The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is pleased to welcome record label executive and producer Henry Stone for the FREE monthly program From Songwriters to Soundmen: The People Behind the Hits on Wednesday, May 19 at 7 p.m. in the Rock Hall’s Foster Theater.
Stone will be interviewed by the Rock Hall’s Vice President of Education and Public Programs, Dr. Lauren Onkey. Questions will be taken from the audience at the end of the interview.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (216) 515-8426 to RSVP.
About Henry Stone
Henry Stone (born June 3, 1921) is an American record company executive and producer whose career spans the era from R&B in the early 1950s through the disco boom of the 1970s to the present day. He is best known as owner and president of TK Records.
Born in the Bronx, Henry Stone began playing the trumpet in his teens while at an orphanage in Pleasantville, New York. In 1943 he joined the US Army, playing in a racially integrated band and developing an appreciation of what were then called "race records". After being discharged in 1947, he moved to Los Angeles, working on sales and promotion for Jewel Records and the Bihari Brothers’ Modern Records.
In 1948, Stone settled in Miami, Florida and started to record and distribute the abundance of great Miami Blues, Gospel and R&B artists, setting up his own distribution company, Seminole. In 1951, he recorded Ray Charles "St. Pete Florida Blues", among others. In 1952, he started the Rockin' Records label with artists including Earl Hooker and soon had success in both Blues and R&B.
Also in 1952, he established his own recording studio, Crystal Recording Company. In association with Syd Nathan and King Records, Stone then set up the DeLuxe label, releasing The Charms’ "Hearts of Stone", which became his first R&B chart #1 hit in 1954. He was also instrumental in signing James Brown to King, and in recording Brown’s first hit "Please, Please, Please".
In 1955, he established his own independent publishing companies and launched a dozen more Miami-based record labels, such as Dade, Glades, Chart, Marlin, Scott and many more, mainly recording local blues artists. In 1960, Stone cut "(Do The) Mashed Potatoes" by "Nat Kendrick and the Swans" actually James Brown's backing band - for the Dade label. He also set up Tone Distribution (originally Tru-Tone), which became one of the most successful record distribution companies, working with Atlantic, Motown, Stax and many more independent labels. Stone's distribution expertise was instrumental in spreading the music produced by those labels around the world.
While he focused on the distribution business during the 1960s, Stone also continued to record R&B artists. These included Betty Wright, whose "Clean Up Woman" was a major hit in 1971 on his Alston label. Stone also set up the Glades label, recording the million selling hit "Why Can’t We Live Together" by Timmy Thomas. Stone established many different labels on the basis, he said, that it was easier to get records played if the radio stations did not realize they came from the same source. For Stone's Glades label, Benny Latimore aka Latimore hit with the late-night blues anthem "Let's Straighten It Out".
In 1972, Stone heard from Jerry Wexler that Atlantic was going to merge with Warner Bros. Records and Elektra, and handle its own distribution, and no longer use Tone. At that point, he decided to concentrate on recording and manufacturing his own records, forming another new record company, TK Records, based in Hialeah, Florida.
Stone’s greatest success came during the Seventies, with the arrival of the Disco era, a genre he helped launch. He was brilliant at discovering and nurturing new talent. With his great songwriters, recording artists and various record labels, especially the 12” T.K. Disco series, Stone put Miami on the Worldwide Musical Map with what was dubbed “The Miami Sound”. Stone earned 23 gold and platinum records in the 70s. With the signing of KC and the Sunshine Band to his TK label, Stone found his pot of gold (and platinum). The band racked up six number one pop singles, four number one R&B singles, and gold, platinum, and multi-platinum albums.
At the same time that he spearheaded the disco era, Henry Stone created another new category in music idolized around the world – “The Miami Sound.” In addition to KC and The Sunshine Band and George McCrae, TK’s recording artists included Clarence Reid (“Nobody But You Babe”), Little Beaver (“Party Down”), Peter Brown (“Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me”, “Dance With Me”), Bobby Caldwell (“What You Won’t Do For Love”), Anita Ward (“Ring My Bell”), Beginning of the End (“Funky Nassau”), Foxy (“Get Off”), T-Connection (“Do What You Wanna Do”), Gwen McCrae (“Rockin' Chair”) and Latimore with such greats as “Let's Straighten It Out” and many more.
In addition to being one of the more colorful characters in the music business, Henry Stone is one of the last independent label executives still standing who was in the mix with many of the heavyweight labels owners and artists from the 40s, 50s, and 60s, with names like Syd Nathan, George Goldner, the Bihari Brothers, Ewart Abner, the Erteguns, Jerry Wexler, Hy Weiss, and Morris Levy.
Henry Stone has received many gold records and awards over the years for his labels’ music. Most recently, in 2004 he was awarded the first ever Pioneer Award by the Dance Music Hall of Fame, their first honor to a non-performing artist. He also was honored the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award by the Winter Music Conference, one of the largest international music conferences in the world.
Now, with his new labels, The Legendary Henry Stone Presents, Henry Stone Music USA, Inc., and HSM Music, music lovers everywhere will now be able to listen to many of the rare and cherished classics created by Henry Stone, as well as brand new productions from the ever-creative mind of Henry Stone. For more information and much of the music, check out www.henrystonemusic.com.
“From Songwriters to Soundmen: The People Behind the Hits” gives Rock Hall audiences an inside look at aspects of the music business that are often concealed from view.