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Article

Terence J. O’Grady and Bryan Proksch

(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in ...

Article

Bill C. Malone

revised by Barry Mazor

(b nr Luttrell, TN, June 20, 1924, d Nashville, TN, June 30, 2001). American country-music guitarist and recording company executive. Although the first instrument he played professionally was the fiddle, he became internationally famous as a guitarist. Developed while he was in high school, his guitar style was influenced by Merle Travis, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and George Barnes and was characterized by the use of the thumb to establish a rhythm on the lower strings and multiple fingers to play melodic or improvisational passages on the higher strings, sometimes with complex voicings. In the early 1940s Atkins toured with Archie Campbell and Bill Carlisle playing both fiddle and guitar, and appeared with them on WNOX radio in Knoxville. He then toured with the second generation Carter Family as a sideman and in ...

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Benjamin J. Harbert

Publishing company. It was founded in 1953 by Grand Ole Opry manager Jim Denny and performer Webb Pierce. It was one of the original Nashville music publishing companies, competing with Acuff-Rose and Tree. Along with the Grand Ole Opry, these companies contributed to the initial consolidation of the country music industry. Its building was located on 7th Avenue across the street from the studio of Owen Bradley, a legendary local producer. With Bradley and an association with Decca Records, Cedarwood quickly surpassed Acuff-Rose as the premiere Nashville publishing house. Songs published under the Cedarwood name formed the repertoire of the Nashville country music industry; significant recorded works included “The Long Black Veil” by Lefty Frizzell, “So Wrong” by Patsy Cline, “Detroit City” by Bobby Bare, “Daddy Sang Bass” by Johnny Cash, and “The Comeback” by Faron Young. Other notable songwriters whose work was published by Cedarwood include Marijohn Wilkin, Buddy Holly, Danny Dill, Cindy Walker, Ronnie Self, and John D. Loudermilk. In the mid-1960s, Cedarwood began to develop its religious music catalog. Co-founder Denny died in ...

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Roben Jones

(b Whitehaven, TN, April 8, 1931). American singer-songwriter, producer, publisher, and entrepreneur. He began playing bluegrass while in the military and after his discharge in 1952, played at radio stations in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Boston. While enrolled in Memphis State University (from ...

Article

Colpix  

Christopher Doll

Record company. Formed in 1958 by Columbia Pictures, Colpix originally aimed to market soundtracks and spin-off recordings of Columbia’s movies and Screen Gems’ (another Columbia subsidiary) television shows. Colpix’s catalog featured scores by such illustrious film composers as Bernard Herrmann and a young John Williams, although the company’s biggest movie-derived success came in ...

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Dakar  

Andrew Flory

Record label. Active from 1967 to 1976, Dakar specialized in dance music and ballads performed by African American artists. Based in Chicago, Dakar was independently owned and operated by songwriter and producer Carl Davis, who was at the same time vice president of Brunswick Records, which recently had become independent. Between ...

Article

Alyssa Woods

Record label. Death Row Records was formed in 1991 by former football star Marion “Suge” Knight and rapper/producer Dre (Andre Romelle Young) in Los Angeles, California. The label’s first release was Dr. Dre’s The Chronic in 1992, a groundbreaking album that paired explicit and often violent lyrics with commercial beats that were based on older soul, funk, and R&B songs. The musical style of ...

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David Sanjek

(b Buffalo Valley, TN, Feb 28, 1911; d Nashville, TN, Aug 27, 1963). American country music agent, publisher, and Grand Ole Opry manager. One of the most influential and powerful figures in the country music business, Jim Denny followed the path of the classic American success story. He left his home in Buffalo Valley, Tennessee, at age 16 with purportedly no more than 40 cents in his pocket. He moved to Nashville and joined the mailroom staff at WSM radio (home of the ...

Article

Ryan R. McNutt

(b Westerly, RI, Sept 26, 1973). American songwriter and record producer. One of the most sought-after collaborators for popular singers in the 2000s, he helped reshape the sound of radio pop for the MP3 age. His hits include Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U been Gone,” Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” and Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok.” As of ...

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Joe C. Clark

Record company founded by Houston-based African American entrepreneur Don Robey in 1949. It focused primarily on rhythm-and-blues and gospel music. Robey’s initial label, Peacock Records, was created to record bluesman Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. The label also recorded Big Mama Thornton’s rendition of “Hound Dog,” which was later covered and made famous by Elvis Presley. Gospel artists including the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the Bells of Joy joined the label and provided much of its success during the early 1950s....

