Colorradio.com - Artist Name Changes
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I find the subject of different artist names very interesting. The best of intentions by the artist or record label owner had to be changed for a variety of reasons. Someone spelled the name wrong. The name was already in use. The label switched things up to try and breathe life into a record that tanked. The reasons varied, but the end result was the same - they changed it. There was no internet spell check. You couldn't research names already in use with the internet either. It took a fair amount of work to perform the due diligence necessary to issue a record. Many of the label owners had no idea what the record business was all about, and may not even have considered some of the requirements. Below I have a bunch of examples of first and second group names and a small amount of history or facts about the specific record.
The Casuals were a fine vocal group from Dallas Texas. They signed with Don Robey's Back Beat label, which was aimed at a teen audience. This was the fourth release on the label which started their numbered series at #500. They named themselves the Casuals, but after a short time, they had to re-name themselves to the Original Casuals. The reason was that another group had staked claim to the name, and my guess is it was the Buzz Cason Casuals who had a minor hit a year earlier ("My Love Song For You.")
This name change was minor, but still qualifies. The Chandeliers Quintett had a hot regional hit with "Blueberry Sweet" in January 1958. The group featured Luther Rice on lead and they were based in Kansas City, MO. The Chandeliers started singing in high school, in 1954. Angletone/Atlas label owner Tommy Robinson claimed the disc sold 3000 records a week in the height of it's popularity. The Quintett version can be found as a promo or light blue stock copy. The name change as shown dropped the "Quintett", and had similar type size as the original. Later pressings could be found with with large print and another instance with red wax.
This is a rather curious name change. The original record by the Imperials was called "Life Of Ease" and was recorded for the Great Lakes label . The record did not enjoy much success, and the label had just a few releases which included a pair by Sax Kari. This group was no relation the Little Anthony and the Imperials, and was released in 1954. Boulevard was home to the original issue of "Runaround" by Teddy Randazzo and the Chuckles. "Life Of Ease" was also issued as the exact same song, in the same year, but now shows the artist as the Four Arcs. Boulevard was associated with Great Lakes, thus a possible connection. Perhaps a change of group name was hoped to bring new life to the record.
This particular group name change was rather interesting. The first review in Billboard, May 1960, showed the group as the Demensions. In June, Laurie took over the distribution of the record, but did not issue it on Laurie. Rather, it remained on Mohawk and the group name was now Dimensions with an "I". Above you see the first issue and press of the Demensions as originally intended. You also see what is a second or third press of the name spelling of Dimensions, on the Mohawk label. Original Dimensions issues were maroon in color. More info HERE
So who exactly decides to write a song called "Hey Paula" and then name your male/female duo Jill And Ray? Seems the duo - Ray Hildebrand and Jill Jackson were already performing as Jill and Ray, and Hildebrand wrote the song and performed it on their radio show, aired on KEAN in Texas. The response was amazing, and as the story goes, they ended up at Major Bill Smith's Le Cam studios (KFJZ). The last act for the day didn't show up, so they had a chance to cut the record. It started off well in Texas, Alabama, and Atlanta. Soon, Mercury records picked it up and stuffed it on their Philips label. The record hit number one by the end of 1962 and the duo was on their way.
A classic "Oops someone else already has that name" situation. Having just rode up the charts in May of 1957, the "Rosie Lee" Mello Tones had a number 24 record on the Billboard charts. Neither the "Rosie Lee" or "Tonite Tonite" ensembles were the first or the last Mello Tones groups, but the "Tonite Tonite" Mellotones had a promising hit on their hands and had to change their name quick - and decided on the Mello-Kings. Perhaps no one was paying attention to the Billboard charts?
This is just a great record. Why it couldn't get past #45 on Billboard in 1958, is a shame. Ann and Lillian Storey were the Storey sisters, but recorded their record for the Peak label as the Twinkles. Once it started moving, Philadelphia based Cameo records put it on their label, and were capable of distributing it nationally. The Peak issue has a much longer instrumental introduction on it, otherwise the records are identical. The Storey sisters had a few follow-up discs, but they did not get much airplay. The sisters also appeared on several rock and roll shows.
