Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: While looking at one of my old Charlie Rich records on the Phillips label (“Lonely Weekends”), it finally dawned on me that this label was founded by the legendary Sam C. Phillips — owner of Sun Records.

It made me curious about other record labels of the 1950s and '60s vinyl glory days, that are named after their founders rather than a media conglomerate, such as Columbia, United Artists, and 20th Century-Fox. Are there many?
—Stanley Chesterfield, York, Pa.

DEAR STANLEY: Too many to cover in just one column.

Thank you for narrowing your period of interest to two decades, meaning we don't have to cover Geffen (David Geffen), Curb (Mike Curb), RSO (Robert Stigwood Organization), and countless others of the more recent decades.

Though by no means a complete listing, we will alphabetically document many of that era's record labels, along with mention of those whose names inspired the company.

The quantity of information requires we present this feature as a mini-series, to be continued in the weeks ahead — but without the cliffhanger endings.

Here is A through C:

A&M (Herb Alpert & Jerry Moss); Abner (E.G. Abner); Aldon (Al Donahue); Aljon (Al Browne); Allan (Jerry Allan); Allen (Victor Allen); Almo (Herb Alpert & Jerry Moss); Anna (Anna Gordy); Arvee (Richard Vaughn [i.e., "R.V."]); Avant (James & Dora Avant).

B&B (Bob Buchanan & Bob Nicholson); Bard (George L. Bard); Barthel (Jack Barthel); Be Be (B.B. Densford); Bennett (George J. Bennett); Bernlo (Bernie Lowe); Black (Ted Black); Bo-Jo (Bob Jones); Bobbin (Bob Lyons); Bobby (Bob Center); Brad (Brad Atwood); Brewer (C.H. Brewer); Bruce (Monte Bruce); Bruno (Bruno Ronty); Buddy (Buddy Zelman); Bullet (James Bulleit).

C&J (Charles Johnson); C.J. (Carl Jones); Cardill (Louis Cardillo); Carlton (Joe Carlton); Carter (E.A. Carter); Cee-Jay (Clarence Johnson); Chess (Leonard & Philip Chess); Cholly (Charles "Cholly" Williams); Cobb (Julius Cobb); Cole (Vincent Cole); Coleman (Lander, Melvin, & Russell Coleman); Cook (Emory Cook); Craft (Morty Craft); Currie (John Currie); Curtis (Mort Curtis).

Just so you'll know, your namesake label, Chesterfield, is not on this list because its founder is Virginia Richmond.

Since we might as well make the list as comprehensive as possible, additions are welcomed and will be posted for the online world to see. To submit, click the e-mail link a bit further down the page.

DEAR JERRY: I became a Buddy Holly fan — perhaps even fanatic — in the mid-'50s, and was devastated when I first heard of the plane crash in which he died (February 3, 1959).

I had always collected his records, but in the '80s I bought the ultimate Buddy Holly and the Crickets release, a boxed set with just about everything Buddy ever recorded. It sold then for about $50.

In the early '90s, I stupidly loaned my precious Holly set to someone who never returned it. This guy moved which left me with no way to contact him and retrieve my collection.

Can you suggest a way to replace this set, at something other than at an exorbitant price? I can't find it anywhere.
—Bob Wilson, Jr., Tampa, Fla.

DEAR BOB: This may be easier and less expensive than you realize.

There are several multi-disc, boxed sets of vinyl LPs by Buddy Holly, but I'm guessing the one taken from you is “The Complete Buddy Holly” (MCA 6-80000).

This 1981 collection is, as the name promises, is complete.

A chronological, career retrospective, its six individually themed discs are: 1. “Lubbock, Texas (Western and Bop).” 2. Nashville, Tennessee (Changing All Those Changes).” 3. “Clovis, New Mexico (Buddy Holly and the Crickets).” 4. Clovis, New Mexico (and on to New York).” 5. “New York, NY (Planning for the Future).” 6. “The Collectors Buddy Holly.”

Also included is the booklet, “The Buddy Holly Story: A Pictorial Account of His Life and Music,” by John Beecher and Malcolm Jones.

If this is indeed the set you seek, it can often be found online (eBay and elsewhere), with sales prices in the $35 to $45 range — less than you paid 20 years ago.

IZ ZAT SO? The most successful independent label, which is also first on our list of those named after their principals, is A&M.

Founded in 1962 by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, A&M's impressive catalog includes, among many others: Herb Alpert, Chris Montez, Joe Cocker, Peter Frampton, Flying Burrito Brothers, Carpenters, Cat Stevens, Quincy Jones, Captain & Tennille, Bryan Adams, Police, Sting, Amy Grant, and Janet Jackson.

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