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Please note the Library & Archives will be free and open without an appointment for visitors to view the exhibit 9AM - 5PM every Friday throughout the exhibit.
If you wish to visit a different day of the week, please contact us to make an appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|From 1943 to 1971, Cincinnati's King Records and its subsidiaries, including Queen, DeLuxe, and Federal, revolutionized the ways in which popular music was recorded, manufactured, distributed, and promoted. Under the leadership of founder Syd Nathan, King became a major independent record label, with nearly 500 singles on the R&B, country, and pop charts, and 32 songs making it to Number One.
This traveling exhibit on the history of King Records was developed to tell the unique story of this influential company beyond its home of Cincinnati. Following a symposium and exhibit at the Public Library of Cincinnati in 2008 to mark King Records’ 65th anniversary, King Studios, a nonprofit organization was formed at the original King Records headquarters. With funding from ArtsWave, King Studios board member Tim Riordan, the Community Building Institute, historian Brian Powers and designer Chris Schadler collaborated to visually present 30 years of legendary music created by King Records.
The traveling exhibit has been enhanced with artifacts and archival items from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s collections. Over 20 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees recorded at King Records, including Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, Dave Bartholomew, James Brown and the Famous Flames, Bootsy Collins, the “5” Royales, Little Willie John, Freddy King, and Professor Longhair. In 2008, King Records was officially designated as a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame landmark. At the ceremony, then-president Terry Stewart stated, “There’s not a more important piece of real estate in musical history than the building over there on Brewster.”
Our Library & Archives staff has curated a Spotify playlist showcasing some of our favorite music released by King Records during its 30-year history. The playlist can be accessed at http://bit.ly/RHKingRecords.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum | Library and Archives
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