A real classic name change is on the example above. The Royals had some amazing records early on including "Moonrise" and the soon to be classic "Every Beat Of My Heart." By the time they had recorded "Work With Me Annie", Hank Ballard was aboard, and completely changed the way the group sounded. The name change for all intents and purposes was to differentiate themselves from the similarly named Five Royales. They changed their name to the Midnighters and continued to issue (and sell) the record past the time it was in it's peak. A Second pressing 78 with the silver top is on the left, and a first press gold top Federal label is on the right, showing the Midnighters "Formerly Known As The Royals."
The record on the left is a second press of the Midnighters record, with the silver top. The record on the right is the all green Federal label which was then a a third press of the Midnighters record." It is doubtful there would be a an all green Federal press showing the Royals.
A little lesser know Christmas record out of the Chicago area, Johnny Lee had this Diva label release called "Santa's Ride." Sadly, I have pretty much no reliable information. What I do know is that the Diva label is the original label, and the Little Apples label is second. It mentions the Diva issue, and, for some reason, is speeded up just a bit. Also, on the latter label, the artist credit is Johnny Vanelli. Could it be the same artist that recorded on Pre-Vue, Kent and other labels?
This is really a confusing story. You may be familiar with Larry Bright's "Mojo Workout" on the Tide label. This is a follow-up he did called "Twinkie Lee" which was based on Dorsey Burnette's "Bertha Lou" - just reworked a bit with Dorsey assisting in said reworking. Seems Larry Bright got to Rendezvous records after having a disagreement with Tide about some cash up front so he could appear on Bandstand. Neither of those things happened so he signed a contract with Rendezvous while still under contract with Tide. Rendezvous issued the record, dropping writing credits for Dorsey, and apparently changing the publishing. It was issued under Larry Bright, and under the name Pete Roberts, to try and confuse people. Perhaps the Larry Bright version came out first. It has the wrong publishing, no Dorsey writing credits and was a promo. In that case, they would have quickly switched the the Pete Roberts credited disc, but the damage was done. A lawsuit later, and back to Tide records for Bright! He eventually recorded for Delfi and a few other labels.
This record got on the Billboard charts just one week and was #98. It had spotty regional play around the country, on stations like WIBG in Philadelphia and KPHO in Phoenix. From the record number, it looks like the "B" side, but it was actually the side that got the play. I would pronounce the group name similar to the fragrance as opposed to the Earl Lewis Channels group - who MIGHT have been the reason for the name change. The first copies that were pressed just had the group listed as the Chanels, before changing to the 5 Chanels. The Deb label issued a dozed or so records, including a related disc by Virgil and the Four Chanels.
The Flairs/Redwoods were the same group, and had same song in this case. This was the brainchild of Jeff Barry, who also had other groups like the Spartans and Ellie G and the Jets. "Had other groups" meant he generally wrote or co-wrote the songs and had to find other musicians to help create the record. In this case, the Flairs recording of Shake Shake Sherry was first. Stations like KYA in San Francisco and CKWX in Vancouver jumped on it in June of 1961. It was then issued as the Redwoods and CFUN (Vancouver) didn't miss a beat and their charts changed the artist shown to the Redwoods.
The Colts probably never thought they would have their record issued three different ways. The original issue on the Delco label credited the Colts, with a small "Joe Grundy" at the bottom. The picture sleeve that came with the record credited it this way, and for me, I am thinking that is the very first incarnation of the record. There was also a release featuring Joe Grundy and with the Red Coats in small letters. Delco became Del-Co on that issue.
Then they had the variation of Joe Grundy in small letters and the Red Coats featured prominently. To make matters worse, there are variations on the flip sides, but I needed to keep my sanity. Lastly, I have the picture sleeve that was issued with the record. Click on the picture for a bigger view. Anybody have the 24 Karat gold miniature of the record? It is advertised on the sleeve for 25 cents.
Johnny Love, Ronnie Love......OK, so what gives? Ronald Dunbar recorded "Chills And Fever" and it was released in 1960 on the Detroit based Startime record label. Once it started to break out, Dot records got hold of it, and changed his name to Ronnie. The transition took place in October of 1961, so all he had to do is remember who he was. The record peaked at number 72 on Billboard, number 15 on the R+B charts. And well it should have. A great record that just had it all going on.
One of those classic doo wop songs that you don't hear too much anymore. Jimmy Weston and the group had amazing success with this record. They followed it up with good material, but nothing that reached the sales figures of this slice of hot wax. The original record was by the Dandleers on Amp 3. It was issued again as the Danleers, still on Amp 3. In fact, I do have a copy on Amp 3 that shows the Danleers on one side os the label and the Dandleers on the other. The original discs on Amp 3 are machine stamped in the dead wax area.
