Great article about Henry Stone, TK records, George McCrae and “Rock Your Baby” by Mark Anthony Neal on PBS.org for the American Experience Songs of The Summer series.
So much epic information in there and of course an honor to see the Miami sound highlighted by a scholar on a national platform. This is a truly important component to the discourse on canon of American music, rhythm and blues, and Miami’s contribution to it. So a big shout out and much respect to author Mr. Neal and PBS.
Lots of great info in the article, though to clear up some misconceptions, at the time of “Rock Your Baby” in 1974, Stone had already established his Glades, Alston, and TK Records labels with million sellers on a worldwide basis. And the best musicians in Florida, and the country, had flocked to his studios since 1948, always eager to record. Another notable artist on “Rock Your Baby” is Jerome Smith, the guitar player who received $15 from Henry Stone for his studio performance on the session, and went on to top the pop charts with five #1 hits with KC and The Sunshine Band.
Timmy Thomas recorded his million selling “Why Can’t We Live Together” on a Lowrey organ with a primordial built in beat box, not the Roland TR-77 mentioned in the article. Rick Finch says it is this machine that was used for the beat on “Rock Your Baby.” Though to be sure, the message that a cheap drum machine at a little studio in Hialeah changed the world of music till today is heard loud and clear.
McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby” was the first disco hit to go #1 around the world, a feat made possible by a monster distribution deal negotiated for Henry Stone by his lawyer Allen Grubman with RCA. Stone’s powerhouse Tone Distributors handled the U.S., and RCA manufactured and shipped from Japan to Yugoslavia and everywhere in between. This helped the record eclipse Hues Corporation’s “Rock The Boat” which came before it.
Awesome article and look forward to more like it!!