King Records was the Ohio based pioneering independent American record company who first signed James Brown. They also recorded and manufactured music by Earl Bostic, Bill Doggett, The 5 Royales, and Little Willie John, to name a few. And they were just as prolific and ahead of the pack in their “hillbilly records,” early country taht they wre just as excited by as rhythm and blues.
The incredible thing about King is that they did absolutely everything in-house. They didn’t just record in their own studio, they also had their own pressing plant for cranking out product, their own printing press to make labels, they even manufactured their own boxes and sleeves. Suffice to say, they also had their own distribuotrs and promotion men stationed in various markets throughout the country.
They didn’t need to go through independent distributors because they built their own network using their own people. Later, the overhead on doing business that way got to be too mich. But for a long time it worked extremely well.
The Miami branch of King Records was run by Marvin Novak, who became a close friend of Henry Stone.
here’s what Henry had to say about King Records in Miami:
“Marvin Novak, Marvin Novak, Marvin Novak, hahaha, quite a character, man. I spent a lot of time with him. His nickname was Falsie. That was a name I guess he picked up growing up with Syd Nathan and his clan. He was Syd Nathan’s boy.
The actual story is that Syd Nathan’s family sort of adopted him in Cinncinnatti, and he ended upp like working for Syd. I was associated with him because my De Luxe label was part of King Records.
The last time I saw him was about ten years ago at the track. I don’t know if he’s still alive.”
“We actually had our offices next door to each other when I was on SW 8th street and 12th Avenue. The King Records branch was right next door to me.
I started working with King records in 1954. I had a huge hit record on the DeLuxe label through King. I don’t know if youre familiar with that, Hearts of Stone, well that was me, that was the first million selling record that crossed over into the pop charts from the r&b charts on Billboard.”