What is a first and second label anyway? There were so many record labels in the 1950's and 1960's, and most of them were fairly small. The ultimate dream for a small businessman was to record a group, drop it off at the local radio station and have a million selling record. Not to mention a cash windfall so they could finance their next hit. It didn't always turn out that way. And the procedure tended to differ quite a bit from the theory. They could record the group, hopefully on decent equipment, which might include a state-of-the-art one track recorder. Then they needed to create the label name and artwork, and press up some vinyl. From there, get it to the radio stations, accompanied by small piles of cash. Then, if the record hit big, they had an obvious problem, that was not so obvious when they started. How do they get massive quantities of records pressed with little or no cash, and how do you get them to the record stores and other radio stations across the country? Enter the big labels. They had the means to afford to press the singles, and a record distribution network in place, not to mention the contacts needed to make it all happen. This page has mostly hit records that started out on a small record label with a big dream, then went on to a big label, with a big budget, and services rendered at a cost to that big dream. See my companion page with records that were generally not as popular HERE.
Big Bopper -  D
Big Bopper -  Mercury
A huge million selling record by Jiles Perry (J.P.) Richardson, otherwise know by the record buying public as The Big Bopper. Tragically, he was killed in the same February 3rd, 1959 plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly and Richie Valens. Richardson was a Texas DJ on KTRM in Beaumont and was wild and funny, which came across in many of his recordings. Chantilly Lace was originally recorded for Pappy Dailey's "D" record label. Dailey was a promotion director for Mercury and Starday records. Once the record took off, they switched it over to Mercury where the distribution and label name recognition catapulted it into the top ten of Billboard's pop charts, where it spent 25 weeks.
Duals - Stick Shift Star Revue
Duals - Stick Shift Sue
Back in the 1950's and early 1960's, it was actually common for instrumentals to be hits. And the types of instrumentals covered a wide range of music. From Los Angeles, Henry Bellinger and Johnny Lageman made up the Duals. They cut this record originally for the tiny Star Revue label in 1961. The record first appeared at the southern California iconic record store Wallichs Music City (Hollywood branch), they had their first exposure to record buyers. Then, thanks to some promotional help from Sonny Bono and distribution from Sue records, , the disc took off. It peaked at number 25 on the Billboard charts, lasting 11 weeks in 1961. There was also an album produced from this one big hit.
Quin-Tones - Red Top
Quin-Tones - Hunt
The Quintones were from York, PA and attended William Penn High School. Originally known as the Quinteros, they formed in 1957. Their first release was actually on Chess records called Ding Dong. The second release was on Marvin "Red Top" Schwartz's Red Top records out of Philadelphia. Red Top was responsible for a bunch of vocal group sides including the Philadelphia based students, Gainors, Ivy Tones and more. Oddly enough, the first pressings of the early Red Top label were light blue. Red Top attempted to lease their records to bigger labels, and they did just that with "Down The Isle Of Love." Hunt was a bigger label and had a wider regional distribution plan and capabilities at the time, thanks to their deal with ABC Paramount. The record went on to reportedly sell nearly a million copies.
Dandleers - AMP-3
Danleers - Mercury
Jimmy Weston and the Danleers had one huge hit with "One Summer Night." They also released a bunch of quality follow-ups, but they didn't have nearly the impact on record buyers. The group was based in Brooklyn, NY and their first record is featured above. The original pressings had the group listed as the "Dandleers", and it was released on the Amp 3 label. Amp 3 had a deal with Mercury and anything that appeared promising was leased or sold to Mercury for national distribution. Not to be confused with the Danderliers of Chicago, they changed the name to the Danleers, and continued to press records on Amp 3. In fact, some copies exist with the Danleers on one side and the Dandleers on the other. Soon after, they switched to Mercury and enjoyed great success as a one hit wonder.
Silhouettes - Junior
Silhouettes - Ember
The silhouettes had a monster record in 1958. They appeared on Dick Clark's Bandstand, had tons of appearances and shows to their credit, but couldn't follow it up with another major hit. Generally speaking, the group was from Philadelphia, and started out as Gospel Tornadoes, then the Thunderbirds, and finally the Silhouettes on most of the rest of their releases. Originally released on Junior, the flip "I'm So Lonely" got the turntable action locally. The DJ's started flipping it and "Get A Job" was a smash. Number one on pop and R+B charts, it sold a million copies quickly. The record was picked up by Ember and distributed nationally. The Junior label release shown is the original. Later brown pressings showed the Junior record company address, and third pressings were blue.
Jill And Ray - Le Cam
Paul And Paula - Philips
So which is it, Paul and Paula or Jill and Ray? If you answered both, you are fairly correct. This is the first of five pop Billboard chart hits the duo had in 1962 and 1963. Ray Hildebrand and Jill Jackson were from Texas, and happened to be at the Le Cam recording studio, which was the basement of Texas radio station KFJZ. Seems a recording session for Amos Milburn Jr. was supposed to take place, but he never showed up. Since they were there, label partner Major Bill Smith decided to give them a listen. He had nothing to lose. They recorded the song "Hey Paula", and it was issued on Le Cam. The label had great success the previous year with Bruce Channel's Hey Baby, so they had proven results. "Hey Paula" started taking off in Atlanta, and Mercury records decided to pick it up for distribution. Having a record called Hey Paula by Jill and Ray is a bit odd, so Mercury changed their recording name to Paul and Paula. A huge hit it was, and several others followed.
Falcons - Flick
Falcons - Unart
The Falcons certainly had a rich history. The group out of the Detroit area formed in 1955, and started out with two lead singers, Eddie Floyd and Joe Stubbs. Their first big hit was the 1959 recording of "You're So Fine" originally released as Flick 001.The record took off like a rocket, and was leased to Unart for national distribution. Shown is the second of two addresses that were used on the label. The first was 18424 Gallagher in Detroit. In 1960, Joe Stubbs was replaced by another legend, Wilson Pickett. An all star group to be sure.
Larry Hall - Ever Green
Larry Hall - Hot Promo
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Larry Hall was a one hit wonder. His first recording of Sandy was on the Ever Green label. Shown above, it has a sticker on both sides that says" "Notice Not For Sale. Discontinued on Ever Green Only Available On Hot. I had seen it before but was now just able to read what the sticker said. There was also a sleeve that was issued, of sorts. I did see another Ever Green label that was operating in 1958, so they may have been threatened by the "original" Ever Green. The second issue was then on the Hot label, and the promotional issue of Hot is shown above. And, there was another Hot label too! Freddy Cannon in his early group the Spindrifts were on it, again in 1958, so they were two for two trying to issue records on labels names that were already taken.
Larry Hall - Hot Stock
Larry Hall - Strand
Above is the stock issue of the Hot label record. It has some information placement differences from the promo, and has a little different feel. Larry Hall then landed on the already established Strand label, and was the first big hit for the label. It was the third and most common release for the record. It was a top 20 record in 1959, but he was unable to follow it up with another smash.
Royal Teens - Power
Royal Teens - ABC
Some people call it an instrumental, but purists say that there is talking and singing on the record, so it doesn't qualify. In either case, it is a great record. The Royal Teens "Short Shorts" originally came out on the Power label out of New York. Issue 215 was flipped with a nice instrumental in it's own right, "Planet Rock." Once sales started to mount, it was leased to ABC Paramount for national distribution, and a subsequent run on the billboard pop charts. Bob Gaudio and Joey Villa were key members of the group.
Megatons - Dodgec
Megatons - Checkers
The Megatons had a huge seller called "Shimmy Shimmy Walk" in 1962. Billy Lee Riley was part of the group, and as all instances on this page, they had an earlier label they started with before their record broke wide open. The original pressing was on Dodge from 1961. Dodge was a label from Ferriday,LA. Notice that Billy Lee Riley wrote the song. The Megatons had just a couple other records to their credit.
Johnnie And Joe - J+S
Johnnie And Joe - Chess
Johnnie and Joe had a huge hit with "Over The Mountain,Cross The Sea." The release above on J+S is the original, and is a promo. Notice "Cross The Sea" instead of "Across." Also, the original has number 1664 on it, and on the Chess issue it's 1654. Even though you can't see it, on the J+S label dead wax, there is a 6 scratched over the 5 in 1664/1654. The record numbers followed an odd pattern, and J+S had several addresses they used record labels. Many of the promo J+S labels of this recording seemed to have the X over the right side of the label. Johnnie and Joe went on to make several records for many labels including Chess, ABC, and more for J+S.
