Instagram
Dec 122013
 
Producer Wiliie Clarke, TK Productions' Henry Stone, and the legendary Pollard Syndrum

Producer Wiliie Clarke, TK Productions’ Henry Stone, and the legendary Pollard Syndrum

Willie clarke was here the other day. Boy, he is the funniest little guy. We got into reliving the whole “Ring My Bell” record, which was all put together in TK Studios yaknow.

The producer on the song is Frederick Knight. He was working with the singer Anita Ward, and Willie Clarke engineered the original instrumental with The Wisdom Band. “I worked with Wisdom a whole lot,” he remembers, “they were real funky, man.”

Willie, says it ended up that he hadda go on the road or something with Betty Wright and that a guy named Wizard ran off with the tape. Wizard was a sort of promo man or radio somethin’ or other. He was a hangaround guy, always hangin’ around the studio.

Me, I was at my New York office on 54th street in Manhattan. Me and Allen Grubman was up there makin’ deals and I would be back and forth to Miami checkin on the music and doin what I hadda do.

Willie claims that it was his idea to put that electronic drum sound in the track. He says nobody wanted to use it, but when the song hit everybody else wanted to take credit for it. “I can’t sleep at night,” he says now, “I should have 50% of that.”

I never seen a record move so fast. Within 3 or 4 weeks of bein’ out it was number one on the Billboard charts.

That electronic “dooooo!” is the sound made by the Syndrum. Willie Clarke still has it to this day. It’s made by Pollard, and it was the first ever electronic drum.

He says “I used it on a lot of things that I cut.” It was part of the whole TK sound.

Dec 052013
 

henrystone_artbasel2013_wynwood_streetart_001

Lookout Wynwood! Mysterious Henry Stone street art posters have been taking over the neighborhood as Art Basel Miami 2013 descends on the city.

We don’t know who the crusaders putting these up are, but it’s good to know that as the eyes of the world are upon Miami this week, that the creator of the Miami Sound of music will be recognized too.

If you don’t know, Henry Stone is a pioneer in R&B, soul, funk, disco, dance, and hip hop music. He produced the first version of The Twist, and wrote a song covered by Frank Sinatra. He was friends with Leonard Chess, and the first distributor for Atlantic Records.

From recording Ray Charles in a warehouse on Flagler street in 1951, to discovering Sam&Dave, Betty Wright, Little Beaver, Latimore, George McCrae, KC & The Sunshine Band, Timmy Thomas, Blowlfy, Willie Clarke, and many more, Henry Stone is a giant in the world of modern music history.

From being James Brown’s Godfather, to selling hundreds of millions of records around the globe, Henry Stone has never lost the flavor of the streets of the City of Miami, and now they bear his face in tribute to that legacy.

henrystone_artbasel2013_wynwood_streetart_003

henrystone_artbasel2013_wynwood_streetart_004

henrystone_artbasel2013_wynwood_streetart_005

henrystone_artbasel2013_wynwood_streetart_006

henrystone_artbasel2013_wynwood_streetart_007

henrystone_artbasel2013_wynwood_streetart_008

henrystone_artbasel2013_wynwood_streetart_009

henrystone_artbasel2013_wynwood_streetart_010

Dec 032013
 
The Paradise Garage

The Paradise Garage

I remember when the dance club DJs first started in New York City. It was in the 1970s when I hired Ray Caviano to promote my TK Disco 12″‘s. He was in charge of basically the New York office. And he got all my new music played in all the hottest New York nightclubs. Let’s call him now, he’ll give you the whole history 

(Henry dials the phone)

Ray Caviano: Hello? Heeeenry Stooooneeeee!

Henry Stone: Hey, Ray Caviano, just the man I wanteda talk to! We’re gonna do a blog on the original DJs from New York….

