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ARSCLIST  January 2012

ARSCLIST January 2012

Subject:

Re: US record business in the 1950s

From:

Roger Kulp <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Roger Kulp <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 13 Jan 2012 19:09:47 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (238 lines)

Could anybody tell me what the deal was with this clip? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j09C8clJaXo

Was this something Dot Records forced on Lawrence Welk? Was someone in Welk's orchestra a father of one of The Chantays? 


I don't believe this was shown on any of the PBS retrospectives or in any of the home videos of The Lawrence Welk Show.I never heard of it until it popped up on YouTube a few years ago.

Sorry if I asked about this before.

Roger

 



________________________________
 From: David Lewis <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2012 8:05 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s
 
Oh, one more --

Dot Records, which formed in Tennessee and moved, by 1958, to Los Angeles,
racked up an impressive number of hits in the 50s for a label of their
size. You don't hear about the often because they made rock 'n roll records
that your mom and dad might possibly like, i.e. rock records that were
sanitized for middle class white people. Nevertheless Dot wasn't above a
certain tendency towards novelty and eccentricity (Nervous Norvus and Jim
Lowe), but they concentrated very much on remaking existing hits in their
own versions by Pat Boone, Billy Vaughan and other people in their stable,
and in some cases gained the upper hand in terms of chart placement in unit
sales.

When the 50s turned into the 60s the hits dried up for Dot, except for easy
listening records like "Calcutta" by Lawrence Welk. Ultimately label head
Randy Wood sold Dot to Gulf + Western and joined into a partnership with
Welk in the Ranwood label, later re-organized as The Welk Group, which also
owns the pop part of the Vanguard catalogue.

Warner Bros. Records appeared in 1958 but began with an easy listening/film
and TV tie-in campaign that didn't catch on; once they signed Allan
Sherman, though, in 1960 they did a great deal better. The British Invasion
and the Reprise subsidiary, founded by Frank Sinatra, did WB well and they
moved to major status, like Atlantic, with the WEA merger, not until 1972.
20th Fox (later 20th Century Fox) also appeared in 1958 and looked, at the
end of the 1950s, like a contender based on the enormous success of "The
Little Drummer Boy." But nothing else they did gained nearly enough
traction, and the label folded in 1970.

