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Jul 312015
 

“WLAC. That’s before they had R&B stations all over. If you wanted to hear an R&B Record you had to listen to WLAC in Nashville. There was John R., Hoss Allen, Gene Noble, and Herman Grizzard, and one guy was a cripple, he had some, he was a cripple or something, and he was really good too. I knew them in person cause they were around in the years I was traveling with Leonard Chess. So I used to meet these jockeys with Leonard. He’d be workin his Chess Records and I’d be workin’ my Rockin Records, and DeLuxe.

We always got records on the air man. That was… Fuhgettabout it. I used to go into Nashville and see the jockeys and be gone y’know. I didn’t hang around too much in Nashville cause, number one, I wasn’t interested in country music, that wasn’t my thing.”

 

 

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Jul 302015
 

“Sporty…King Sporty. He got shot by Sax Kari at the TK studio. I was outta town at the time, but I heard about it. Sporty was up there recording with Sax. Sax Kari was an old time musician from way back that hooked himself on to me and he ended up like living in the back of the upstairs at TK and takin care of all the masters, takin care of things, and he also played on some of the sessions. He was a musican and arranger. It was about one oclock in the morning there in the studio yknow how things go back and forth in the studio, you don’t like this, he don’t like that, and Sporty’s a pretty hot headed Rastafarian yaknow, typical shouting, and he starts shouting at Sax Kari and says, “Mon I’ma kill ya!”

Sax Kari sez, “Yyou gonna kill me? You gonna kill me?”

King Sporty said, “Yah mon,” in his Jamaican accent.

So Sax went back in his lttle room in the back of the studio, pulled out a gun, says, “You motherfucker you gonna kil me, Im’a kill you first.” And boom, shot him in the toe, shot him in the leg.” No cops were called or anything it was kept quiet.

Sporty was a Rastafarian who made some records for TK. A couple things for us on his own Konduko label, he had his own little labels. He’s been around quite a while. He was married to Betty Wright, he ended up marrying Betty Wright. He got busted, not sure what year, and I member goin down to court as a character witness, cause yknw he never did anything to me. I think they busted him on dope yknow, marijuana, and I testified he worked for me, he used to come in and work, play his music, and he also was involved with Bob Marley, he brought Bob Marley into the studio sometimes, in fact that’s where he wrote “Buffalo Soldier” with Bob Marley. At the time they were doin it i thought it was cute, good idea, but nothin was nothin. Nothin is nothin until it happens. And Sporty, he called me a while back, all upset “You didn’t invite me to your 90th birthday party ya sonofabitch.” He’s down here still. And when they busted him at the time i went down and did the whole thing and went to the judge and said, he’s cool, that as far as I know he didn’t do anything. I never saw him smoke weed, whateva bullshit, did the whole number, good musician who worked for me. And I happened to know the judge at that time, forget who he was exactly, and they let him off. Didn’t cost me nothin’. And yknow when you do shit like that it always comes around some way. Either the motherfuckers forget about ya or somewhere along the line it comes in a circle.”

 

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Jul 292015
 

“Fred Rector was my head of national promotions. He would take 10,000 records to the one-stop in Chicago, trade for cash, and then bring cocaine to all the key DJ’s in the country. That’s how it was done. That’s how I took over national airplay on my independent records.

It was very difficult to tell who was what cause Fred took care of business and it wasn’t something I knew about. I knew it was being done, cause I remember when TK was really swingin’ in the 70s with all these hits and there used to be these big Billboard conventions at the Hilton in New York….I would rent out two floors at the Hilton. We invited all these key jockeys, bout 20 key disc jockeys from round the country, and we had rooms for each one and on each table was a huge pile of coke. They’d be snorting on it all weekend.

Each DJ had their own room and whatever lady they wanted to bring, or guy, whatever they wanted. It was fantastic. These Billboard conventions. I had one side of the Hilton and on the other side Neil Bogart from Casablanca Records had the other side. Serious, serious party.

We did it for a couple years, not more than two or three years, cause it was quite expensive yaknow. Anywhere from $25-$50,000, but yknow we got the respect, and to this day the few of the guys that are alive will call me and say, you rememba? Wow Henry you rememeba?”

 

 

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Jul 282015
 

“Sam Cooke, number one, was a singer with a group that I distributed called the Spiritual Harmonizers. Actually, I’m sorry, that’s my group [Spiritual Harmonizers]. It just happened to hit me cause I’m workin on em’. I’m re-releasing my old gospel greats. But, Sam Cooke was with The Soul Stirrers. The Soul Stirrers. Sam was the lead singer with the Soul Stirrers, a terrific gospel group. One day I get a call from California from a record company, a small record company, from a guy by the name of Bob Keane from a little label called Keen Records. He’s the guy that discovered Ritchie Valens from “La Bamba.” He calls me up and he says, “Henry, I know you love Sam Cooke. I got a new record of his I want you to distribute for me.” I said ‘fine,’ and I put the fuckin’ record on the radio down here in Miami, shoooo, “You Send Me,” woooow, boooom, boy. I call Bob and I say ‘I need 10,000, nah 13,000 records right away man.’ And I sold em’ all. I put the song on with Butterball, and boom, at that time I controlled the radio down here. Completely, man, black radio. I built relationships with Butterball, Ed Cook, and Jockey Jack, and all those guys. I’d give em’ like $50 or $100 a record.

