Henry Stone was the biggest independent distributor in Florida from the vinyl to the CD age. So he knew the bosses of all the great early indie labels throughout history.
Here’s what Henry had to say about New York City’s Apollo Records, who were not only responsible for early greats by Southern soul powerhouse Solomon Burke, but also Mahalia Jackson and The 5 Royales.
“Apollo Records were one of the first independents out of New York City. I distributed them. It was one of the first r&b labels in the late 40s and 50s, and it was run by Bess Berman. Bess and Ike Berman.
They were married but she was the boss. I think they originally had, he just passed away too, oh god, big fat guy, and later on, if I can think of his name, later on, I know when I went to California, he ended up with a Limo service. I remember him calling me he said anytime you come to California Ill pick you up in my limo. He was a big R&B artist who ended up on Atlantic Records, but I think he started on Apollo. Solomon Burke. Yeah he was on Apollo Records originally, way back when they first started, then he ended up with some pretty big hits on Atlantic and ended up having a limo service in LA.”