Ray Caviano: Well some of the main guys were Jim Burgess, Roy Thode aka The Saint, Richie Kaczor from Studio 54, Richie Rivera, Larry Levan from Paradise Garage. And Bobby DJ, he was one of the originals. These were some of the main guys at the original New York dance clubs in the 1970′s.
 
Larry Levan was the man of the scene of the Paradise Garage. He perfected the sound. He was very responsible for breaking dance music in the city. The Paradise Garage was the most exclusive club. All the radio power players were there to see what was breaking on the dance floor. Just anybody couldn’t walk in there. It was a very private, very special place. And they didn’t serve liquor.
 
It was about 1977 that it opened, and it really set the trend until the early 80′s.

There was also David Mancuso, who started a club called The Loft, which was around before The Paradise Garage. David was one of the key people that started private dance parties in the New York area. He was tight with Judy Weinstein who was very important with her For The Record record pool. She serviced about 150 DJ’s, and she always got 150 copies of each new TK Disco release.
 
I was there.


 
I would do the whole circuit with all the new TK Disco records. Four or five clubs a night, just about every night of the week.

I was a VIP everywhere I went, fuhgettaboutit. Most people could never ever get in to Studio 54, but I walked right in anytime I wanted, straight to the DJ, who would always smile when they saw me cause they knew I had that new TK Disco for them to play.

We were the hottest in the game.
 
I first met and was recruited by Henry Stone through our mutual friend Allen Grubman. I was working on other records for him, dance records. Me and Tommy Mottola. Songs like “Turn The Beat Around” by Vicky Sue Robinson. Allen Grubman introduced me to Henry Stone and the rest is history.
 
Nowadays radio doesn’t play new music. Back then, clubs were the testing ground for all new potential hits in the market. Hot club songs became hot radio songs became hit records. That doesn’t exist anymore the way it did.
 
But for the club DJ’s, it’s the same formula: make sure everybody is dancing and having a good time. The culture of the DJ and the essence is still the same. That party energy, that excitement is the same. And people are still dancing and celebrating. The experience is the same, there’s just new technology. It’s totally different, but it’s fundamentally the same.

Dec 032013
 
Henry Stone

Henry Stone, living legend of the music business

I remember goin to the first Art Basel Miami Beach, at the convention center. Nobody knew what it was. It was like in 2001. An artist friend from New York named Twinny told me and my wife Nezzie about it. She was all excited. She knew all about it. She was so into it y’know, “Ooooh Art Basel is going to be in Miami!”

Nobody else really knew what it was. But Twinny was really into it.

Twinny is Barry Weiss’s aunt. Barry’s the CEO of Universal Records, and the son of one of my best old friends from the music business, Hy Weiss. Hy Weiss and his brother Sam founded Old Town Records. They had tons of artists like Bobby Blue Bland and Arthur Prysock. Later, Sam and his son Michael founded Nervous Records, the electronic music label. Michael runs that now. That electronic music is what’s taken over and replaced all the live acts in the clubs.

Anyway, this Art Basel Miami Beach has really become a huge event. It’s good for the city. All the hotels are full. That first year I went was pretty exciting. I remember walking through and seein all the art. I still had my eyesight at the time, hadn’t gone blind yet. I’ve been all around the world to every kind of convention you can think of, and this one is as good as the best of those. Even better, it’s right here at home in Miami.

I know now they’ve got all that action in Wynwood too. I went last year and checked out the street art, and the murals. I may be blind now, but I’ve still got my great vision, and I can see that this whole Art Basel Miami Beach adds a great energy to the first week of December.

Nov 212013
 

Be a Part of Music History with Henry Stone

Hello to all our fans and friends,

Attention, any and all visitors to the old TK Productions, Tone Distributors and TK Studios in Hialeah, Florida. People from around the world made the trip to visit us in the 1970’s to see where this music that was changing the world was coming from.

We are searching for photographs, film footage, original tapes and ephemeral items (contracts, notes, letters, etc).

ephemera2

A documentary film is currently in production about the Miami Sound, TK Productions, and Henry Stone the man behind it, titled Rock Your Baby.”

