Henry Stone’s Ingredients for a Hit Record: “Me, Artists, Songs, Promoters, Cash, Cars, Cocaine”
“Here’s the ingredients of a hit record company. Number one, ego talkin’, is Henry Stone. That’s number one, but besides me, and the people around me, the artists, the talented people, which is important, I had a promotion man called Fred Rector who was the biggest, best promotion man ever, ever. That was on the R&B side. On the disco side I had a guy by the name of Ray Caviano. I had this combination goin. It was a formula.
And that’s how hit records are made. Really.
It wasn’t just KC and The Sunshine Band, cause they couldn’t have done it without the promotion I put behind them.
And my machine was winning against the major record companies. I mean TK was a major machine, man. Worldwide.
I mean Fred Rector used to come to my office on a Monday, fly in for me, and in 10 days I’d have every major radio station in the country on my records. Whatever number of records I gave him.
He lived in Chicago and he lived in L.A. and he’d fly into Miami. I’d give him maybe three new releases like a Little Beaver, a Celi Bee, and a Latimore just as an example…..three records that I’d already had tested in the clubs and on radio in Miami that I knew were records.
I’d make a phone call to Chicago to one of my one stops up there that I dealt with and say, “Hey, man, I’m gonna send you 5,000 free records. I want you to turn em into cash and give em’ to Fred Rector.”
Then I’d give Fred a check to go cash at M&M Liquors in Hialeah (where Blowfly still cashes his checks), maybe 5 or 10 grand, whateva, and he’d get on a plane immediately and in 10 days I’d have every major station playing my shit starting with Frankie Crocker in New York City.
I had 10 records at a time on Frankie Crocker’s show….course, I used to give Frankie Crocker 10 grand at a time. Same way with E Rodney Jones in Chicago, same way with Al Perkins in Detroit, and Boogaloo in Texas. These guys commanded the biggest stations in their cities….in the country, for breaking r&b records. And I could control their airplay at will. With cash.
And why not. I always made sure the DJ got paid. You gotta spend a buck to make a buck. You can’t have it all.
DJ’s are easy. All you need is cash, cars, broads, booze, or cocaine. Each one of these disc jockeys I controlled had a Mercedes convertible leased to em’. Each one of em’ y’know. I had rental cars all over the country.
And that’s how you make hit records.”
-From a January, 2013 interview with Henry Stone
©Jacob Katel and Henry Stone Music USA Inc. All Rights Reserved