Roulette Records is a
record labelwhich was founded in late 1956 by George Goldner, Joe Kolsky, Morris Levyand Phil Khals, with creative control given to producers/songwriters Hugo Perettiand Luigi Creatore. Levy was appointed as director. Goldner subsequently bowed out of his partnership interest in Roulette, and sold his labels Tico, Rama, End, Gone and Gee record labels to Morris Levy to cover his gambling debts. Peretti and Creatore later left Roulette Records and worked as freelance producers for RCA Recordsthroughout the 1960s. At the end of the decade, they co-founded Avco Recordsin 1969. Levy grouped Gee, Rama and Tico into Roulette Records. Some years later, Levy also bought Gone Recordsand End Recordsfrom Goldner. In 1958, Roost Recordswas purchased. In 1971, Roulette took over the catalog of Jubilee Records.
During the early '60s, Roulette scored a number of hits connected to the Twist craze, most notably by releasing "
Peppermint Twist" by Joey Dee and the Starliters. They also released a rare album of "Twist songs" by Bill Haley & His Comets, "Twistin' Knights at the Roundtable". Another major 1960s hit for the label was " Mony Mony" by Tommy James and the Shondells. It was also on the Roulette label that, in 1964, Stephen Stillsand Richie Furayfirst recorded together while in the nine-member A Go Go Singers, house band for the famous Cafe A Go Goin New York.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Roulette was one of the major distributors and
rack-jobbersin the country, handling records for many major firms. Levy was long suspected of using his record pressing plants to over-produce runs of certain top-selling LPs, "back-dooring" the records to sub-distributors as a way to defraud the major labels out of royalty payments.Fact|date=April 2008
Although founded by husband and wife Joe and
Sylvia Robinson, Morris Levy would be the key financial founder for another project, the rap music label, Sugar Hill Records in 1974. The rap label would create the first Top 40 rap single, " Rapper's Delight," in (1979). In the early 1980s, the Robinsons bought Levy out.
Henry Stoneturned to Levy to help salvage the demise of TK Records, so they set up Sunnyview Recordsunder the Roulette umbrella. In 1986, Morris was exposed and convicted for extortingmoney from an FBI informant, a small-time music wholesalernamed John LaMonte. Levy was tried and convicted on charges of extortion but died in Ghent, New York before serving any time in prison. In 1989, Roulette Records was sold to a consortiumof EMIand Rhino Records, who were later brought out by The WEA Group ( Warner - Electra - Atlantic ) . Warner Music Group now has the rights to the Roulette pop/ R&Bcatalogue in North America, while EMI has the rights in the rest of the world. EMI has the globalrights to the jazzcatalogue and the "Roulette" name.
Today, EMI uses the "Roulette" name for the reissue of old Roulette label material. In the
United States, Blue Note Recordshandles the Roulette jazz catalogue for release on the Roulette Jazz label.
Roulette Records artists
*Alive and Kicking
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Joey Dee and the Starliters
Bill Haley & His Comets
Tommy James & the Shondells
Rome & Paris
List of record labels
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