Edsels - Dub Original
Edsels - Dub Boot
Here is a classic from the late 50's, on the charts and in record collecting circles. The Edsels began singing together in 1957, and were from Campbell, Ohio. The group released this record in 1958 on the Arkansas based Dub record label. The song got action in Baltimore, Little Rock, and a few other regions, but failed to really ignite. Notice also that the original title on the original Dub label on the upper left was "Lama Rama Ding Dong. Above on the right, is the boot that I briefly discuss below. Fast forward to 1961, the record was rediscovered and shot up the charts. The label it was re-released on was Twin, a subsidiary of Old Town. The song title was changed and it sold a ton of copies. Not to be outdone, (well actually he was), Dub records owner Foster Johnson decided to re-release the record on Dub again. He was in California, and he used a slightly different take, and his label read Lawndale, California instead of Little Rock, Arkansas. His were basically bootlegs of his own original record.
Fast forward to 1961, "Rama Lama Ding Dong" was rediscovered and shot up the charts. The label it was re-released on was Twin, a subsidiary of Old Town. The song title was changed and it sold a ton of copies. Not to be outdone, (well actually he was), Dub records owner Foster Johnson decided to re-release the record on Dub again. He was in California, and he used a slightly different take, and his label read Lawndale, California instead of Little Rock, Arkansas. His were basically bootlegs of his own original record. In spite of that, it was a number twenty one record on the Billboard charts and stayed around for a total of eleven weeks. The Edsels never did hot the charts again, but they had some great records including "Three Precious Words","What Brought Us Together", and "Shake Shake Sherry."
Danny And The Juniors - Singular
Danny And The Juniors - ABC
The all time classic record by Danny and the Juniors called "At The Hop." The story goes that it was going to be "Do The Bop", but Dick Clark persuaded them to change it, as the Bop was a dying fad. A recording of Do The Bop finally was released in the 1980's when Artie Singer rediscovered it. There were 7,000 copies made up 3,500 with Artie Singer on the label, 3,500 without. Blue labels only, all with the count-in. The record originally came out on Singular of Philadelphia, with the name Artie Singer on the label, as shown. When playing the record, there is a count off of 1-4 at the very beginning of the record. If you heard it on the radio in Philadelphia, before it was leased to ABC, you might have heard the count. The second pressing on Singular did not show Singer, but had the count. Reportedly, the Singular issue without the count-in is a boot, and i still need to verify it.
Bobby Day - Class
Bobby Day - Highland

Bobby Day had a rich involvement with the vocal group scene in Los Angeles, in the 1950's . He was a member of the Hollywood Flames, the Satellites, and others. He also recorded many solo sides as well. His biggest hit was Rockin Robin, originally released on Class records. Lesser known is a second label it was issued on in the 1970's, called Highland. They were best known for having Rosie And The Originals sides and a few other local groups to Los Angeles. Though not much appears to be documented on Highland, they had an 1100 and 2000 series that appeared to be re-released records, especially from the Class label.

Charts - Everlast
Charts - Enjoy
A classic New York based doo wop from 1957, the Charts scored with Deserie. According to legend, they were booed off the stage at the Apollo theatre when they sung Deserie, but they had the last laugh with some excellent record sales. It was also included on many oldies compilations. Originally on Everlast, it was reissued on Bobby Robinson's early 60's "soul" label called Enjoy.
Bruce Channel - Le Cam
Bruce Channel - Smash
Originally from Jacksonville, Texas, Bruce Channel grew up in Grapevine Texas and had one of the major hits of the 1960's. "Hey Baby" was first released on the Le Cam label out of Fort Worth. After sales looked promising, Smash records took it and ran Nationally. Delbert McClinton played the distinct harmonica on the record.
J Frank Wilson - Le Cam
J Frank Wilson - Tamara
Staying in Texas, we have J. Frank Wilson, with "Last Kiss." Recognize either of the labels? You might not. The absolute original release was on the Le Cam label from Fort Worth Texas. I imagine 500 copies or less were pressed up. It was then released on Tamara records, where they issued another 1000 records in 1964. It says distributed by Colonial, but I can't tie it to the Chapel Hill label. There is no connection. Tamara was based out of Philadelphia.
J Frank Wilson - Josie
J Frank Wilson - Le Cam 2
The third and most common label is Josie. All three labels had a slightly unique version of Last Kiss, so there are three different labels with three different versions of the song. A fourth legitimate release on Le Cam is shown, though it's a much later reissue likely dating from the early 1970's. The Cavaliers were not credited on either Le Cam record.
Oscar McLollie - Class
Oscar McLollie - Highland
Oscar McLollie and Jeanette Baker, both had recording histories before they teamed up for their duet "Hey Girl,Hey Boy." Baker had solo efforts and recordings with the Dots. Mclollie had solo releases and issues with a backing group called the Honeyjumpers. Issued on Class first, it was re-released in the mid 70's on the Highland label.
Phil Phillips - Khoury's
Phil Phillips - Mercury
Phil Phillips had a smash record hit in 1959 called "Sea Of Love." Pressed up on the Lake Charles, LA based Khoury's label, it made enough noise very quickly to be picked up by Mercury for national distribution. The Khoury's label released around 35 different records in their history by some great gulf area artists. "Sea Of Love" peaked at number two on the Billboard charts, and stayed on them for eighteen weeks.
Blue Belles - Newtown
Blue Belles - Peak
The Bluebelles featuring Patti Labelle, had a hit in 1962 with "I Sold My Heart To The Junkman....or did they? It was actually the Starlets, with a different group's name on the label, ala Bobby Bare. It was released on Newtown, and also on Peak. The latter had a picture sleeve that was available with the early issues, but was released after Newtown.
Ned Miller - Dot
Ned Miller - Fabor
Detouring into the country western field, Ned Miller had a hit with "From A Jack To A King."...on the second try. Originally released on the powerhouse Dot label, in 1957, the record had an indifferent response. When issued again in 1962 / 1963 on Fabor, it cruised to the number six spot on the billboard top 100, pop charts. On the strength of the hit, an LP was also released on Fabor.
Sonny Knight - Vita
Sonny Knight - Dot
Sonny Knight had a long recording history starting in 1953 with songs like "Dear Wonderful", and the novelty song "But Officer." A huge hit for Sonny Knight was "Confidential" in 1956. Vita records out of Pasadena,California was the first label to press up the vinyl, and Dot was the second. Shown is actually the second press of Dot on the black label. The first Dot label was maroon.
Shields - Tender
Shields - Dot
The Slades had the first version of "You Cheated", but the Shields version outsold it. Originally issued on the Los Angeles based Tender label, it was picked up by Dot for distribution. Second presses of the Tender issue show "Distributed by Dot" near the bottom of the label. Quickly, Dot issued it under their label, pressing the bulk of the records.
Twinkles - Peak
Storey Sisters - Cameo
Here is an example of not only a first and second label, but also a first and second name. The Twinkles, Ann and Lillian Storey, had "Bad Motorcycle" released in the late summer of 1957 on Peak records. Peak was part of Joyce records, which issued some of the Crests first sides. Peak issued just a couple of records, Joyce had several issues. "Bad Motorcycle" was not considered a big hit for Peak, but they leased the master to Cameo and they had a minor hit in early 1958.
Robins - Spark
Robins - Atco
The Robins were a well established group in Los Angeles, starting out as the Four Bluebirds. They recorded for about six years on labels like Recorded In Hollywood, Aladdin, Savoy, RCA, and then Spark starting in 1954. Smokey Joe's Cafe was a huge hit and was their last release on Spark. Atco, a division of Atlantic records, picked it up and cranked out a lot of records. This 1955 release charted on Billboard, and after it's release, the Robins broke into two groups. Half the group remained as the Robins, and the others went on to huge national fame when they formed Coasters.
Mello-Tones - Fascination
From Detroit, the Mello-Tones were the late 50's group that caused the Mello Kings to have to change their name! Rosie Lee was cruising up the charts when the Mello Kings put out "Tonite Tonite", using the same name as this group. They changed their name and had a record that charted quite a bit lower than this Detroit group's hit. Rosie Lee peaked # 24, as compare to # 77 for the Mello Kings. The Mello-Tones disc was picked up by the powerhouse Gee label for national distribution.
Pentagons - Fleet International
Pentagons - Donna
"To Be Loved" blasted onto the charts in 1961. The Pentagons, led by Joe Jones, had the first of two Billboard hits with this smooth ballad. The group from San Bernardino, CA, had Fleet International as their first label, but not for long. By the time you heard it on most radio stations, the Donna label was churning them out by the tens of thousands.
