I saw the handwriting on the wall and saw that distribution was not the thing to rely upon 100%. So I decided to devote all my efforts toward developing a strong manufacturing entity.” Stone headed into high gear. Using the talents of Steve Alaimo and Rick Finch as producers (people who had been with him on the production end) Stone became more serious about his manufacturing business. “Rock Me Baby” by George McCrae opened a great many doors. The record hit #1 in pop and r&b, led to an international deal with RCA and developed into an international smash. “When the final count is in,” said Stone, “I won’t be surprised if the record goes over the 6 million unit mark: After that, Stone negotiated an agreement for the return of Betty Wright and his Alston label. Alston for a period of time had been distributed by Atlantic. And now Betty is climbing the charts with her “Ooola-La” single. “I knew we had the atmosphere down here in Miami.” Stone continued, “to come up with hits on a steady basis. We had a family atmosphere of talented and productive musicians and producers. We did very well with our Timmy Thomas single on Glades. Latimore was a stock boy in my distributorship before he wanted
to take a shot at recording. And now he’s a soul star in his own right. KC of KC and the Sunshine Band (who got his moniker because his last name is really
Casey) and is one of the hottest properties on our label with his Get Down Tonight’ single and his smash new album, was a stockroom boy and switchboard operator in my distributorship for five years before he decided to take a shot at recording.
The atmosphere in our studio was and is there to bring out the talent of people we have contact with. “George McCrae cut his huge ‘Rock Me Baby’ hit only because he was hanging around the studio waiting to drive his cont. fr pg. 7 wife Gwen home one evening after her recording session. I was handed a great track by my people. And although Gwen was in the studio, the song was meant for a male performer. So George expressed a desire to lay in the vocal track. And the minute it was finished I gave orders to rush release the record the next day.” The record went right to the top of all the charts. And currently Gwen is succeeding in her own right with her top 10 pop hit and number one r&b smash “Rockin’ Chair.” The record industry needs independents,” Stone went on, “and I look at myself as the independent’s independent. I am willing to make a label deal with anyone feels he can produce hits. And I believe we know how to direct them, promote them and merchandise them. Our first important Ip product from KC and the Sunshine Band. Gwen McCrae, George McCrae and Latimore will establish us as a stronger, broader selling entity on the record scene. We also expect to be coming with product of an instrumental nature from the Sunshine Band. And in the next month or so I expect to conclude an agreement for the release of important jazz product. But it’s all going to be produced in our stable. I’m not interested in buying any tired old label and picking up tons of dead inventory. I want our company to be all new, all fresh and turn out product that will move. I don’t want or need any $150,000 recording sessions. They’re not necessary. And if any artist is unhappy with our setup and what we can do for him, he can go anywhere else he would like. Yes, we’re going to make our mistakes. but I think we have the ingredients needed to develop an important record manufacturing entity that the industry will be hearing from for many years to come.” Perhaps Stone’s attitude of confidence, a skilled staff, a territory where there are not hundreds of competitors, decades of experience in what to do with a strong record and his feel for soul music are those necessary ingredients.”