King Records was the pioneering independent American record company that first signed James Brown in 1955 through its Federal Records subsidiary. King also recorded and manufactured music by Earl Bostic, Bill Doggett, The 5 Royales, and Little Willie John. It also specialized in “hillbilly records,” early country music similar in content but different in style to rhythm and blues.
King Records was a vertically integrated manufacturing and distribution company with a bevvy of family investors. They used their own studios to record, had their own pressing plant for cranking out records, their own printing press to make labels, they even manufactured their own boxes and sleeves. On top of that, they had their own distributors and promotion men stationed in various markets throughout the country selling the product to jukebox operators and later one-stops and retailers..
King didn’t need to go through independent regional distributors like Henry Stone because King built its own national sales force. Later, the overhead on doing business that way got to be too much. But for a long time it was an independent company manufacturing and distributing its own hit product nationwide.
The Miami branch of King Records was run by Marvin Novak, who became a close friend of Henry Stone.
Here’s what Henry had to say about King Records in Miami:
“Marvin Novak, Marvin Novak, Marvin Novak, hahaha, quite a character, man. I spent a lot of time with him. His nickname was Falsie. That was a name I guess he picked up growing up with Syd Nathan and his clan. He was Syd Nathan’s boy.
The actual story is that Syd Nathan’s family sort of adopted him in Cincinnati, and he ended up like working for Syd. I was associated with him because my DeLuxe label was part of King Records.
The last time I saw him was about ten years ago at the track. I don’t know if he’s still alive.”
“We actually had our offices next door to each other when I was on SW 8th street and 12th Avenue. The King Records branch was right next door to me.
I started working with King records in 1954. I had a huge hit record on the DeLuxe label through King. I don’t know if youre familiar with that, “Hearts of Stone,” well that was me, that was the first million selling record that crossed over into the pop charts from the r&b charts on Billboard.”
©Jacob Katel and Henry Stone Music USA Inc. All Rights Reserved.
From 1946 to 2014, Henry Stone ruled the Florida music industry with an iron fist, a brick of cash, and a warehouse full of vinyl. HSM is the last of over one hundred record labels he personally founded. This record label includes works from every decade in his sixty-five year career right up until today. Licensing available for film, samples, advertising, movies, video games, and more. Family owned and operated.