Monotones - Mascot
Monotones - Argo
This was a number five record in March of 1958. The group was from New Jersey and featured Charles Patrick. Mascot was a New York label that was part of Hull records. These were actually pressed up and shipped to various cities, including Seattle where I knew someone that bought it new as a kid. The record distribution was given over to Argo where it was able to be mass produced and it sold over a million. Another record of note on Mascot was the Pastels Been So Long, before it went to Argo at just about the exact same time.
Eternals - Hollywood
Eternals - Musictone
The Eternals made three records in their career, and two had some good airplay. "Rockin In The Jungle" was their first record and it was issued in 1959 on the Hollywood label. There were many variations and colors, but the orange label appears to be the first, and actually came before the promo. Musictone had an early reissue in 1962. Musictone specialized in reissuing some great songs, and had some originals of their own. See my page on the Eternals HERE.
Devotions - Delta
Devotions - Roulette
In February 1964, the Devotions hit the Billboard charts for a total of 10 weeks and peaked at number 38 The first issue for Rip Van Winkle, however, was on the Delta label out of New York City. It was pressed up in 1961. Roulette then issued it, still in 1961 on record number 4406. A stock copy was also pressed, but they did not sell. It came back again in 1964 when it did hit the charts as mentioned above (1964), but the record number used was the next in their current series, 4541 (not shown). The Delta and original Roulette records are shown above.
Voxpoppers - AMP3
Voxpoppers - Mercury
A billboard chart hit in 1958, the oddly named Voxpoppers peaked at number 18 with "Wishing For Your Love." A popish ballad that had that group sound, the Voxpoppers record was originally released on Amp 3 before Mercury sent it out for national distribution. The same scenario played out for the Danleers, also shown in this section.
Joe Jones - Ric
Joe Jones - Roulette
"You Talk Too Much" was a monster for Joe Jones in 1960. It hit the number three position on the national charts, It was apparently released on the New Orleans based Ric label first. They must have pressed up a load of copies as they are pretty easy to find. Roulette has credit for the Billboard entry, and the greater amount of sales. Jones had one follow up that squeaked into Billboards list, his version of California Sun.
Vogues - Blue Star
Vogues - CO And CE
From Turtle Creek, PA, the Vogues had a great harmony sound in the mid to late 1960's. "You're The One" started off their career on the charts, even though they began as and had a release as the Valaires. The first label in this case was Blue Star from Pittsburgh, and then Nationally it was CO And CE, also from Pittsburgh. The Billboard hits continued into the late 1960's for this great sounding group!
Van Dykes - King
Van Dykes - Deluxe
The Van Dykes made a couple of records in their short career. They tried "Bells Are Ringing" for the King label, but had no action. Then they went to the tiny Spring label and recorded "Gift Of Love", still with little to no response. The Los Angeles based Donna label released Gift Of Love again, in 1961, and it barely made the charts. They were on the right track so they tried "Bells Are Ringing" for the second time, and it peaked at number 99, and spent just two weeks on the Billboard pop charts, on the Deluxe label.
Viscounts - Madison
Viscounts - Amy
You can't complain too loud when your record hits those charts twice! First, the Viscounts decided to record the Herbie Fields 1953 hit recording Harlem Nocturne in a slightly different style. It reached position 52 on Billboard in 1959, and allowed them to get another two follow-up records some widespread airplay. Fast forward to 1965, and here comes Harlem Nocturne again, and it charted slightly higher at #39 on the Amy label. It should be noted that Harlem Nocturne was recorded many times before the Fields version, including a fine effort by Johnny Otis in 1945.
Marketts - Union
Marketts - Balboa Blue
The second of three issues the Marketts had for the Los Angeles based Union records was called Balboa Blue. It was also their second hit record. Liberty had 2 LP's for the group along with the three singles, before the Marketts jumped ship to Warner Brothers. Both labels above announce the Surfer's Stomp LP, which makes me think they were released simultaneously.
Casinos - Fraternity
Casinos - Buccaneer
You can still hear "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" on true oldies stations today. Back in 1967, you heard it a lot more as it was on it's way to the #six position on Billboard. It lasted a lucky 13 weeks on the charts and was one of just two hits by this Cincinnati based group to make it big. I always thought the original label was Buccaneer, but that appears to be false. There are other reissues on Buccaneer, including the Turtles, so it is a reissue label. Reminds me a little bit of the Glenville reissues for Jimmy Charles, the penguins, and others.
George Hamilton IV - Colonial
George Hamilton IV - ABC
Colonial was a label from North Carolina that really did very well for itself. This was one of several hit records that started out with Colonial. George Hamilton IV had a great song that was written by Johnny Dee (John Loudermilk) called "A Rose And A Baby Ruth. Hamilton's vocals shot it up the charts and was just one in a string of hit records for him. ABC picked it up and the promo version is shown. Many of the ABC promos are white, but some are like the one shown. Also of note, the previous record by the Casinos, was also written by John Loudermilk.
Rod Bernard - Jim
Rod Bernard - Argo
Rod Bernard and the Twisters created a classic song in 1958 on a classic label called Jin from Ville Platte, LA. "This Should Go On Forever" was burning it up in the gulf area before Argo got hold and helped see it climb to number 20 on Billboard. Argo dropped the Twisters name, but it didn't seem to matter for the dozen weeks it parked on the charts. Bernard had one other hit in 1959 called One More Chance, recorded for Mercury.
Johnny Standley - Magnolia
Johnny Standley - Capitol
Johnny Standley had a monster hit in 1952. It was on the charts for 19 weeks and landed at number one for two of em'. It was a funny record, funny and successful enough for him to make a few more. I can still remember hearing "It's In The Book" on a commercial radio station during a visit to Northern California in the late 60's. It's doubtful you would hear it today, except on community or public radio stations. Originally, it was issued on the Magnolia label from Southern California. Both 45's and 78's were pressed, but the 45 is more common. Capitol picked it up and pressed it in both of those formats as well as an EP. Have you ever heard "Clap Your Hands", Get Out And Vote" or Rock And Roll Must Go"? The latter was only on Magnolia from 1960. Check out this vintage clip on youtube of Johnny Standley.
Deacon Andy Griffith - Colonial
Deacon Andy Griffith - Capitol
"What is was,was Football." A funny monologue from Andy Griffith - Deacon as he was called on the record. It was recorded live at an insurance convention, possibly in 1952. First released on the Colonial label from North Carolina, it began selling quickly - too fast for the small but mighty Colonial outfit, so Capitol got involved and it became a smash. The Capitol issue on the right is actually from a multi record set that Capitol released with a cover. The year of release was 1953.
Virtues - Sure
Virtues - Hunt
Frank Virtuoso and the Virtues had this 1959 recording hit the Billboard top 100. Spending sixteen weeks and peaking at number five, "Guitar Boogie Shuffle" had a great run on the Hunt label. The first label however, was Sure records from Philadelphia. It was one of three 45's they recorded for the label, and another one of them was a minor chart hit in 1962 as "Guitar Boogie Shuffle Twist."
Blue Notes - Val-ue
Blue Notes - Jalynne
"My Hero" by the Blue Notes, may have just blipped on the top 100 charts, but it was a huge hit in several cities including Philadelphia. The first issue is shown above on the Philly based Val-Ue label. It entered the Billboard pop charts in October of 1960, peaked at #78, and only lasted four weeks total. A later issue showed PO Box 2630, and the record with the latter PO box was also pressed on red vinyl.
The second and third pressings are a bit tough to date. They were issued in late 1962 or early 1963 depending on which source you consult. The last record on Red Top before the Blue Notes, was Someday by Donnie Elbert, in 1962. Similarly, Jalynne had it's last recording in 1962 before the Blue Notes. Then, both Red Top and Jalynne issued record number 135, probably simultaneously, as one last gasp for Irving Nathan and Red Schwartz, who actually co-owned both Philadelphia based labels. Val-Ue was also a Philadelphia label.
Blue Notes - Red Top
Dukays - Nat
Dukays - Vee Jay
From Chicago, the Dukays included Gene Chandler when they formed in 1957. He left for the service and returned to the group in 1960. In 1961, Chandler was shown as a single artist on his Vee Jay smash Duke Of Earl - with the uncredited Dukays backing him up. At the same time, Vee Jay acquired the single Nite Owl from Nat, and released it shown as by the Dukays. Gene Chandler was on that record as well. When Duke Of Earl skyrocketed on the charts, Chandler had previously decided to go solo, and continued on with a long string of great records.
