Art Rupee, the music director who helped R&B become mainstream, has died at the age of 104.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member founded Specialty Records in Los Angeles in 1946 – giving early breaks to people like Sam Cook, Little Richard and John Lee Hooker.
Rupp died Friday at his home in Santa Barbara, California, and the cause of death has not been identified.
His most lucrative and important signature was rhythm and blues artist and gospel Little Richard, who initially struggled to break through commercially.
Rock’n’roll historian and musician Billy Vera described Rupee as “one of the great men I know”, adding “RIP my friend” to a Twitter post.
In an interview with the Rock Hall archives in 2011, Rupe said: “There was something in the voice of Little Richard that I liked.”
The initial recording sessions were not inspiring – but during a lunch break at a nearby inn, Little Richard sat down at the piano and pushed a song he had performed during club meetings, Tutti Frutti, with her immortal opening shout: “A-wop-bop -a-loo-mop-a-wop-bam-boom! “
Released in September 1955 and one of the first major rock’n’roll hits, Tutti Frutti was a manic but purer version of the rough original.
Little Richard’s other hits with Specialty include rock classics such as Long Tall Sally, Good Golly Miss Molly and Rip It Up, before he suddenly (and temporarily) retired in 1957.
In the mid-1950s, Sam Cook sought to expand his appeal beyond gospel and recorded some songs in Specialty, including the hit You Send Me.
Rupe found the song tender and was horrified by its white backing singers and left Cook and his manager to buy the copyright and release You Send Me via RCA.
The music executive was known for how little he paid his artists, forcing performers to sign contracts, leaving him with a large or all of his fees and publishing rights.
Little Richard sued him in 1959 for remuneration and settled out of court for $ 11,000.
Billy Vera wrote in the notes to The Specialty Story, a set of five CDs released in 1994, that the growth of Specialty Records was parallel and perhaps determined the evolution of popular black music.
Art Rupee – the music director who helped R&B become mainstream – dies at 104 | Ents and art news
Source link Art Rupee – the music director who helped R&B become mainstream – dies at 104 | Ents and art news