Article

Epic  

Christopher Doll

Record company. It was established by CBS in 1953 as a subsidiary of Columbia Records. Although from the start its issues included jazz and pop, Epic for many years was known primarily for its recordings of George Szell conducting the Cleveland Orchestra (including those made with a young Leon Fleisher as piano soloist). In the latter part of the 1950s, as rock and roll began to overtake the industry, the company struggled to find itself artistically and commercially, accumulating an odd assortment of American, Australian, and European performers representing a wide array of classical, jazz, and popular styles....

Article

Excello  

Joe C. Clark

Record company. Excello was founded in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1952 by Ernie Young, owner of a chain of jukeboxes and record stores. The label was a subsidiary of Young’s Nashboro Records, established a year earlier, which focused on gospel music. Excello initially featured some R&B and hillbilly music but was primarily a blues label. Notable artists included Arthur Gunter, Ted Garrett, Earl Gaines, Roscoe Shelton, the Crescendos, the Gladiolas, and the Marigolds....

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David Sanjek

(b Lundale, WV, July 26, 1922). American record label executive. Over the course of more than 50 years, Jim Foglesong has played an influential role in the administration of country music. He initially aimed to be a vocalist, performing on a local radio station as a teenager and receiving a degree as a vocal major from the Eastman School of Music in ...

Article

Darlene Graves and Michael Graves

(b Alexandria, IN, March 28, 1936). American gospel songwriter, performer, producer, and publisher. He grew up on a small farm in Indiana and graduated from Anderson College with a major in English and a minor in music. He went on to receive a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and met his future wife and song-producing partner, Gloria Sickal, while both were teaching high school. Gaither started singing gospel music as a child and in ...

Article

Charles K. Wolfe and Diane Pecknold

(b Lizard Lick, nr Knightdale, NC, Aug 22, 1914; d Falls Church, VA, Dec 4, 1989). American country music radio announcer, station owner, television producer, and concert promoter. He studied agriculture at North Carolina State University (BS 1935) and then joined the US Department of Agriculture. From ...

Article

Jonas Westover

(b United States). American new Age pianist and producer. He played jazz trumpet and guitar during the 1960s in New York, and has credited John Coltrane as an early influence. He became interested in sonic healing and Eastern religions, both of which became fundamental to the transformation of his musical style. After undergoing a spiritual awakening in ...

Article

(b Camden, NJ, April 8, 1942). American songwriter and producer who teamed with Kenneth Gamble starting in the 1960s; see Gamble and huff .

Article

I.R.S  

Thane Tierney

Record company. It was originally established in the United States in 1979 by music entrepreneur Miles Copland as an outgrowth of his Faulty Products/Illegal Records company in the United Kingdom. After having negotiated a contract for the rock band the Police with A&M Records, Copland and A&M reached a distribution and production deal for the International Record Syndicate (a/k/a I.R.S.), for which he named 21-year-old Jay Boberg to oversee American operations. I.R.S. not only reissued Illegal releases originally distributed in the United Kingdom, but also became the umbrella group for a host of labels, including Industrial Records, Spy Records, Deptford Fun City Records, No Speak, the independent label Rough Trade, and others, as well as issuing records under the I.R.S. banner. Notable artists included the Buzzcocks, the Cramps, Oingo Boingo, Renaissance, Wall of Voodoo, the Go-Go’s, and R.E.M....

Article

Ian Brookes

Record label. The company was established by Lew Chudd in 1946 in Los Angeles, where it originally issued records aimed at the local Mexican American market. With the New Orleans bandleader and arranger Dave Bartholomew as the company’s A&R man, Chudd extended Imperial’s reach into the emergent rhythm and blues market. Their first major signing was the New Orleans pianist and singer Fats Domino. Between ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

Record company and label. The company was founded in New York in 1976 by Irv (Irving) Kratka. A subsidiary of the MMO (Music Minus One) Music Group, Inc., it owned three labels, two of which were devoted to jazz. These were Classic Jazz (which should not be confused with the Swedish label Classic Jazz Masters) and Inner City. Although the company was concerned largely with reissuing material first made available by other companies in the USA, Japan (East Wind), and Europe (principally Enja), it also put out new recordings in early swing and bop styles on Classic Jazz and material ranging in style from bop to free jazz and jazz-rock. The company later became enmeshed in a legal dispute which ended its activities. Inner City should not be confused with a pop music label of the same name which was established in the late 1980s. (M. Segell: “Once More, Jazz is Big Business,” ...