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Episode #561 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 1 – 1947-49

Air Week: February 1-7, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 1 – 1947-49

Atlantic Records was the most influential, significant and important independent record label to come out of the late-1940s, during a time when there were many great, small indie labels being born. What gave Atlantic the advantage over Specialty, Chess, Modern, Vee-Jay, Exclusive, King, etc is the breadth of material, variety of music styles and the sheer number of hit records that led to the Rock n’ Roll explosion of the mid-1950s. Matt The Cat and the “Juke In The Back” present this behemoth series celebrating the first 10 years of Atlantic’s existence: 1947-57. This week in part one, we’ll look at Atlantic’s first recordings from 1947-49, which mostly feature Jazz and Jazz-inspired Rhythm & Blues. Joe Morris had a killer group, highlighted by future jazz legends Johnny Griffin, Elmo Hope, Percy Heath and Philly Joe Jones. Tiny Grimes’ outfit rounded out Atlantic’s early instrumental offering, before “Stick” McGhee gave Atlantic its first hit record with his big #2 smash “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” in 1949. With the addition of Ruth Brown and her #4 hit, “So Long,” Atlantic was on its way in establishing itself as a Rhythm & Blues powerhouse. This program is highlighted by excerpts of an interview Matt The Cat conducted with Atlantic’s co-founder Ahmet Ertegun, a few years before his death in 2006. So buckle in and prepare yourself for an in-depth, multi-part look at the history of Atlantic Records, which could also be described as a look at the history of American Music itself.


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