jamie
jamie
@jamie
 

Jamie Records was founded in 1956 soon the year after the beginning of Universal Record Dist Corp., which was devoted to the regional promotion and sales of independent record labels. Both based in Philadelphia, they responded to the early stirrings of a new music that was not dominated by the major record labels and the big band sounds that had filled the post-World War II airwaves. Philadelphia was already experiencing the new music through a radio show on WPEN where teenagers danced to new records and sat in gym bleachers between songs. Television tried a similar show on WFIL, the ABC affiliated station, where Bob Horn was exciting a teenage audience with a similar format.

Jamie Records started within a year before Dick Clark’s taking over the WFIL program, which the ABC network experimented with putting on the air nationally in the dull summer months before the fall season started up again. Dick Clark and American Bandstand propelled the new music—and Philadelphia--into unanticipated prominence.  It became the center of a new industry that relied on independent labels distributed by a network of independent distributors. Previously, major labels covered popular regional or ethnic songs to provide the national exposure the little labels could not provide themselves. The new music industry went hand in hand with a new self-conscious teenage market that it helped create, sustain and make a permanent part of the years from the mid 1950s.

Jamie Records’s early years were dominated by Duane Eddy, who became the largest selling instrumentalist of all time and had a steady stream Jamie releases from 1958 to 1962, a variety of singles, EPs (4-song 45s) and LPs, including his first album, Have Twangy Guitar Will Travel, that spent over 80 weeks on the bestseller list and was one of the very first albums with a stereo version (costing an extra dollar). A largely overlooked aspect of Jamie was its wide ranging source of releases. Duane Eddy, Jimmy Dell, Lee Hazlewood, Sanford Clark, the Velaires, and Mirriam Johnson (later Jessi Colter), not to mention Donnie Owens on Guyden, were all Phoenix-based artists, an unusually distant source of product for an independent label in the 1950s. California provided Jamie with The Sharps, the Blackwells, the Sheiks, Tony Allen & the Wonders, and Bobby Please and the Pleasers. From Nashville came Dallas Frazier, Mac Davis and Anita Carter.