BOBBY ROBINSON

Born 16 April 1917, Union, South Carolina

Bobby Robinson owned a record shop in New York City. He established many record labels in the '50s and '60s, on some he was the sole owner, on others he was in partnership with his brother Danny Robinson. Among them were Red Robin Records established in 1952 (Bobby and Danny), Whirlin' Disc Records established in 1956 (Bobby), Fury Records established in 1957 (Bobby), Everlast Records established in 1957 (Bobby and Danny), Fire Records established in 1959 (Bobby), and Enjoy Records established in 1962 (Bobby and Danny).

Red Robin and Whirlin' Disc recorded mostly vocal group rhythm and blues music. Originally Fury was established as a record label and Fire was to be the publishing arm. When Bobby Robinson issued "Kansas City" by Wilbert Harrison, it was a sensation and went to the top of the singles charts. At the height of this success, Robinson was sued by Savoy Records who, unknown to Bobby, had Wilbert Harrison under a 5 year contract that was to expire in August 1959, the "Kansas City" record came out in March 1959. Because Fury was tied up in litigation, Robinson began releasing material on the Fire Record label. The litigation lasted until September 1959 and prevented Robinson from issuing any follow-up Wilbert Harrison records while he was so hot.

Fire Records became known as a blues label and issued albums by Lightnin' Hopkins, Buster Brown and Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup. Bobby Robinson made occasional forays into New Orleans where he recorded Lee Dorsey and Bobby Marchan.

The biggest hits produced by Bobby Robinson were "Kansas City" by Wilbert Harrison which sold over 2 million records, "Fannie Mae" by Buster Brown and "Ya Ya" by Lee Dorsey both of which sold over one million records. In addition to these artists, he also had hits with Elmore James (some of his best work), Gladys Knight and the Pips (their first recordings), Lewis Lymon and the Teen Chords, Bobby Marchan, King Curtis (Soul Twist), Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford and Les Cooper (Wiggle Wobble). Discography: http://members.tripod.com/hoppula/robinson.htm CD's: The Fire/Fury Records Story, 2 CD-set (Capricorn, 1993). Bobby's Boogie : Bebop, Blues and Sanctification from Red Robin Records (Relic, 1995, 26 tracks). More info about Red Robin Records: http://home.earthlink.net/~jaymar41/redrobin.html

 
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