Henry Stone On Why Atlantic Records Didn’t Get Timmy Thomas’ “Why Can’t We Live Together”

“Timmy Thomas’ “Why Can’t We Live Together” is the record that I founded TK Records with and here’s how it all went down, dig?

Jerry Wexler from Atlantic moved here to Florida. Him and Tom Dowd. They were recording out of Criteria with Eric Clapton. Living down here. So I used to go out to lunch with Jerry almost every day. We used to hang out and go out to lunch.

One day he said, “Henry, I got some good news and some bad news.”

I said, “Give me the bad news, man, good news I can always handle.”

He said “In about six months time, Atlantic, Warner Bros, and Elektra are gonna form their own distributing company and pull away from all the independent distributors.”

I didn’t like the idea, cause I did a lot of business with Atlantic and Warner Brothers. But I had a lot of labels, so it wasn’t gonna cripple me as a distributor.

So, that whole time I was a distributor I also had my little 8 track studio up above my distribution office and I still loved making records. Distribution was what I called “Other People’s Money.” But manufacturing was my first love.

And just like that, boom, my next hit record “Why Cant We Live Together,” by Timmy Thomas on my Glades label.

So I’m on my way to New York to make a deal with Atlantic to put out “Why Can’t We Live Together” nationally, and while I’m on the plane I’m thinkin’ “Why am I gonna lease em’ this record and I’m not gonna distribute it. That’s not gonna make too much sense for Henry Stone yaknow.”

So I said “Look, I’m gonna form my own record company, TK Records,” and I released “Why Can’ We Live Together” on TK not Atlantic. And that was the big hit that started T.K. Productions.”


  • From a January 2013 interview with Henry Stone

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