Mercury did what they had a tendency to so several times: If a record showed promise on Amp 3, they would pick it up and press it on the mothership. Lastly, we have what to me looks like a later pressing of the Amp 3 label, that likely came after the Mercury issue. It has big type on it and the distribution by Mercury is gone.
Speaking of big hits, you can't go much higher than number one. That's where the "Duke Of Earl" parked for fifteen weeks in 1962. The record is on the Vee Jay label from Chicago, and it lit up every teenage based radio station in the country. For some reason, possibly the success of a follow-up recording "Walk On With The Duke" using the artist name of "Duke Of Earl", Vee Jay reissued "Duke Of Earl" with the artist name of "Duke Of Earl." Seems like a comedy sketch in the making here. Who's the artist" Duke Of Earl" What's the title? Duke Of Earl. Good thing Vee Jay didn't change the label name.....
Sometimes when they switch artists and song titles, it makes it tough to be a good detective. This record originally was on Major Bill's Le Bill label, from 1960. Several variations are available. Above is the first pressing of the record titled "Tough." The label name is "scrollier" than later releases, and there is no "Distributed by Roulette". I also have it with the scroll version above and the roulette distribution. It also came out in 1961 by Charlie Jester and the Team Mates titled "Crazy Baby" That was on the Lanar label and for some reason has different writers credited. You can also find this on Le Cam 709 as "Crazy Baby by the Team Mates.
Before you go looking for my email address to complain, this one has a clarification. I have read equal parts on the web of "this is the same exact record" and "this is not the same record." Let me give you the facts as I know them. Herb B Lou/Legal Eagles, AKA Lou Adler and Herb Alpert, have the first release of the break-in novelty disc on the Arch label. The Parkway release is a cover of the original, and was rushed out quickly in the only instance I can think of at this moment of a comedy break-in cover. Listening to both records, they may be using the same slices of current hit records, but the announcer and other voices are not the same. Running time is almost the same for both records. So unless there is a back story that I am unaware of, these are two totally different artists.
An odd one from my Elgins page
. A fairly good sized hit on the west coast, "I Lost My Love In The Big City" is just a great record. Released in 1963, it should have sold more copies. Pressed up on Lummie Fowler's Lummtone label, it did not have the distribution necessary to really break out. Then in 1966, this odd release credited to the Daniels was pressed up on the Lantam label. Lantam was based in Philadelphia and was associated with the Arlen and General labels.
From my Chords page
, I can trace four name changes for the group, with the last one being a stretch. "Sh-Boom" was a monster hit in 1954, and was released on Cat records, a subsidiarity of Atlantic. The Chords found themselves in a tough position as another Chords group took claim to the name, and the Sh-Boom Chords had to make a change. They re-christened themselves the Chordcats and issued "Sh-Boom" under that name.
Following this story, in late 1961, the mothership issued "Sh-Boom" again, this time on their Atco subsidiary. And, they named the group the Sh-booms. Actually, they had already re-named themselves earlier, but this was their first release of "Sh-Boom" under that group name. Lastly, the Popular Five recorded it in 1968. The Popular Five included original Chords member Jimmy Keyes.
The Electras evolved from several early groups, but the line-up included Billy Storm, Chester Pipkin,Gary Pipkin,Warren Joyner, and Billy Mann. "You Lied" was waxed and released in 1962. Notably, the song was written by Linda Carr, group member Warren Joyner, and John Marascalco. Although "You Lied" seemed to be the plug side of the record (Though listed as 012B), many stations flipped it and played the uptempo "Ten Steps To Love", including WDRC and KAYO. Somehow, the new Constellation label from Chicago issued it as it's fifth record fro, 1963. It was the exact same song on both sides, but must not have had much play. Constellation went on to be a major soul label of the 1960's with many big name artists.
This is another classic "Oops" created by the spelling department at the Chex Label. This record was first noted in Billboard on their March 31st, 1962 edition, as a spotlight single of the week. The Valume's misspelling had to be just prior to that. Early radio station surveys show the second record above, with the apostrophe in Volume's. The graphics on the label were also a bit more centered. Also, the distribution by Jay Gee was added on the record shown to the above right.
