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Episode #566 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 6 – 1953

Air Week: March 8-14, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 6 – 1953

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 six, the entire program is immersed in 1953. The Clovers and Ruth Brown continue to rack up the hits, while Joe Turner enjoys the biggest hit of his career with “Honey Hush.” Atlantic introduces two singers that had been around for a while: LaVern Baker and Clyde McPhatter. Baker had been making records since 1949 with Eddie Penigar, Maurice King and Todd Rhodes, under the names Little Miss Sharecropper and Bea Baker. McPhatter began recording with Billy Ward and the Dominoes in 1950 as their lead tenor and had already racked up several #1 records. Both singers became huge solo artists on Atlantic and their tenures began in ’53. As always, Matt The Cat has thrown in some records that you don’t hear much anymore from Carmen Taylor, Choker Campbell, The Diamonds and Tommy Ridgley. This program is highlighted by an excerpt from 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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