See, later on when I became big I used to take care of em’ even right up to the man that just retired, over here, from the station here in Miami, Hot105, 99Jamz…Guy named Jerry. Jerry Rushin. Big man. I got Jerry down here from Ft Lauderdale. I got him his job down here.

Anyway, this is the 70’s already, I got him a job through Joe Fisher up in Ft Lauderdale. Jerry Rushin worked up there for him and I got him down here at WFEC, or MBM, I forget which one, one or the other yknow. And that’s how he started his career. Before he became programming director at one of the biggest stations in the country.”

 

 

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Jul 272015
 

In the 1950’s there were three big disc jockeys in this country. There was Alan Freed in New York, Dick Clark In Philadelphia, and Bob Green in Miami. These three guys controlled all the hit records of the independents, and the majors too, cause there weren’t that many big hits on the majors at that time, it was all the independents.

I managed Bob Green, I was his manager. We became real tight. I was from the Bronx, Bob was from the Bronx, we hit it off, and I directed his career as a disc jockey. I told him what to play. I told him what to play and when to play it. And while he was playing all these great records, he became the number one disc jockey down here, and then we started to run the hops.

We ran hops and Steve Alaimo and his Redcoats were the house band. I used to run these dances with Bob.

We used to get these artists and all the companies. They would send me Paul Anka, you name it, Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker, they would send em all down for nothing, just to get em’ on the Bob Green Show, cause they knew that if Bob was playing a record that Dick Clark would play the record or Alan Freed, It was like a whole combo thing, so they sent all the artists down to my hops, and I’ll never forget the first hop with Bob Green.

ABC sent Paul Anka, and we did fantastic, and I remember Bob was at the 1800 club, lived at the 1800 Club on Biscayne Boulevard somewhere. Bob lived there and I came in to give him his cut of the money. It was all singles, or 90 percent singles, and we started counting out the money and he had it spread all over his room. He said “I never saw so much money in my whole life!” Y’know all those dolla dolla bills.

I had complete control of him financially, spiritually, radiowise, everything. We were buddies, we used to hang out together. We used to go to the track together, that kind of thing. Until, he married a chick by the name of Anita Bryant. I was best man at the wedding by the way, in Oklahoma. Yeah, Bob Green, that was a whole era.

 

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Jul 242015
 

“Nobody was into electric blues, it was just some guys from the south playing guitars like Muddy Waters. Americans were like, “What do they know?” Then all of a sudden people in the UK decided that ‘Ey man that’s cool.’ And then that’s what really started Muddy Waters and all those cats. They were nothin really. They didn’t sell that many records here in the states. I was the distributor. I was great friends with Leonard Chess. I sold some, but it wasn’t like big hits. They didn’t become anything until the Rolling Stones hooked onto them. I just thought they were good blues that’s all, but we didnt sell that much, they weren’t hit records. Little Walter and them. They were just funky blues guys that sold some records, some records, but then they didn’t become big until later on yknow when the British guys got into em. Clapton and the Stones yknow.”

 

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Jul 232015
 

“I distributed all these labels so I had to get the records on the radio in order to get em’ hot and build demand. And what I used to do to get a record on the radio is pay the DJ. I mean, I could get it on for nothin’, but I said fuck it, man, why shouldn’t I get these guys 50 or a hundred bucks, man. It’s not gonna cost me nothin’. I’m gonna get free records for it ya dig? Every thousand records I ordered, they had to give me three hundred for promotion. And I’d make sure these cats would get paid. That’s one thing the jockeys loved about me. It got to a point here in Florida where even the major companies couldnt get a record on these stations cause nobody wanteda touch anybody’s money. They were afraid. They knew if they came through me, man, everything’s cool. They knew, yknow? But some promotion man that just got a job let’s say with RCA. He would say, “Hey man, I got a new whatever record. Here’s 50 or a hundred dollars to play it.” The DJ would say, “Nah we can’t handle that. Ya gotta see Henry.”

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Jul 222015
 

“All due respect, I respect guys like Clive Davis, but they had nothin’ in the street. All they had was big money behind them. I respect him, he had some great ears for Whitney Houston, and with Santana doin the thing he did with Santana, and the other girl. What was her name? Alicia Keys. That was his thing. He had some great ears for that. But he also had some great money to do what he had to do with it. Money. I mean money. I mean huge money. They would spend hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars on their sessions before a record would get released. My session cost me $15 to do “Rock Your Baby.” And it was just as big, if not a bigger hit. And that’s the difference.”

 

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Jul 212015
 

“I had my ear to the ground. I had my ear to the streets. Through either my promotion people or whatever. Wherever the streets came from, I was there. Cause I was always out hustling. Music music music. Henry Stone Henry Stone Henry Stone.”

 

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Jul 202015
 

“When I left King Records about 1956 I guess, Seymour Stein ended up interning there with Syd Nathan. He was a young kid. He must be about 10 years younger than me, must be about 75, or 80 by now.

