Part of our continuing series on the label founded by Middle Eastern Immigrants.
"Sonny woke me up in the middle of the night to come in where the piano was, in the living room, and sing it. And I didn't like it and just said, 'OK, I'll sing it and then I'm going back to bed.' So I was never a very good barometer." – Cher, speaking about "I Got You Babe".
By the end of the 1950’s Atlantic Records, founded by Middle Eastern immigrants Ahmet and Neshui Ertegun, had established itself as a major player in the R&B field. Ahmet had finally seen his vision of bringing what was once called “race music” to the masses come true. Ever ambitious, he decided to start taking chances on acts that would expand the scope and profitability of his label beyond the Black audience he built his dream on.
(l-r) From 1966, 51 years ago: the ageless Cher and her then-husband, Sonny Bono at their home in Los Angeles. Photographer unknown, courtesy of Atlantic Recotrds.
Starting with Bobby Darin, a white singer originally molded in a Rock and Roll style who wished to do more, Ahmet went for broke and literally blew everyone away with his easy acceptance of new ideas. “Mack The Knife” not only became Darin’s biggest hit, it also garnered Atlantic a Grammy Award for Record of the Year, showing all in the industry that the label was not going to be pigeonholed. How stunned was everyone by the success of the track? Even Darin’s close friend, Dick Clark of American Bandstand, thought Darin was committing career suicide by releasing the track.
Ahmet died ten years ago this month in a freak accident prior to the filming of Martin Scorsese’s Shine a Light film, a documentary feature that featured Ahmet's close friends the Rolling Stones. Spend the next hour with a group of tracks that defy instant categorization and truly illustrate that Ahmet Ertegun was not only a pop music genius, but a man who loved taking chances, a trend continued by his successors.
Our tracks this week: Title, Artist
1. S.O.S., ABBA
2. I Got You Babe, Sonny and Cher
3. Mack The Knife, Bobby Darin
4. Delta Dawn, Bette Midler
5. Killing Me Softly With His Song, Roberta Flack
6. Two of Hearts, Stacey Q
7. He’s So Shy, The Pointer Sisters
8. People Got to Be Free, The Rascals
9. Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites, Skrillex
10. Just a Little Lovin’, Dusty Springfield
11. I Can’t Wait, Nu Shooz
12. Only Women Bleed, Alice Cooper
13. Nights On Broadway, The Bee Gees
14. Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran
15. We Are Family, Sister Sledge
Love to you all.
Ben "Bear" Brown Jr., owner
Ace of Spades PDX