Sanford Clark - MCI
Sanford Clark - Dot
The Fool, was a huge hit for Sanford Clark, and got up to number 7 in 1956, spending 21 weeks in total on the Billboard charts. The record started out on a small label based in Phoenix Arizona called MCI records. Once it started selling, Dot records picked it up for national distribution. It came out on the maroon label 78 and 45, then pressed on the black label. The record featured Al Casey on guitar. MCI released around 20 records through 1961, though nothing was as big as "The Fool."
Echoes - SRG
Echoes - Seg-way
Out of Brooklyn, New York, The Echoes cruised onto the Billboard charts with Baby Blue in early 1961. An upbeat song, it reached number 12 on the Billboard charts, and staying on the charts for 12 weeks. It also blew into the top 10 on the R+B charts. The producer was Jack Gold, who worked with several other groups including the G Clefs. It was originally issued on the SRG label. The initials? They stand for Jack Gold's son, Stephen Richard Gold. Gold and his SRG label then leased it to Seg-way and it became a smash hit.
Dick And Dee Dee - Lama
Dick And Dee Dee - Liberty
A huge hit for Dick and DeeDee, "The Mountain's High" was originally released on a label called Lama records out of Hollywood. The flip side "I Want Someone" was test played in the San Francisco market, but it must have been flipped, and once it started selling, they hooked up with Liberty and sold a ton of 45's. It was a big hit then and really stands the test of time today. This was the first of three records issued on Lama by Dick and DeeDee.
Pastels - Mascot
Pastels - Argo
The Pastels were a fine group that included Big Dee Irvin and were not the same group that recorded on the United label. "Been So Long" was recorded for the Hull records subsidiary, Mascot. Once it started flying off the shelves, they leased it to the Chess subsidiary, Argo records. Since you seem to only hear top 10 records on oldies stations these days, this record is one I call a long lost oldie on my radio show. It never used to be that way!
Bruce Channel - Le Cam
Bruce Channel -Smash
Bruce Channel is no stranger to this page. His "Hey Baby" is listed on it's original Le Cam label, and his follow-up, "Number One Man", also was issued on Le Cam and is seen above. The record peaked at number 52 in April, 1962 on the Smash label, I wonder if the Le Cam record was out at the same time. After all, he just had a huge hit with Hey Baby on the Smash label, so why wouldn't Smash take this next record exclusively? Anyway, the Le Cam label was local in Texas, so the distribution was certainly limited. Notice on Le Cam, The Straitjackets are credited.
Strawberry Alarm Clock - All American
Strawberry Alarm Clock - UNI
Not exactly doo wop or rock and roll from the 1950's, this happens to be one of my favorite songs from 1967. The group featured Ed King, who would also play with Lynryd Skynyrd . The group was from the west coast, and had several records that got to the Billboard charts. The first issue of "Incense And Peppermints" was on the All American label, and then it switched over to Uni. I always loved the record - maybe it was the harmony, the fact it was different, or maybe the name of the group.
Frogmen - Scott
Frogmen - Candix
Even though I don't really actively collect surf, I just can't ignore this great instrumental from the Frogmen. The Frogmen made just a few records in their short instrumental career. The biggest hit by far was called "Underwater." It was a smoking instrumental picking up on the surf scene in southern California, and peaked at number 44 in 1961. You could easily find it a lot higher on west coast radio station charts, but I could understand why the Midwestern states might have trouble visualizing it. The first issue was on Scott, though it appears it was the Frogmen's second release for the label. Reportedly, the group was a four piece band from Culver City, California, and Rockin Records lists the FIVE members as: Jim Young,Dennis Fowley , Mike Anderson, Raymond Sullivan and Larry Bartone. Adding the "guiro" a Spanish percussion instrument, gave it that croaking hook. Scott records was a short lived small independent label from the Los Angeles area, not to be confused with several other labels of the same name, mostly on the east coast. The record was quickly moved to Candix records, and proved to be one of the biggest hits on the label. It should be noted that the Beach Boys certainly had a strong hit on Candix with " Surfin." The Scott issue comes in a couple other colors including yellow.
Pat Zill - Sand
Pat Zill - Indigo
Pat Zill had one record that eeked it's way on to the Billboard top 100. "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down" was actually a very nice song, and it should have charted higher. The record was issued on the Sand label, and then was picked up by Indigo as it showed promise. Indigo was a decent local label in southern California, that already had great success with Kathy Young as well as the Innocents. Issued in 1961.
Rusty Bryant - Carolyn
Rusty Bryant - Dot
Rusty Bryant was from Columbus Ohio, and was certainly one of the great horn blowers on record. The difference with Bryant is that he started with rock and roll, and almost immediately you could hear those jazz influences. Jumping ahead, by around 1957, his output on Dot was very much indeed jazz. He then picked up his recording career around 1970 and it was jazz oriented also. In late 1953, Rusty Bryant recorded Nite Train on the Carolyn label, a local label in Columbus,Ohio named after the Carolyn Club where Bryant played. Dead wax numbers reflect a King records press. Dot picked up the record and renamed it to "All Nite Long", which is not the Joe Houston song, but really is Nite Train. It is a live recording, and double timed compared to the James Brown song.
Buddy Knox - Triple D
Buddy Knox - Roulette
Buddy Knox had a number one hit with Party Doll in 1957. Legend has it, he and his band, and a few others, cruised over to Clovis New Mexico. There they spent sixty bucks on three all night sessions with Norman Petty at his studios. They returned to Happy, Texas, with some tapes and acetates. A local record was pressed up on the Triple D label, named after Dumas Radio station KDDD. The original press actually was done in late 1956, and the publishing on the left center of the record was Blue Moon. In January, it changed to Oliver and Son. The actual amount of records that were pressed seems to range from 1500 to 2500. It was reported first played by Dean Kelley of KZIP radio in Amarillo, Texas. An interesting article about him with Elvis is HERE. It was then that Morris Levy issued it on his newly formed Roulette label, and it hit number one on the Billboard charts and stayed around for twenty three weeks.
Jimmy Bowen - Triple D
Jimmy Bowen - Roulette
Flip over the Buddy Knox record on Triple D and you have Jim Bowen and his record "I'm Stickin' With You." Talk about a great two sider! It ran up the charts the same time Buddy Knox's record did, and peaked at number 14. When Morris Levy got the Triple D record, he pulled both sides as individual singles, and on consecutive Roulette issues, the first two produced by the label. When it was released on Roulette, his name was now "Jimmy" and as with the Buddy Knox record, the Orchids became the Rhythm Orchids. Hmm, and the publishing changed on both Roulette records too.
Marv Johnson - Tamla
Marv Johnson - United Artists
Back in 1959, Marv Johnson had his first top 40 hit with "Come To Me" This stayed on the charts for 15 weeks, and Marv Johnson was up and running. It was the first of nine Billboard chart hits for him, and a distinguished career in the music business. Though the hit was distributed nationally by United Artists, the first pressings were on the Detroit based Tamla label. These were limited in production and may have only been available in Michigan and perhaps a surrounding state or two. The very first press on Tamla did not show the address below the top logo.
Checkers - King
Checkers - Federal
In 1954, the Checkers had some good action with White Cliffs Of Dover. It didn't make any of the national charts, but had some great play on R+B stations at the time. It was a Cash Box territorial tip for Los Angeles in March 1954, which suggested juke box operators and radio stations should jump on it there. Interestingly enough, it was issued again in 1960 on the King subsidiary label, Federal. Though the running times show differently, it sounds like the same take to me.
Bonnie Guitar - Fabor
Bonnie Guitar - Dot
Bonnie Guitar had a classic record called "Dark Moon." The song was written by Ned Miller, and initially released on Fabor Robinson's Fabor record label based in Malibu, California. It was quickly taken over by Dot records for national distribution. It hit number six on the Billboard Pop Charts.
Premiers - Faro
Premiers - Warner Brothers
An under-rated Latino group from San Gabriel California, they had a big chart hit in 1964. Written by half of the team of Don And Dewey, Terry Harris, they had the original recording of the song in 1959. The premiers version rose to number 19, and was aided by the distribution network of Warner Brothers records. You have to love the Faro label, showing pictures of the members of the group. Or at least most of them.
