Lew Chudd founded the Imperial label in 1945. With an early focus on folk and Mexican music in the Los Angeles area, Chudd joined other independent label owners trying to reach new demographics in the 1940s. Working with Manuel Acuña to identify talent, Imperial released records by prominent Mexican Angelenos, among them Los Madrugadores, Hermanas Padilla, and Hermanas Mosqueda. In the late 1940s, Imperial also began recording Trio Imperial featuring Lalo Guerrero, a guitarist, singer, and prolific composer who wrote over 60 songs and recorded over 170 songs for the label.

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