Finally, they got it right. No apostrophe, no Valume's. Most pressings seem to be the thicker type as shown to the left, above. I have seen many variations in general, but the second most common is the thin type shown above right.
The Keytones had a few recordings in the early 1960's, and certainly had some local success. Local would have been New York or certainly nearby, and you can even see them playing at the Laurels Hotel at Sackett Lake on a youtube video
. The record came out first as the Keytones pictured above left. both promotional and black stock. It was reissued later on as the Eggheads with a label over the top of the Keytones. There were not a ton of groups with the same name, but certainly the Old Town group pre-dated them, though I doubt the group was still active - though the name may still have been.
From Memphis Tennessee, Carroll records was home to Gary Whitby and the Vampires shown above. The record was released in 1964 and flipped with another nice ballad, "Did Anybody Lose A Tear." It has the sound of records released a few years earlier, so it may have been a little late in that respect. If they pushed the "Mother" side, it may not have been a song title appealing to teenagers, and with a name like the Vampires, it may have had local play at best. A year later, the songs were both re-recorded and issued as the Bentleys for the Smash label. The second recording does sound a little better, but still did not have significant impact.
A really great song from 1960, "Cruise To The Moon" was great vocal group harmony by this group from Long Island New York. They were originally know as the Sharptones, and the Fairlanes, before the Josie label named them the Chaperones, relating their new name to dances and proms. When the record was first released, there was a small spelling error, perhaps dyslexic set in, as the second and third letters were reversed (Cahperones). Once fixed, the disc sold fairly well and got substantial play on WMGM in New York. The flip, "Shining Star" also had airplay.
Originally named the Screamer, a name change was in order if they were going to try and sell some records. This band from Sioux City Iowa made one record as the Screamers, before changing their name to the Flairs. It actually had some airplay for them. They cut a few songs at a studio in Oklahoma city, and with time left on the clock, they recorded the Chuck Berry classic, "Roll Over Beethoven." A little time passed and the tapes ended up with Jerry Davis in Phoenix, and it was issued on his new label called Psalms. Their name was changed to the Flairs, in spite of the fact that there were many groups already using that name. The record started selling, and they looked for a distributor/bigger label to help out. That's when the Flairs name issue arose, and they changed to the Velaires and were backed by the Philadelphia based Jamie records. The record peaked at #51 in 1961 and stayed around for seven weeks on the Billboard pop charts. That of course does not count all the regional Midwestern charts that the record already had charted and been spun. Though the Palms release is shown at a hefty book price, reports of 8,000 to 10,000 copies were pressed on that label.
This one deserves a little explanation, as it does not entirely fit the subject of this page. Aardell records was essentially a brand new label based in Hollywood. The first release for the label was by Thurl Ravenscroft (Voice of Tony The Tiger) called Doctor Geek/I'll Pay As I Go, issued in May 1955. The second issue and actually the third issue, were released in July 1955, and were both reviewed right next to each other in Billboard. The Patty Ross version was rated one point higher, and both discs had different flips. Further, the Jaguars backed Patty Ross on her session, so they are on both records. And Patty Ross was the daughter of Bob Ross, who owned Aardell. Of course, both records are different takes of the same record.
This group had the distinction of including Sylvester Stewart (Sly) though the record was not hugely successful. The Viscaynes were based in Vallejo, CA and made a few records in their group harmony career. "Yellow Moon" had some west coast play on KYA and KEWB in San Francisco as the Viscaynes. It peaked as high as 16 on KYA. The record was released a second time and included a different flip side, "Uncle Sam Needs You", and the group name was misspelled Biscaynes - with the Continental Band. Writing credits went to George Motola and Rickie Page.
In 1964, a toy came out on the market called the Jingle Jump. It attached to your heel with a string and a ball. The idea was to make the ball go in circles and hop over it. The Jingle Jump was a huge seller as a toy, and even better, it came with a record and picture sleeve. That's where it all gets interesting. It was issued as above crediting the Apollos and also crediting the Tigers. Both must have been given away in similar quantities as they are both still fairly easy to find. The picture sleeve (Click the records above to see them) credit the "Jingle Jumpers" who never appeared in print on the record. Danny Peil was from Milwaukee, and the group also included Roland (Oeller). My guess is that the Apollos name came first, as Peil replaced Paul Stefan with his group the Apollos. Record was issued in 1965.