Velours - Onyx
Velours - Orbit
The Velours just cracked the Billboard top 100 peaking at number 83 and staying for three weeks in 1958 with "Remember." The original record was on Jerry Winston's New York based Onyx label and using the orange and black colors as above. There was the usual white and black promos which would be the ultimate first press, and green label copies that were a very odd pressing. Cub records actually pressed these for Onyx, and the disc was issued on Cub as the third label,also in 1958. The Orbit release (Second Label) was also a Jerry Winston label, and the red was the first variation. He also followed it with a green colored orbit issue.
Beach Boys - X
Beach Boys - Candix 1
The Beach Boys early recording called "Surfin" is still a bit confusing to me. It appears Candix 331 (Not Shown) was the very first press in November of 1961. A month later, it was issued on X records, for various reasons. Candix 301, shown above, is next in line from January of 1962.
Beach Boys - Candix 2
Beach Boys - Candix 3
As it started selling, they had distribution from Era, and this was released, likely in January 1962. And lastly, the promotional copy with the Era distribution is shown. It could have been released before the stock copy, but it's hard to tell for sure.
Dynatones - ST Clair
Dynatones - HBR
Climbing to number 53 on the Billboard charts in 1966. "The Fife Piper" was the only hit for the Clarksburg, West Virginia group. Originally on St. Clair of Pittsburgh, it was picked up by HBR (Hanna Barbera - think Flinstones) for better distribution. To my ears, they are slightly different takes of the record on each label.
Question Mark And The Mysterions - Pa Go Go
Question Mark And The Mysterions - Cameo
Rudy Martinez (Question Mark) and the Mysterians had a monster record in 1966 called 96 Tears. The group was from Saginaw and Flint Michigan, but oddly enough, the original Pa Go Go record showed home base in San Antonio. That was a bit of a stretch from label owner Lillian Gonzales. It made enough noise that Cameo Parkway picked it up and was able to distribute it nationally. Good thing, as it cruised all the way to number one on the Billboard pop charts.
Bobby Vee - Soma
Bobby Vee - Liberty
Credited to Bobby Vee and the Shadows, this was the first record for Bobby Vee, and it became his first chart hit, too. Peaking at number 77, the original label was Soma based in Minneapolis, MN. Bobby Vee was originally from North Dakota, and as you may know, he and his quickly assembled band played the package tour as a fill in when the plane carrying the Big Bopper, Richie Valens, and Buddy Holly crashed and killed all on board. They played one show only in Moorehead Minnesota, and then replacements were brought in for the remainder of the show. Liberty records recognized a great opportunity and picked the record up for national distribution. In spite of the meager chart action, they had nothing but tremendous success starting with "Devil Or Angel" in 1960.
Gentrys - Youngstown
Here is a little lesser known first press on Youngstown by the Gentrys. They had Billboard chart burner in 1965 called "Keep On Dancing." Youngstown was part of Penthouse records based in Memphis. This was actually the second record by the Gentrys for Youngstown, the first was "Little Drops Of Water." MGM liked what they heard, put it on their label and found the number four spot on the charts.
Jimmy Dee - TNT
Jimmy Dee - Dot
The Legendary TNT records from San Antonio issued amazing rockabilly, rock and roll, and of course, Texas country. Released late 1957 on TNT, "Henrietta" starting getting some airplay and Dot was right there to offer it's services. They did that with a follow-up from Jimmy Dee called "You're Late Miss Kate, too." This record above hit number 47 on Billboard.
Barrett Strong - Tamla
Barrett Strong - Anna
And then there was this monster from Barrett Strong. Reaching number 23 on the Billboard charts, it kicked around for a total of 17 weeks. It was originally released on Berry Gordy's Tamla records, part of the Motown empire. Sales were big in Detroit along with several other major markets, and Tamla could not keep up with the demand. They enlisted Berry Gordy's sister to assist by using her label, Anna records, to fill the demand. It was not so hard, since she had a deal with Chess who already had a national distribution network set up and rolling. This was the only record that Barrett Strong had on the Billboard pop charts.
John Zacherle - Cameo
John Zacherle - Parkway
One of the all time classic Halloween records of all time. John Zacherle had a number six record in the fall of 1958 called "Dinner With Drac." He was originally from Philadelphia, and hosted a horror movie TV show, first on WCAU-TV in Philly. That was 1957 and it was called Shock Theatre playing the character "Roland." He actually started at the station in 1954, but Shock Theatre ran for 92 broadcasts, which went through 1958. It was off to New York for the same type of program on WABC. He made several other Halloween or novelty records on his career. Above is the original label, Cameo, and then pressed later for Cameo-Parkway, with a different flipside.
Sammy Turner - Bigtop
Sammy Turner - Pacific
From Patterson, NJ, Sammy Turner was a very talented singer. He sang Lavender Blue on American Bandstand , July 6th, 1959. It reached number three on Billboard, but to do that, it needed the assistance of Bigtop records of New York. The recording is shown produced by the famous duo of Leiber and Stoller. Sammy Turner five records in the top 100, and recorded for several other labels including Motown. The Bigtop issue was first, and technically, the only label it was issued on, except for the numerous reissue labels that followed. The release on Pacific is either a boot or one of those reissues. It has the same # as the Bigtop record but has no association whatsoever.
James Gilreath - Statue
James Gilreath - Joy
James Gilreath had one claim to fame, at least on the Billboard charts. He was born in Mississippi, and his first record was "I Need It" on the Vee Eight label. Though it was not successful, that did not deter him. He recorded "Little Band Of Gold" for the Tupelo Mississippi label, Statue. It was the first release for the label in 1963, and the biggest selling record for them. Big enough, they partnered with a slightly bigger label, Joy, and they had a number 21 record on Billboard.
Swingin Medallions - 4Sale
Swingin Medallions - Smash
The Swingin Medallions had a sound you heard and just thought of a party and having a good time. It was evident that they having fun, and it was infectious. Originally titled just "Double Shot", it was released for the tiny 4 Sale record label. The band is originally from NC so I would expect this label was from that part of the country. The record started to take off, and Smash records took it for the rest of the ride, while extending the title to include "(Of My Baby's Love.)" The disc got up to number 17, and parked for a total of 13 weeks on the Billboard charts.
Lee Andrews - Main Line 2nd
Lee Andrews - Chess
Philadelphia native, Lee Andrews had a rich recording history, before this record was ever created. He and his group the Hearts had been recording for local labels like Gotham and Rainbow, with local success at best. Then everything changed. Recording for New York DJ Jocko's record label called Main Line, they cut "Try The Impossible" with no action. The second release "Long Lonely Nights" backed with "The Clock" were re-recordings of the records previously waxed for Gotham. When this disc started breaking out all over, Jocko knew his small label was not in a position to handle a big hit, so he got Chess involved. This one peaked at number 47 on the Billboard pop charts - Lee Andrews and the Hearts were on their way. The original version of the Main Line release was green. It was only pressed for a very short time. Also of interest was the information on the label crediting the Pancho Villa orchestra. I'm not certain who they were, but they had their own release on Main Line about the same time as this record was issued.
Kingsmen - Jerden
Kingsmen - Wand
The most popular record of all time, "Louie Louie", with over 1600 versions recorded to date. You can trace the record back to 1956 with Richard Berry's version on the Los Angeles based Flip label. Rockin Robin Roberts had the next version on the Etiquette label from the Tacoma Washington area. It was a local hit in the Pacific Northwest. And then we get to the record above. It was recorded in one take at Northwestern, Inc., Motion Pictures and Recording in Portland for fifty bucks! They took Richard Berry's record and literally transformed it into a party record. Released first in May of 1963 on the Seattle based Jerden label. It was issued in October of 1963 on Wand records for national distribution.
Bob Silva And The Silva-Tones had an entry into the top 100, with "That's All I Want From You. This originally was issued as just by Bob Silva on New Jersey based Monarch records, #615. The hit record - #86 in 1957, was sent out on Argo records, which was part of Chess. The Monarch release looks like it could have been issued at the same time as Argo, as it carries the same record number. The group is from Boston, so it's also possible that the local area had the Monarch press and Argo covered the rest of the USA.
Belmonts - Surprise
Belmonts - Sabrina
The Belmonts had some great hit records without Dion, and in fact, hit the charts six times. "Tell Me Why" was there first entry, coming in at number 18 in 1961, staying around 11 weeks. The first label it was on, Surprise, had to be scrapped since the label already existed. No problem. It was released on Sabrina and appeared that way on the charts. Sabrina turned into Sabina after the first two releases, so record label names was an issue for the Belmonts, at least as they started out.