We are asking people to dig deep into their personal archives for any images and ephemera from this magical time in music history. If you know anyone who might have some of this history, please share this with them. All items will be returned, if so desired.

If you have photographs, film footage or ephemeral items from TK Productions, Tone Distributors, or the artists and staff involved, please contact us here.

Thank you very much!

Nov 142013
 

The Billion Dollar BandThe Billion Dollar Band
Available for download
01 Get In the Groove
02 Candy Girl
03 Love’s Sweet Notions
04 Big Time Spender
05 Without Your Lovin’
06 I Like Whatcha’ Doin’
07 Smiling Morning Love
08 Let’s Just Be Friends
09 Our Love
10 Money Don’t Grow On Trees

This rare one and only album release of pure 1970′s Miami Soul, R&B from The Billion Dollar Band Featuring Miami Horns with Mike Lewis The Miami Strings with Bernie Marks. If you like Earth Wind & Fire you will love the Billion Dollar Band.

iTunes

Nov 132013
 

When Steve Alaimo was in college he had a band called the Redcoats. Around that time, he started hangin’ around with me as a promotion man, sort of a hangaround guy, and I’d take him up to Ernie Busker’s place, the Palms Of Hallandale to see BB King and James Brown. I think it really influenced his sound and the way he sung and the way he performed. Man, Steve was great on stage.

Later I got him on as the opener for James Brown for a stadium show in Miami, and after the gig James said to me “Don’t ever let that whiteboy on before me again.” That’s how good Steve was. James didn’t want him stealing any of his thunder.

When he was first starting out he played rooms like The Eden Roc on Miami Beach and later the big room at the Diplomat Hotel. He was doing standards, show tunes, good ol music, yaknow…music.

William Morris was the first agency to handle him and one of his first agents was Famous Amos. That’s what he did before the cookies, he was Steve’s talent agent at the William Morris Agency.

I’d say that Steve was really the first blue eyed soul singer to come along yaknow.

Sincerely,

Henry Stone

Nov 052013
 

sam_moore_ofsamanddave1
Sam Moore came down and did the interview for my movie “Rock Your Baby.” He was in the group Sam & Dave, who are the biggest selling duo in the history of music.

I used to see em’ play over at the King Of Hearts in Liberty City. Guy named John Lomelo owned the club and was also basically their manager.

Steve Alaimo worked with Sam and Dave here in Miami. He worked the clubs like the Knight Beat and The King Of Hearts with them. And then he produced some records on them for my Alston and Marlin Records that ended up on Roulette. Those were the first sides they ever cut. Later I was instrumental on their recording with Isaac Hayes and David Porter down at Stax for Atlantic, but that’s another story.

You’ll hear all about it in the movie.

Steve went down to a little club in Downtown Miami and met up with Sam Moore there and my movie director Mark Moorman and his film crew, and they shot some helluva scene there. Steve was the one who really produced their records down here. They also filmed at the Criteria Studios yknow, now it’s called the Hit Factory. That’s where they cut some of those Alston and Marlin records that ended up on Roulette.

Steve said it went over very good. They were just talking about old times, talkin about Sam Cooke and some of the old artists that used to come down.They said the filming went very good. Mark Moorman the director was very happy

I havent spoken to Sam Moore in 50 years now. I’m really happy for his success. He’s still out there. Still working. Apparently doing real good for himself.

The reports I’m getting on the film is that they’re just about through filming. The next phase is the editing and the post production, which, should start immediately yaknow.

The film should be released by the middle of 2014.

Oct 252013
 

On Tuesday, October 12, the Miami-produced “Art Loft” show on WPBT2 public television, did a segment on Henry Stone and the upcoming “Rock Your Baby” documentary film. In this episode of art loft, host Kalyn James and the art loft crew bring you a Miami music legend look back on a fascinating life and the music from Miami that changed the world.


