An Abbreviated History of Sonny Thompson, Legend of Chart Records, Miracle Records, and King Records


Who Was Sonny Thompson?

Born Alphonso Thompson in Centerville, Mississippi on August 22, 1916, Sonny Thompson began his musical education at the Chicago Conservatory of Music. But his real interest was jazz piano, particularly Earl Hines and the pyrotechnics of Art Tatum, who he saw perform in the 1930’s at a Chicago nightclub. Tatum became Sonny’s major influence.

He made his recording debut on the small Detroit label Sultan in 1946. Post war Big Bands were out and small jump combos usually with saxophone or piano on lead were in. This was the music of the nightclubs and large dancehalls. Its largest appeal was to the black middle class; and it became the most frequently recorded music of the era.

In the late 1940’s, Sonny signed to Miracle Records and his first hit was “Long Gone Part 1 and 2.” In 1950, he went with King Records. In 1955, he hooked up with Henry Stone’s King subsidiary DeLuxe, where he backed the Charms doing their million-selling “Hearts of Stone.”




Henry Stone eventually left King Records and formed the Chart label. He took Sonny Thompson and David Brooks to Miami with him where Sonny was a Chart solo artist and producer. Brooks was Sonnny’s tenor man and played with him over many years.

Miami is where the Sonny Thompson Chart Collection was recorded, including the Champions, the group that Sonny formed and played with. After leaving Stone, he went to Chicago to run the King Records office as the A & R Director.


February 24, 7:00pm. Gramps, 176 NW 24th St, Miami, Florida 33127

Discover Miami’s musical roots with classic analog recordings by the legendary Henry Stone in the 1950s.

Free to the Public


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