Kokomo - Future
Kokomo - Felsted
Jimmy Wisner WAS Kokomo. He released under the alias on his label Future, based in Philadelphia. He co-owned the label with two others, and they released records from 1958-1961. On my companion page of non-charted hits, I feature the Admiraltones on an earlier release from Future records. This hit big in early 1961, and reached number eight. It was an adaptation of Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor using shellac on the hammers of a cheap piano. Once the record started selling, Felsted got involved, just like they did with the Admiraltones record previously mentioned, and were able to distribute the hit nationally.
Dodie Stevens - Crystalette
Dodie Stevens - Dot
"He wears tan shoes with pink shoelaces, a polka dot vest......." Not exactly what I might wear, but, it was exactly what the record buyers wanted in early 1959. Thirteen year old, Chicago born, California raised Dodie Stevens recorded it and the platter reached the number three position on the Billboard charts. It stayed on the charts nineteen total weeks. Crystalette records issued it first and was the label Dodie Stevens recorded on for her first two chart hits. She switched over to one of the big guns, Dot, and had two minor chart hits with them in 1960. They continued to release product for a couple years, including three LP's. She moved to other labels like Dolton and Imperial but was unable to create another chart record. The Dot issue above is a re sung version from 1963. There was also a Dot issue from 1962, #16389.
Lee Andrews - Chess
Lee Andrews - Argo
My second entry for Lee Andrews And The Hearts. "Teardrops" was the groups second chart hit, reaching #20 on Billboard, which was higher than their first hit. And similar to the first hit (Long Lonely Nights), both sides were re-sung versions that had previously been recorded for Gotham. This time around, Jocko - owner of Main Line which was the original label for "Long Lonely Nights", started with Chess as the arrangement was already in place. Chess issued the record everywhere except Philadelphia, where the Argo release was available. This was issued in October 1957.
Jimmy Dorsey - Fraternity
Jimmy Dorsey - Dot
You go back a long ways to see the beginnings of Jimmy Dorsey and his big bands. Try the late 1920's and he had his first hit record was in 1935. Fast forward to 1957. He got back on the charts in a big way, with a number two record on the Billboard pop charts called "So Rare." OK, so it wasn't a new song. It was taken to number one by Guy Lombardo in 1937! It was recorded in late 1956, and issued in early 1957. This disc stayed on the charts for an amazing 37 weeks. Sadly, Jimmy Dorsey died just a few months later in 1957. A follow-up was issued after his death,"June Night" backed with Jay Dee's Boogie Woogie", and both appeared on the charts. Dot issued the record in 1962 calling it the "original", but that just didn't make much sense.
Johnny Love - Startime
Johnny Love - Dot
Another candidate for first and second labels and artists. The artist was actually Ronnie Dunbar, but had his first record issued as Johnny Love for Detroit's? Startime label in late 1960. The song was picked up by Dot records, his name was changed to Ronnie Love, and song became his only hit record, #72 on Billboard. On the Dot label it shows 9-60, so it may have taken some time to get onto Billboards charts, or there could have been a delaying distribution.
Jan And Arnie - Arwin
Jan And Arnie - Dot
Jan and Arnie (Jan Berry And Arnie Ginsburg) had two Billboard hits, and this was the second one, peaking at number 81 in 1958 for the Arwin label. "Gas Money" was a song about, well, gas money and in it's own way, still relevant today. Dot decided to issue it in August 1960, two years after the fact, based on the Dot record number.
Jennell Hawkins - Titanic
Jennell Hawkins - Amazon
This is truly a long lost oldie. Jennell Hawkins recorded "Moments To Remember", and it was issued in early 1962. But wait. If you look at those Billboard charts, it just says "Moments." If you look at the LP, it has the longer title on it, and 45's of the record all seem to have the blurb at the bottom of the label about the LP. Billboard had the longer title, too. So the winner is: "Moments" as the original title, since it was issued that way on Titanic. Note that the song was written by Richard Berry. Hawkins and Berry were from Los Angeles, and had previously done a duet as Ricky and Jennell on Flair records that was released in early 1954.
Megatrons - Acousticon
Megatrons - Audicon
A fine pop instrumental from the Megatrons graced the Billboard charts in the summer of 1959, almost reaching the midway point at number fifty one. "Velvet Waters" was written by Megatrons member William Plunket. Heywood Henry also was a member of the group, which appears to be a New York studio group. It was originally released on the Acousticon label, and was shown as such on many radio station surveys. It was soon issued again on Audicon. Audicon had other releases by the Megatrons, the Passions, and others , in a run of about twenty records for the label.
Megatrons - Laurie
Some of the other Megatrons releases included "Tootie Flutie", "Ranchero", and "By The Waters Of The Minnetonka." Then in 1965, Laurie records from New York decided to re-release the record with the same flip. Though not too much happened with the disc in 1965, Laurie tried a follow-up called "Detroit Sound", and once again, not much action. Interesting that Laurie used the Acousticon name and record number for the release on the stock copies. The promos usually have the Laurie record issue number of 3291.
Here's the first record by the Orioles. One of the early bird groups, they were idolized and imitated by dozens of vocal groups in the 40's and 50's. Sonny Till took the lead duties most of the time, and had their biggest hit with "Crying In The Chapel." Their first release was in September of 1948 and was issued on the It's A Natural label. The record was a hit, and even sheet music was produced using the It's A Natural label as the source. The record company changed it's name to Jubilee in late November 1948, and were poised to release a Christmas song by the Orioles. In the meantime, the It's A Natural label was discontinued and copies of "It's Too Soon To Know" were then pressed on Jubilee. In spite of the price books you may read, the Jubilee issue is likely the tougher one to find.
Troy Shondell made a ton of records. Three of them hit the pop 100. This one was a smash. "This Time" spent 15 weeks on the Billboard charts and was heard on all pop stations across the country. It did have it's humble beginnings. Shondell was originally from Fort Wayne,Indiana, and had a few records prior to this release. He formed his own Goldcrest records (In Indiana) and released "This Time" Three pressings are known on Gold Crest. The first had the label spelled as Goldcreast, shown above. What happened to spell check? The second shown above was Goldcrest and spelled correctly.
The third Goldcrest issue had a "Distributed By Liberty" on the label shown on the left side of the label, in the middle. Finally, Liberty issued it and then pressed millions of copies and distributed it. The record peaked at number six in 1961, and stayed around for thirteen weeks.
Parkays - Late Date Safire
Parkays - Late Date ABC Promo
From 1961, the Parkays splashed in the Billboard charts with "Late Date." It had the feel of the Stax/Volt sounds at the time, and Stax had just landed a big hit with the Mar-Keys "Last Night." Best guess is that the record included some musicians from the label out of Memphis, and they scored again. The first label was Safire, which did have at least one other record and it was Safire 102, by the Monograms. Once the Parkays record started to sell, ABC picked it up for national distribution and the disc landed at number 89.
Hearts - lonely nights Baton
Hearts - lonely nights lavender
Here is a record that did not hit the Billboard charts, but cruised up to number eight on the R+B charts and stayed chartbound for fifteen weeks. "Lonely Nights" by the Hearts got a lot of play in 1955, and led to many additional releases. This example stretches the concept of this page, as most first and second labels I showcase were issued within a few months of each other. The Lavender release above dates from 1961, six years after the initial waxing. A very vintage second label, though way after the peak popularity of the disc was over.
BJ Thomas-Bragg
BJ Thomas-Hickory
B.J. Thomas may be best known as having some amazing hits, and hitting the Billboard top 100 twenty six times. Early on, his third Billboard chart hit was "Billy And Sue" from 1966. His group called the Triumphs were credited on the labels, and the record reached number 34. The first label it was issued on was Bragg, with home base in Nashville, just like Hickory which was the second label. Bragg had about 30 releases, and this was it's third.
Sevilles Charlena JC
Sevilles Charlena Galaxy
From late 1960/early 1961, this was the biggest hit for the Sevilles. The disc hit the Billboard Top 100 and peaked at number 84 in a relatively short run up and down the charts. The song “Charlena” was written by Manny Chavez and Sonny Chaney of the Jaguars, but they were never able to convince anyone that they should have recorded it. It was later issued on the Galaxy label around 1964 along with two other 45's.
The second of three Lama releases for Dick And Deedee, "Goodbye To Love" did not chart nationally, but had lots of play on San Francisco bay area stations KYA and KEWB. As for this one, the label now has the distributed by Liberty information on it, placed in the middle right side. "The Mountains High" did not have that on it.
