Voices

King Records now a Cincinnati landmark

Last week, the unofficial national musical treasure, King Records, was named a historic landmark of the City of Cincinnati. The now legendary music recording complex, located on Brewster Ave. in the Evanston neighborhood, was one of the most influential recording labels of the 1940s and 1950s and would become the nation’s sixth largest record company. 

King Records was founded by Syd Nathan in 1943 and specialized in country music, advertising itself as “hillbilly music.” The company soon branched out into “race records” on a separate label aptly named Queen Records, which greatly outpaced sales of the main label. Within two years, Queen Records was absorbed into the main label, where the new King Records would go on to boast a diverse catalog of artists in multiple genres including, James Brown, Bootsy Collins, Ike Turner, Hank Ballard, Otis Redding, John Lee Hooker and Lavern Baker.

This November, Cincinnati voters will have the opportunity to vote on a parks levy that will help restore and preserve many parks and public sites, including King Records. During the council meeting, Councilman Wendell Young fondly recalled growing up in Cincinnati with King records, “Very often as a kid, I saw many of these artists and I took them for granted,” Young said. “If you live around it, you don’t often appreciate it until something drastic happens.”

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Assia M. Johnson
Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

 

Image: Steve Halper/New York Times.

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