How Henry Stone Got James Brown a Jet Airplane from Polydor Records
“In the 1960s, James Brown called me up one day and said, “Me and the band came down, got beat out of a date, we’re in Miami.”
I says, “Come on in the studio. I saw at a gig you did somethin called Mashed Potatoes.”
I told him, “I wanna record that.”
So we cut the Mashed Potato with the James Brown Band, with the JBs, but we called them Nat Kendrick, his drummer, and the Swans and that’s how we cut “(Do The) Mashed Potatoes”.
James was on there singing his ass off, but I had to take his voice off cause he was with King Records. I says, “James we can’t have your voice on there we gotta take your voice off,” so I put King Coleman on, the Disc Jockey, and of course that became a pretty big hit record
Now, I have the original recording with James Brown here if someday youd like to hear that.
So then later on, he left King Records, he went with Polydor Records , so he’s up in New York negotiating his contract with Polydor Records. It just so happened that we were at the Hilton, he was at the Maraquette, and I get a call from James. He says, “Henry where are ya Henry?”
I says, “I’m here in New York.”
He says, “Great! Come on over. I’m negotiating with Polydor and having a rough time, come on over.”
So it just so happened the president of Polydor was a good friend of mine, cause I distributed Polydor Records and I come over and James is there with his entourage With Hendry his hairdresser and everyone else. Al Sharpton. The whole crew.
So Polydor’s President calls me over to the side and says, “I think they’re gonna throw me outta the fuckin window here, you gotta help me!”
I said, “Ok whats the problem?”
See I happen to know from bein in the street and knowin the business, and Polydor knew that James was breaking out in Europe and all over the world very big. Maybe James didn’t know that at the time, cause he was always right here in the states, but I knew from my street information that his records were breaking out all over the world, very big, and his contract was up for a negotiation yknow.
So I says, “James, whattaya want?
He says, “I want a jet.”
A jet? I says okay and so I says to the Polydor pres, “You want this thing to go down where everything is cool, get James Brown a jet plane.”
Now they wouldna done it unless they knew his record was huge around the world cause his records weren’t doing that great here in the states at the time, they were doin good, cause he had a pretty good fan base, but where people would sell a half a million records, James was down to 2 or 3 hundred thousand in the states, but around the world in every other country his records were huge in the dance clubs, the pre discos in Europe.
And that’s how I got James Brown a jet from Polydor.”
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