Dick And Dee Dee - Tell Me Lama
Dick And Dee Dee - Tell Me Liberty
This is the third of three releases that Dick And DeeDee had for the Lama label. "The Mountains High" is featured previously on this page. This was a number 22 record on the Billboard charts, and stayed around for 14 weeks.
Phil Baugh was a great guitarist. Not remembered nearly enough today, he had a great country hit with "Country Guitar."It was a great song where Baugh plays in the style of many then current C+W pickers like Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Sugarfoot Garland, Duane Eddy, and others - including himself! He was amazing. He teamed up with Vern Stoval - who did the announcing on "Country Guitar", and ended up recording it for a Redondo Beach California label owned by a country promoter named Claude McBride. It started to sell, and they needed a label with some distribution capabilities. They contacted Dewey Groom in Dallas, who had just started the Longhorn label, and ended up on his label for a smash hit in 1964. Baugh was voted the best guitarist of 1964 by the Academy Of Country Music.
From 1969, an instrumental that reached number 16 on the Billboard charts and kicked around for 11 weeks. The record was produced by Len Barry and included some prominent local musicians, including Darryl Hall. Though released on the Marmaduke label first, my copy shows not only a reference to UA but also the UA record number. Earlier copies on the green and light blue labels don't have that reference.
This one caught me by surprise. I am very used to the Hollywood Flames on the Ebb label and their smash hit "Buzz Buzz Buzz" from 1957. It reached number 11 and rode out for 17 weeks. But, Mona Lee? It was pressed in 1959, and Art Rupe of Specialty may have been involved with this initially short lived label. Mona Lee resurfaced in 1968 with a few current releases.

Sammy Turner - Always Bigtop


Sammy Turner - Always Pacific


Sammy Turner had a great voice! He hit the charts first with Sweet Annie Laurie, then his biggest hit followed - "Lavender Blue." That one is featured earlier in this page, but above is his third chart hit, "Always. This release, as in the previous "Lavender Blue", was originally issued on Bigtop, and technically, the only label it was issued on, except for the numerous reissue labels that followed. The release on Pacific is either a boot or one of those reissues. It has the same # as the Bigtop record but has no association whatsoever.
Another classic 45 on a really small label first, and then a major label where it became a huge hit. The Rock-A-Teens were from Richmond VA, and featured Vic Mizelle on vocals. The first pressing was on Doran from Salem VA, and happened to credit the Rock A Teens as the writers. That was an issue for Arthur Guitar Boogie Smith, and he sued for plagiarism. Through a rather shady deal, G.D. McGraw ended up as the writer, acing out the Rock-A-Teens altogether. The Roulette single peaked at number 16 in 1959.
Dave York and the Beachcombers had one record that squeaked into the top 100 at number 95. On KMAK in Fresno California, it got up to number four. It actually did very well overall on the west coast. The disc originally showed up on the tiny Lancelot label from Los Angeles. The producers shown on the label included the legendary Gary Paxton, D. Kinzie - AKA Dave York, and Fred Mikesell. And, the first initial of each name made up the name of the second label. Shown above is the original Lancelot label, and a second press on PKM, showing the distribution by London.
Techniques - Stars
Techniques - Roulette
The Techniques met in glee club while attending Georgia Tech. Local producer Bill Lowery liked what he saw and heard, and had them record for his Atlanta based Stars record label. It was actually reviewed in the October 7th 1957 edition of Billboard in a less than complimentary category - Those that received a rating under 65 of 100. And they actually reviewed the flip "In A Round About Way" instead of "Hey Little Girl." The review disc was on the stars label. By November 4th, Billboard had announced the purchase of the Stars disc by Roulette. It was certainly for distribution and pressing plant capabilities to accommodate this number 29 Billboard hit. November 18th, the Techniques had reached the top 100 charts.
Al Casey Cookin - Ramco
Al Casey Cookin - Stacy
There were actually three different pressings of the Al Casey record "Cookin." Many articles show the Blue Horizon issue as first. I can't verify that, and it seems a bit suspicious to me that it has the same issue number (925) as the Stacy issue. I would guess it was the second press. The Stacy press from Chicago was the third label, and at the moment, I show the Ramco label as the first issue until I get more compelling evidence to the contrary. Ramco was based in Phoenix Arizona, where Al Casey produced a bunch of his records at the time. Also interesting to note, Casey's first record for Stacy was "Jivin Around" (#494), but it appears to have stalled. Once "Cookin" was issued on the first two labels and showed promise - and then issued on Stacy, "Jivin Around" was re-issued on Stacy (#936). "Cookin" was a Billboard #92 record in 1962.
Originally recorded around October 1952, "Oh Happy Day" became a number four record on the pop charts. The Triple A label was from Cleveland Ohio and was the original label to release the record., The demand became too great for the small label, so Essex picked it up for national distribution. The first Essex labels were blue, as shown above and it could be found on red wax. It continued to sell, and was issued on the orange Essex label, also available on red wax. The song was covered by many artists including the Four Knights, Lawrence Welk, and Joe Joe Johnson.
Jewels-Hearts Of Stone-R+B
Jewels-Hearts Of Stone-OS
For a first and second label, this one is really a stretch. But, it gives me a chance to showcase the amazing Original Sound label from Art Laboe. Originally released in 1954, "Hearts Of Stone" was a big West Coast hit for Jewels on the R&B label. The Jewels had the original recording , however Otis Williams and the Charms covered it and had a number one R+B hit with it. Ten years later, Art Laboe issued it on his Original Sound label, which with the exception of some Skyliners records in 1963, was pressing up original records that were brand new at the time. The label shown above was used on Original Sound records issues 21-45, and was the last variation that used 8510 Sunset Blvd. The exception was #61 by the Music Machine.
From Daytona Beach,Florida, The Nightcrawlers had one hit on the charts called "Little Black Egg." It originally was issued by sound engineer Lee Hazen on his own label called Lee records. They had some regional success in Florida, and California on it's initial release in 1965. It lasted until early 1966, and then came back on regional charts towards the end of 1966 getting big plays in Ohio along with Washington and Arizona. From there it entered the Billboard charts in January 1967, stalling at number 85 on the Kapp label.
There was no short supply of artists that recorded "Land Of 1000 Dances." Versions such as the original by Chris Kenner, Thee Midniters, Fats Domino, Wilson Pickett, and the list goes on. Cannibal and The Headhunters had a great recording of the song, with that live feel to it. The Blendells did some backup vocals on the record, originally released on the Los Angeles based Rampart based record label in 1965. It was issued once again on the Date label, a division of Columbia. My promotional copy has August 1966 stamped on it.
Chad Allen Lama Records Little Lonely
Chad Allen Smash Records Little Lonely
Chad Allen got info the bubbling under charts for Billboard, and peaked at number 112. The record had mostly west coast play, and that included stations like KYA, KEWB, and KJR. It also spun on the turntable in a few Canadian stations, which brings up a good point: This is not Chad Allan and the Expressions group. The record started making charts in the fall of 1961, and was a breakout record in San Francisco and Milwaukee in November of 1961. Released originally om the Lama label of California, Smash records picked it up for distribution. Lama was also home to the original issue of Dick And Dee Dee's "Mountain's High."
Jan Bradley Formal
Jan Bradley Chess
Originally from Mississippi, Jan Bradley grew up in Robbins Illinois. She auditioned for Curtis Mayfield and had a regional record "We Girls" which was issued on the Formal label. It had lots of play on local Chicago powerhouse WLS. Her next record was written by Mayfield and produced by Don Talty who also managed Phil Upchurch. "Mama Didn't Lie" starting breaking out all over the US at the end of 1962, and Chess records picked it up for National distribution. With that said, the Formal label was still distributed in Pennsylvania,Massachusetts, and Virginia. Several different variations of the Chess release exist, and most formal promo's (not shown) had the artist and title directed horizontally on the labels.
Paul Revere Raiders Sande
Paul Revere Raiders Columbia
If you want to talk about a classic song from the Pacific Northwest, it doesn't get more classic than "Louis Louie." Though the song has been recorded a zillion times, the garage approach to the song started in the northwest. Paul Revere And The Raiders were originally from Boise Idaho, and had a string of records on the Gardena label, which was based in Gardena CA. They hooked up with KISN DJ Roger Hart (Portland), and he supposedly paid them 50 bucks to record it for his short lived Sande label in 1962. Columbia showed interest and ultimately picked it up, and that was the start of a long term association with them. The disc had a lot of spins on northern California stations like KEWB, KLIV, and KFIV.