Uncle Dave Lewis
Lebanon, OH

On Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 9:16 AM, David Lewis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Pekka,
>
> Prior to World War II UK Decca released it's product through US Decca, in
> which it was a founding partner. The war cut off UK Decca from its US
> subsidiary, and after the war they were unable to renew their relationship
> in a satisfactory way. So in 1948 UK Decca came into the US market with
> London, a domestic US arm of the company. Early records even read "Made in
> England," though I suspect that manufacturing ultimately transferred to the
> US as well. Their major success over here in the 1950s was in distributing
> Mantovani's recordings, several of which visited the US Pop Charts,
> starting with "Charmaine" in 1949, and through their classical recording
> program -- you still see lots of those records around in the charity shops
> in the US.
>
> In the 60s they had a share of the British Invasion market, as London
> distributed The Rolling Stones in the US. That ended in 1971 when The
> Rolling Stones established Rolling Stones Records, after which London
> became more or less exclusively classical. Their biggest ever success came
> in 1990 with The Three Tenors, however in 1999 the imprint disappeared for
> good; Edgar Bronfman Jr's acquisition of Polygram brought both UK Decca and
> US Decca under the same umbrella for the first time in more than forty
> years. UMG considered it redundant, and so the imprint was dropped; though
> it did enjoy a certain name recognition here by then -- American consumers
> didn't think of London as a "foreign" label, despite the offerings, origin
> and the name. Apparently Bronfman and company felt that it would be okay to
> give that up.
>
> One of the things that is different in the American record business of the
> 50s that hadn't been in place before was the vast proliferation of indies
> in the pop market which began in the wake of World War II. Most of these
> labels were attempting to address genres of music that the majors -- who
> had been there before the 50s, and would continue to be afterward -- were
> for the most part ignoring; country, R&B and later in the decade, rock 'n
> roll. Although RCA Victor had Elvis, Decca's Coral subsidiary had Buddy
> Holly and CBS was heavy into country and did a little R&B on its Okeh
> subsidiary, rock 'n roll was primarily considered a game for little labels
> to play until the advent of the British Invasion. CBS actively expressed
> that they didn't want to make that kind of money, exploiting teenagers with
> "trash," and only the success of The Beatles changed their minds.
>
> There was an economic recession around the time that the Kennedy
> administration began, and a lot of the little labels that had hits in the
> 50s didn't survive it. So one measure of examining market penetration among
> non-majors of that era is to look at the ones that did. One major not
> mentioned heretofore in this thread is Am-Par, or ABC/Paramount, a huge
> conglomeration of labels that added up to a major but failed to remain so
> in the long term. They had Ray Charles on the parent label and those
> records really sold well. Ray's other label, Atlantic, was also one of the
> heavy hitters among indies in the 50s, and would raise to major status with
> the founding of WEA in 1972. King Records of Cincinnati had a good market
> share in a variety of genres and survived the 60s well with James Brown,
> though towards the end Brown's productions were about all that they were
> handling.
>
> A couple of key players going out of the 50s and into the 60s were
> reorganized from older labels. Mo Levy's Roulette Records label had been
> Royal Roost, a jazz label, but changed its focus to rock 'n roll and
> enjoyed numerous chart placements almost from the start. Levy would be
> around to buy up other indies for a bargain as they failed in the early
> 60s. David Miller's Somerset Records concern aka Trans World had been
> Philadelphia-based indie Essex which released some of the earliest rock 'n
> roll records. With Somerset/Trans World he concentrated on easy listening
> and the 101 Strings series beginning in 1958 which grabbed an impressive
> share of the market, despite being viewed today as a major producer of
> "junk records."
>
> Uncle Dave Lewis
> Lebanon, OH
>
> On Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 4:47 AM, Pekka Gronow <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Lots of useful comment, thanks - especially access to Billboard on the
>> internet (overwhelming). I still prefer browsing paper volumes, but I
>> would
>> have to cross the Atlantic to do that. Thanks!
>>
>> One detail: what was London records in the USA in the 1950s (see below) ?
>> I
>> am not clear on this. A US subsidiary of UK Decca?? The label also existed
>> in the UK. How extensive was their business?
>> Did they produce original US material?
>>
>> Pekka
>>
>>
>> 2012/1/7 Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>>
>> > She was talking about the overall LP market in the 50's. Mercury
>> > definitely sold more records in the US than London in that period, as
>> did
>> > Capitol. Classical was a part of the business, a bigger part than today
>> but
>> > still a part. A couple of pop hits could eclipse the whole classical
>> > catalog sales in any given year, remember this was the time of jukeboxes
>> > and payola-play radio. Classical didn't participate too much in that,
>> but
>> > that business model could generate tremendous sales behind a genuine hit
>> > that caught on due to the paid-for exposure.
>> >
>> > -- Tom Fine
>> >
>> > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Roger Kulp" <[log in to unmask]
>> >
>> > To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> > Sent: Friday, January 06, 2012 11:02 PM
>> >
>> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s
>> >
>> >
>> > I definitely see more London,Mercury,and Capitol,in about that
>> order,when
>> > it comes to 50s classical Lps after RCA and Columbia.
>> >
>> > Roger
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > ______________________________**__
>> > From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>> > To: [log in to unmask]
>> > Sent: Friday, January 6, 2012 4:23 AM
>> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s
>> >
>> > After RCA and Columbia and their subsidiaries, the shares would fall to
>> > smaller numbers. USA Decca would probably be fourth in there, but I'm
>> not
>> > positive about that. But my impression (not based on actual sales
>> figures)
>> > is that there was a second tier of "major independents" by the late
>> 50's.
>> > This included Capitol (which soon sold to EMI), Mercury (which soon
>> sold to
>> > Philips), and there may have been enough early-rock hits to Chess and
>> Sun
>> > into this tier if we're talking sales dollars or actual sales volume.
>> >
>> > I'm sure you know this, but many if not most Billboard issues are
>> > searchable and readable via Google Books. You could also contact NARAS,
>> > since this cannot be considered "sensitive industry data" by the wildest
>> > imagination, given that we're talking 50+ years ago.
>> >
>> > You could also check European business press from the time of EMI
>> > acquiring Capitol and Philips acquiring Mercury and see if any details
>> > about the US market were provided either in corporate filings or in news
>> > articles of the time.
>> >
>> > -- Tom Fine
>> >
>> > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Pekka Gronow" <[log in to unmask]>
>> > To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> > Sent: Friday, January 06, 2012 5:26 AM
>> > Subject: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s
>> >
>> >
>> > I have been looking for data on record company market shares in the USA
>> in
>> >> the 1950s, but I am still puzzled. There is RIAA data on total sales,
>> and
>> >> a
>> >> lot of (mostly anecdotal) detail on specific companies. Sanjek's books
>> on
>> >> the music business are helpful, but do not follow the development
>> >> systematically. If I had access to all issues of Billboard from this
>> >> period, that might be the solution, but I do not have them
>> >>
>> >> It seems likely that the three biggest companies in the USA during this
>> >> decade were CBS, RCA Victor and Decca. There were hundreds of other
>> >> companies, of various sizes. But which were the ten, or twenty, biggest
>> >> ones? I am not speaking of shares of hits in the charts (this has been
>> >> studied), but market shares - real or at least estimated?
>> >>
>> >> All suggestions would be useful.
>> >>
>> >> Pekka Gronow
>> >> Helsinki
>> >>
>> >>
>>
>
>

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