Disco Legend Henry Stone and HistoryMiami Museum Team For New Collection
"We're really trying to focus on the best of the best of the best of Miami," says John Shubin, a lawyer and one of over 20 HistoryMiami board members. As a University of Miami student he had an early rap radio show. But even he was unaware that some of the earliest hip hop records, like The Sugar Hill Gang's "Rappers Delight," and pre "The Message" cuts by Grandmaster Flash, were actually physically pressed to vinyl by Stone at his manufacturing plant in Hialeah. Furthermore, Stone actually provided the seed money for the creation of Joe & Sylvia Robinson's Sugar Hill Records label.
Hugh is 30 years into her career as a professional archivist, but as a youth in Jamaica she used to love TK Disco records. That serves as testament to Stone's distribution prowess, the means by which he was able to get his product into the hands of people in all corners of the globe. "We are here to preserve history," she says.
James Echols of Soul Of Miami hard at work for Henry Stone Music
Disco is only one of the many highlights in Stone's career. He is also responsible for the dance crazes called "The Twist," "The Cabbage Patch," and "Freestyle." He has worked closely with record execs like Leonard Chess, Ahmet Ertegun, Jerry Wexler, and Syd Nathan. He got James Brown his first jet. He broke Sam Cooke's gospel and R&B output. He recorded BB King for Modern Records. He was on Mel Torme's first recording session. He and TK Records VP Steve Alaimo discovered Sam&Dave. He was the second person to record Ray Charles. He made the first million-selling R&B pop crossover record, and it was before the civil rights movement. He broke techno music in America. He helped invent Miami Bass. The list goes on and on.
On June 3, he will be 92 years old, and he is still recording and releasing new music ("Latimore Remembers Ray Charles"). He's currently working on a movie about his life. He recently released an eBook. He is the last of the original independent record men still breathing. He is the greatest of all time. And he represents Miami to the fullest.
Look out for the Henry Stone Collection at HistoryMiami. Like most things associated with Stone, it's going to be a hit.