One day in 1955, Syd Nathan called Henry Stone in Miami and said, “Drive up to Macon and check on this guy with the “Please, Please, Please” and sign him to DeLuxe.”
Nathan had called his other cronie Ralph Bass and told him the same thing, except Bass was in Alabama when he got the call so he got there first and signed James Brown to Federal Records.
It’s part of why Henry called Nathan “An early genius.” But the King Records empire was a family corporation, and the family always got paid first.
So despite the best intentions of both Nathan and Henry, their partnership in the DeLuxe nearly ended with a Cincinnati fist fight. Violence averted, they went to court and made a settlement instead. Either way, DeLuxe put out a lot of great music in a pretty short time, and a nice chunk of it from the streets of Miami and the back roads of Florida. But also from the streets of Ohio, where Henry found Otis Williams and The Charms singing on a street corner. Their “Hearts Of Stone” was a million seller back when that was a new phenomenon (for independent records from R&B artists).