Gene Thomas Venus
Gene Thomas United Artists
Originally from Palestine Texas, Gene Thomas went into the studio for the first time ever when he recorded "Sometime." The record was slow to get started, and it was shopped around in Houston, to no avail.. One of the first stations to play it was KPAC in Texas City. Once it started catching on, it slowly started getting played on stations all over Texas (Including KILT in Houston). Then it went nationwide. It peaked at number 53 in 1961. Many of the Texas stations were shipped the release on Venus, but once it starting breaking big, UA picked it up and had the distribution in place. Gene also is known for his duets (Gene and Debbie) in the later 1960's, with songs like "Playboy" and "Go With Me."
Thurston Harris Little Bitty Pretty One Intro
Thurston Harris Little Bitty Pretty One Aladdin Purple
Thurston Harris covered Bobby Day's original recording of "Little Bitty Pretty One" and ended up with the biggest hit. It peaked at number six on the Billboard pop charts, and was released in fall of 1957. The background group was the Sharps, which essentially were also the Lamplighters, the same group that he had been involved with for several years previous to this point. They are also the same group that became the Rivingtons with "Papa Oom Mow Mow" and "The Bird's The Word." I can confirm the record was issued on Intro, but nowhere is it documented that it was pressed before Aladdin. Aladdin was the parent label to Intro, so there was that relationship. The purple Aladdin label is generally considered the first color, not dissimilar to the many colors of Dootone records that were issued for the Penguins "Earth Angel."
Thurston Harris Little Bitty Pretty One Aladdin Blue
Thurston Harris Little Bitty Pretty One Aladdin Maroon
Two more colors for "Little Bitty Pretty One" are shown above, the classic blue, which is a throwback to the original blue Aladdin 45's that stopped around issue 3259 with a couple of exceptions (Like this disc). The maroon label did end in 1957, and Aladdin went to black. Copies of this record can also be found on the black label.
Carole King September Companion
Carole King September Dimension
In the 1950's and early 1960's, Carole King was more noted for writing hit records then singing them. Records on ABC, RCA and Alpine were unsuccessful, but that changed briefly in 1962, and for good in the early 1970's. "It might As Well Rain Until September" peaked at number 22 on the Billboard pop charts in 1962, and put her into the limelight as a performer, and as an already established amazing writer. The original recording was pressed on the Companion label, of which the promotional copy is shown above. The Companion label issue is #2000, and interestingly, when it was pressed on Dimension, they went out of order and kept the #2000. The Dimension issues had begun in 1962 and started at #1000 and went just over 50 releases before the road ended.
Russ Regan Junior Junior Junior Corvette
Russ Regan Junior Junior Junior ABC
In a cross between the Chipmunks, the "Purple People Eater" and Dragnet, Russ Regan along with Laura Lane recorded this spoof called "Junior Junior Junior" in 1958. Russ Regan made a few records himself, including a couple under the name of Davey Summers, wrote a bunch of songs (Including both sides of this one), and was a legendary producer, A+R man, etc. A giant in the music industry to be sure, he certainly had humble beginnings. This record was issued on the Corvette record label from Hollywood before being picked up by ABC for national distribution. Corvette had a previous release by Laura Lane, and a song called "Drag Race" by Don Pearly that garnered some spins. The first record by the label was by the Corvettes, entitled "Corvette." The label was owned by Brad Atwood.
Mar-Keys - Last Night - Satellite
Mar-Keys - Last Night - Stax
This group started out in 1958 playing gigs in High School calling themselves the Royal Spades. Their first record was called "Last Night" and they changed their name to the Mar-Keys. Originally released on Satellite, in June of 1961, it hit number three on the R+B charts, Billboard pop charts and music vendor. But that was under the Stax moniker. The Satelllite issue was first, but discontinued when a label owner in California challenged them to the owner ship of the label name. It was quickly put on the new Stax label, retaining the same record number, which meant there were no Stax issues 100-106. There are also at least 2 variations of the Satellite label, the one shown is likely a west coast pressing.
Shirelles - I Met Him On A Sunday - Tiara
Shirelles - I Met Him On A Sunday - Decca
The Shirelles were a great girl group, originally from Passaic New Jersey. Originally called the Pequellos (Poquellos), they were a group of four that won a talent contest at their High School. They sang the song "I Met Him On A Sunday" which member Shirley Owens wrote, and eventually ended up at Florence Greenberg's local Tiara record label. They recorded the song, changed their name to the Shirelles, and Decca picked it up for national distribution. The song peaked at number forty nine on the Billboard charts and the group was on their way. Sort Of. The next few songs went nowhere in a hurry. Decca released them back to Greenberg, and she continued with the Shirelles on her new label, Scepter. The rest is history.
Ray Stevens - Sergeant Preston Of The Yukon - Trumpet
Ray Stevens - Sergeant Preston Of The Yukon - NRC
Ray Stevens is the greatest novelty "dude" of all time. He has had more funny records than anyone I can think if, with the success to match. He had some local records (Atlanta area) early on in his career that had, well, just local play. "My Heart Cries For You" showed up in the Music Vendor magazine, but it was "Sergeant Preston Of The Yukon" that bubbled under on the Billboard charts at number 108, in late summer of 1960. Problem was, he'd forgotten to get permission for character use from the King Features Syndicate. So, it's musical life was shortened. And NRC records, they folded the following year. Best I can tell the Trumpet label was first, though issues of other artists using the Trumpet 100 and 1500 series were issued in 1963.
The origins of "Mule Skinner Blues" go back to 1930 when Jimmie Rodgers wrote and recorded “Blue Yodel No. 8." The Fendermen, Jim Sundquist and and Phil Humphrey, had a bunch of records pressed up on the Cuca label in early 1960, but were having trouble selling them. They finally got a little exposure by hooking up with Amos Heilicher’s Minneapolis based Soma Records. The disc sold quickly and in quantity. It peaked at number five on the Billboard charts.
An absolute classic record by Tommy Roe. "Sheila" went to number one in 1962, and was active on the charts for fourteen weeks. The original recording was on the Judd label, and the version was different. It was under two minutes long and featured the Satins along with a female group called the Flamingos. This original version came out in October of 1960. ABC-Paramount got into the act and had the distribution set up to handle this monster. Also note the different spellings of Shelia/Sheila.
Gabriel Angels Thats Life
Gabriel and the Angels had a big hit with "That's Life",and most copies also include "(That's Tough.)" I included it on my first and second titles page, but here we have it also issued on the Casino label. This specific Casino label could be from Philadelphia, though not related to the Casino label that groups like the Videos, Chords, and Lee Andrews And The Hearts were on. Several of the groups on this Casino label were based from Philadelphia, thus the hunch. What I don't know for sure is if the Casino issue came before or after the issue on Itzy (1966). The Casino label comes up a lot less, so I included it here.
Medallions Dootone
Medallions Dooto
Living in Los Angeles, this was a record that got played quite a bit. It was also a big hit nationwide, becoming a regional and territorial hit in many areas. The 1070'2 oldies revival saw it played even more, especially by legendary LA DJ Art Laboe. "Buick 59" originally was released in 1954 in hopes that it would be a hit then, and again in 1959. It was a big local and regional record in 1954, but did not sell as well when it was revived in 1959, and issued on the renamed Dootone label which was Dooto. You can also find it on the 1970's pressed Dootone label as I'm sure it sold another small pile of discs during the previously mentioned revival.
Out of New York, the Chants had a great record called "Respectable." The song was previously recorded by the Isley Brothers. The Chants version bubbled under the Billboard charts at 101 in May of 1961 on MGM. It was originally released on Bill and Steve Jerome's Tru Eko label in March of 1961. MGM took over in April of that year. Both are identical versions of the song
In December of 1962, Jimmy and the Islanders released a Christmas song on U.W.R. just in time for the Holiday. On the flip side was the Chants record again, however, it runs a little longer than the original. To my ears, it is not the same recording. It was also released in 1963 on Twentieth Century. That version is not the same as the MGM label, but is the same as the U.W.R. version, but fades out early.
Updates: There you have it. So many records came out on a small label and then moved on the a national label when their record showed so much promise. In sone cases, records went from one small label, to another that was not much bigger. The possibilities seem endless Keep checking back. As i find them, I will post for all to see.
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