King (record company)
- Howard Rye
- , revised by Jonas Westover
American record company. It was formally established in Cincinnati by Syd Nathan in August 1944, though issues began in November the previous year; at first the catalog consisted solely of country music including recordings by Moon Mullican and the Delamore Brothers. “Country boogie,” the precursor to rockabilly, was also regularly recorded by King. A companion race label, Queen, was established in 1945. Recordings by several small groups from Lucky Millinder’s band were among the company’s first releases. Recordings were also acquired from 20th Century and from J. Mayo Williams’s labels Southern and Harlem. Blues artists represented included Lonnie Johnson, Memphis Slim, and Wynonie Harris.
In July 1947 the company began issuing recordings by Earl Bostic on Queen, but discontinued the label the following month. Thereafter King itself became the race label, though Queen’s numerical series was continued and the country series remained separate. In 1948 King acquired De Luxe, which it operated until ...