This pairing is hard to establish the the first release on. A good story could be justified either way. The "Lion Sleeps Tonight" Tokens had an earlier release on Warwick called "Tonight I Fell In Love" on Warwick. They moved over to RCA and the rest is history for them. Johnny And The Tokens is a completely different group that was put together to try and take advantage of the name recognition of the Tokens previously mentioned number fifteen record, and they showed the Tokens in part of the name. "The Taste Of A Tear" was a great record in it's own right, but only got to number 112 on the Billboard bubbling under charts. My guess is that there was some objection to using the Tokens name, so it was changed on later pressings to the Kings. In any case, a lot less of the Kings records seemed to have been pressed then the Tokens version.
The Revels had a great sound and were an outstanding doo wop group. Lead John Kelly and his High School friends were from Philadelphia and recorded on many local labels and some national. Not to be confused with the surf group on the Impact label, this Revels group had their first noisemaker on Chess, called "False Alarm." It was limited to the East Coast, as was their less popular Teen label release of "So in Love." The Halloween record originally called "Dead Mans Stroll
" was a top 100 record, and they followed it up with another record, based in the somewhat scary vein, called "Foo Man Choo." It didn't really get reviewed, though the February 1960 issue of Billboard insisted it had "Action" and called it "Fumanchu" by the Revels. From what I have see, most of the Ravels pressing are promos with a date code 34004 making it late 1959. And most of the Revels are stock copies with no date code, so my guess is the Ravels came first.
Oops. I don't think ABC wanted to call them the Pony-Tails. Especially after three releases using Poni. Although, it seems most of the overseas pressings used Pony on more than one recording from the Poni-Tails. I suspect this was a printing error, but for ABC both promotional and stock copies were pressed and distributed, before the error was discovered and changed. The Poni-Tails were from Brush High School in Cleveland Ohio, and were originally called the Toni Trio after the group organizer Toni Cistone. Once christened with their new name, they had to grow their hair a bit longer so they could sport the real Poni Tails and match their new name. The record was issued in 1958 and peaked at number seven on the Billboard charts.
The Rinky Dinks recorded "Early In The Morning" on Brunswick and it was a Billboard Pick in October of 1958. Buddy Holly had a version on the charts peaking at number 32. If you look at your Billboard chart data, you also see Bobby Darin with a version. Now it's getting a little complicated. Bobby Darin recorded it as part of the group the Ding Dongs, but was under contract with Atlantic (Atco). And, as a solo artist, had just hit the charts with "Splish Splash." That caused quite an issue with Atlantic, and Brunswick surrendered it over to them, Brunswick retained the name of the group, and Atlantic changed the name of the group to the Rinky Dinks, and filled all the Brunswick pending orders for the disc. The Rinky Dinks version shot up to number 24 on Billboard and was a hit.
Some issues of the Rinky Dinks record also included Bobby Darin's name on it. After all, the name recognition value was big, even though he just had one hit to his name so far. This happens to be a Canadian press of Atco 6121, but a good example of how they presented it on the label. The flip side is also shown.
To try and sum up the career of Bruce Johnston, would take many pages, probably many books. But, Bob Keane at Del Fi records hired Johnston when was 19, to specifically work on the Ron Holden LP after his hit of Love You So broke out so big. They recorded "The Original Surfer Stomp" as by the Surf Stompers, later issued by Bruce Johnston as a single artist, both in 1963. To make things a little confusing, there is also a Bruce Johnston record on sister label Donna (1354) called "Do The Surfer Stomp" had been released in 1962, a year earlier. It was a vocal with an intro at the beginning, trying to give it that live performance feel. You can see it here.
If you listen to oldies from the 1950's and early 1960's, you, at some point, would have heard "Those Oldies But Goodies" by Little Caesar And The Romans. It's a great record from 1961, already celebrating the classic teenage music, yet there was way more to come! Some issues show the artist as just Caesar And The The Romans, while most all copies show "Little Caesar And The Romans. I have the promotional issue shown, though not hard to get, looks like someone banged out the labels on a typewriter in a back room. Which then takes me back to the omission of Little in the group name, on a stock copy. It's always possible they issued stock copies only, with the wrong name, corrected it and started sending promotional discs with the intended name, and then to the stock copy again. Because of the relatively scant few of the records with the wrong name, whatever actually happened, was a very short run and could have been something detected early on, and they just THOUGHT they had pulled all the incorrect labels out of circulation.
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