He fell asleep at my birthday party at the table. He does a great imitation of Syd Nathan, loves to do an imitation of Syd. I became pretty friendly with him through the years. When he left King he was editor of BILLBOARD for a while.

He penned the charts for BILLBOARD in New York. I used to go up there and see him all the time. And then I used to see him a lot when we went to Cannes, France for the music festival. Every year they have that, they still do. It’s called MIDEM. It’s a big deal. I was going there since the very beginning in the 70s. I used to go there with my TK Productions. I was a big man when I used to go there.

I had the biggest independent music company in the world, and they loved discos and dancing in Europe. I used to hang out with Seymour there and he was just one of those real terrific real record guys. He found Madonna yaknow, and The Ramones, The Talking Heads, and he founded the Sire label, that was his, Sire Records. I didn’t know him back in the King days. Syd Nathan and I had already split up. Syd used to talk about that son of a bitch Henry Stone. I guess he respected me as a good record guy yknow. Seymour Stein’s a real good record guy too.”

 

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Jul 172015
 

“The convention was at the 4 Ambassadors, it was the first black convention. We had a lot of incidents happen there. It was a very upheaving convention because of the blackness. It was kinda early in the days of integration. Marshall Sehorn from New Orleans…Whatever the reasons are, these black mafia dudes from New York tried to muscle in on the record business y’know, they got a hold of him, this white guy Marshall, and beat the shit out of him in the elevator. Busted his face open with the butt of a pistol or something.

Also, a threat came through to Jerry Wexler that they were really gonna hassle Jerry Wexler from Atlantic Records. I heard about that and I got a hold of Joe Robinson from Harlem, who later on started Sugar Hill Records with “Rapper’s Delight,” which I put up the seed money for, and I sez, “Joe, we gotta step in and get Jerry out of this convention cause there might be something happening.” Which we did and nothin happened with Jerry. But the threat came through the underground that they were gonna like, they didn’t like what Jerry was doin with the black artists whatever the reason was yknow.

They tried to hold up Jerry Wexler and I stepped in with a couple of my New York mafia guys, black guys from the mafia who I used to have around me too. I had a bodyguard by the name of Rico. But when the black mafia started to move in I got real tight with em’. Rather than fight them I joined them.

Why not?

They tried to get control of the record business but they didn’t, which was great. They didn’t. Too many factions, not just one faction, too many people to deal with. They had their little niche like everything else yknow.

They left me alone though. I had the black mafia protecting me. You remember King Coleman the disc jockey? He brought Joe Robinson to my office cause Joe said he wanted go in the record business. King Coleman said, “You don’t go in no record business without seeing Henry Stone.”

So he came to the office and I said, “Alright Joe, I’ll set you up with the distributors and so the first record he comes up with was Little Sylvia, “Pillow Talk.” A national hit!

And then later on see I was the distributor for his rap records. C’mon whats the fuckin?….Grandmaster Flash. That and what’s the other one? There was three big ones. I was pressing them for him ten thousand at a time. He couldn’t get any pressing on credit, and at that time TK was starting to cook. I had my own pressing plant.

I said, “OK Joe, i’ll make ya a deal. I’ll go in business with ya on the label.” But Joe was a tough guy from the hoodlums in Harlem yknow, and I got along with em great so I made a deal. Some kind of a deal. Not 50% but 20%, and then later on after we’re selling a nice amount of records I get a call from Morris Levy. He says, “Henry. I’ll tell ya what, man, I’m takin over. You’re out.”

I sez, “Good.” Cause I didn’t really wanna get too involved with Joe.

He was too tough. I could handle street shit, but not that Harlem shit, man, at that time that was too rough.

Morris said, “Whatever money we owe, we’ll take care of it.” And he took care of it.

Jul 162015
 

“Al Sharpton was a promotion man for James Brown. He was doin somethin…promotion…or he was like, uh, hangin out. Some of these guys, they’re like hangeronners yaknow, but let’s say I give him the benefit of the doubt that he did some actual promotion for him. That’s when I first met him, through James Brown. And through the years I met him a couple times.

I met him, let’s see….I was on a plane with my lawyer goin up to see Morris Levy cause I was getting ready to split the companies and everything, and Morris was goin’ to Australia before he got busted. And I remember at the airport I hear someone screaming “Henry Stone!!!”

He comes running over and it was Al Sharpton, he says, “Henry, man, I haven’t seen ya in years, c’mere I want you to meet somebody.”

He grabs me by the hand and introduces me to Don King. And he says to Don, “This is James Brown’s man, he’s the only white man you should trust.” Now, Don King, he trusts a lot of white men. He made a lot of money for white people on that boxing shit. Big hustla man, great hustla.

And then I saw Al Sharpton at James Brown’s funeral too. He was glad to see me. And then about a week later we had a big thing here at the Hard Rock Casino, sort of all the James Brown people came down, all those friends and buddies, Al Sharpton, Charles Bobbit, and I think Don King was there too promoting a fight. I remember after the fight we all went into the VIP room and had dinner together with Sharpton. I think that’s when my son Joe met Al Sharpton.”

 

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