos sought a distribution alliance for his own label. Tom DePierro, who Rick had met when Tom was doing dance promotion for Motown, had departed Motown and started his own label, Airwave Records. The two felt like they were on the same page musically, loving classic R&B and Disco music. Tom had a buzz going with Delia Rene's single and 12", "You're Gonna Want Me Back," as well as releases by other R&B flavored artists such as Carl Bean.
They struck a deal. Tom told Rick he should think of a name that starts at the beginning of the alphabet like Airwave, so that the label would come up at the top of the distributors' catalogue. Rick was a great fan of the movie Forbidden Planet and decided to go with the name of the star referenced in the movie, Altair 4. Altair Records was born.
The first release, "Chanson D'Llegance" came out prior to the label logo being created. Instead, it was on Airwave with a printed referenced to Altair on the right side. The label logo was created, and debuted on Scherrie Payne's release, "I'm Not in Love." It was immediately followed by Love Twins, "Miami Heatwave," Both singles went into heavy rotation on KUTE 102, the west coast counterpart to WBLS. Alas, Airwave owed the pressing plant money, and this heavy rotation was wasted because there was no product in the stores.
Rick was very unhappy with this and negotiated his way out of the deal by giving Tom one more Scherrie single, "Chasing Me Into Somebody Else's Arms," which never saw the light of day because Airwave was broke.
Rick next turned to Megatone for distribution, which began with Scherrie's next single, "One Night Only," the hit song from Dreamgirls, the Broadway show. The independent distribution for Megatone was giving them problems and when it came time to advance Rick the funds for the follow-up single, "Hope," they came up short.
Rick turned next to local Los Angeles independent label, Nightwave Records, which was hot with "Dancing in my Sleep." They had several successful releases, including Abby, "Take My Heart," Jayne Edwards, "Rhythm of Your Lives," and an all-star Supreme fest, led by John Kydd, "Up the Ladder to the Roof."
Altair went on hold after that as Rick worked extensively on the MotorCity Reunion recordings with Ian Levine, his long-time colleague. When those sessions ended, the label came back to life with Supreme Voices, the CD that brought together Scherrie, Lynda and Sundray [after Jean decided to depart from the group] in 1994 [finished in the midst of aftershocks from the Northridge Earthquake].
After a hiatus from the record industry, Rick came back in 2006 with RGP Music Group and the Altair Label along with Nu & Improved Records. He reissued a CD single of Scherrie's One Night Only on Altair and has continued forward with new releases on Altair under the corporate name RGP Entertainment Group, Inc.
Vincent, Gilstrap & Vincent