Oct 142013
 

On October 12, 2013, at the newly renovated Milander Performance Center, over 1200 disco fans gathered for one big night of the Miami Disco Fever Reunion! Organized by long-time promoter Charlie Rodriguez and hosted by popular radio DJ Leo Vela, the night featured performances from some of the biggest names in disco, including George McCrae, Timmy Thomas, Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne, as well as a KC and the Sunshine Band tribute by the Old Skool Gang.

Henry Stone, the legendary founder of TK Records and many other labels, received a proclamation from the Mayor of the City of Hialeah, Carlos Hernandez. Mayor Hernandez is himself a big fan of TK Records and joined in with the people who packed the dance floor throughout the night. The day of October 12, 2013 was proclaimed as the official TK Records Day in Hialeah.

Henry Stone’s labels throughout the 1970s cranked out hundreds of hot tracks and included over 25 gold and platinum records, all from a little studio in the upstairs of his distributor warehouse in Hialeah. Some of his biggest acts included George McCrae on TK Records, KC and the Sunshine Band on on TK Records, Latimore on Glades, Bobby Caldwell on Clouds, Gwen McCrae on Cat, Foxy on on Dash, Jimmy “Bo” Horne on Sunshine Sound, Anita Ward on Juana, Timmy Thomas on Glades, Betty Wright on Alston, T-Connection on Dash, Peter Brown on Drive and too many more to list. Dozens of artists passed through his doors throughout his 60+ years in the music business and Henry’s impact on both the music and the business has been felt throughout the world.

The Miami Disco Fever Reunion on October 12, 2013 was a fitting tribute to a man who has done so much for the music business.

Click here to see more photos


Photos Courtesy Jake Katel

Oct 142013
 

October 12, 2013 Proclaimed TK Records Day in Hialeah, Florida

The Miami Disco Fever Reunion took place on October 12, 2013 at the Milander Performing Arts Center in Hialeah. Organized by Charlie Rodriguez Live Entertainment and hosted by Leo Vela, several TK Disco artists performed including George McCrae, Timmy Thomas, Jimmie Bo Horne, and the Old Skool Gang did a KC and the Sunshine Band tribute.

Henry Stone received a proclamation from City of Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez declaring it TK Records Day! Well over 1000 people danced and partied the night away to some of the best music from the 70s disco era. Full text of the proclamation below the image.

hialeahproclamation

Proclamation
Whereas: The City of Hialeah is proud to recognize TK Records. This record company was an American record label started by record distributor Henry Stone in Miami, Florida. TK Records is one of several labels that he founded in the 1960s and 1970s. It distributed disco star KC and the Sunshine Band until 1981.

Whereas: TK Records is closely associated with soul/R&B and the early rise of Disco music, being the label on which the second bona fide disco song (after the Hues Corporation’s “Rock The Boat”) to reach #1 on the pop music charts was released. Other artists who had an impact on the label or on one of its many subidiary labels include Betty Wright (on Alston), Benny Latimore (Glades), Peter Brown (Drive), Foxy, Kracker (Dash), Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne (Sunshine Sound), Timmy Thomas (Glades), Gwen McCrae (Cat), T-Connection (Dash), Bobby Caldwell (Clouds), and Anita Ward (Juana). Within a couple of years, TK’s notability in disco music would be surpassed by other labels, such as Casablanca Records and RSO Records, but, in the early years, TK was undoubtedly in the top tier of the disco genre.

Now, Therefore: I, Carlos Hernandez, Mayor of the City of Hialeah, under the power and authority vested in me, do hereby solemnly proclaim this Saturday, 12th day of October, 2013, as:

TK Records Day

In Hialeah, and urge our more than 225,000 residents to join me in honoring this event.
In Witness Whereof, I have herunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the City of Hialeah to be affixed this 12th day of October 2013.

Carlos Hernandez
Mayor