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Roulette Records is a record label which was founded in late 1956 by George Goldner, Joe Kolsky, Morris Levy and Phil Khals, with creative control given to producers/songwriters Hugo Peretti and 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 Records throughout the 1960s. At the end of the decade, they co-founded Avco Records in 1969. Levy grouped Gee, Rama and Tico into Roulette Records. Some years later, Levy also bought Gone Records and End Records from Goldner. In 1958, Roost Records was purchased. In 1971, Roulette took over the catalog of Jubilee Records.

During the late 1950's, Roulette scored hits by Buddy Knox, Jimmy Bowen, The Playmates, Jimmie Rodgers, as well as albums by Pearl Bailey and Count Basie.

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, as well as "Hanky Panky", "Crimson and Clover", and other hits. It was also on the Roulette label that, in 1964, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay first recorded together while in the nine-member A Go Go Singers, house band for the famous Cafe A Go Go in New York. Also a group of Marines called The Essex recorded the hit "Easier Said Than Done" while based at Camp LeJuene in the 1960's.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Roulette was one of the major distributors and rack-jobbers in 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.[citation needed]

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.

In 1981, Henry Stone turned to Levy to help salvage the demise of TK Records, so they set up Sunnyview Records under the Roulette umbrella. In 1986, Morris was exposed and convicted for extorting money from an FBI informant, a small-time music wholesaler named 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 consortium of EMI and Rhino Records, who were later brought out by The WEA Group ( Warner - Elektra - Atlantic ) . Warner Music Group now has the rights to the Roulette pop/R&B catalogue in North America, while EMI has the rights in the rest of the world. EMI has the global rights to the jazz catalogue and the "Roulette" name.

Today, EMI uses the "Roulette" name for the reissue of old Roulette label material. In the United States, Blue Note Records handles the Roulette jazz catalogue for release on the Roulette Jazz label.

Roulette Records artists

(List should include jazz artist Maynard Ferguson) (List should include recording artist/record producer Jimmy Bowen)

See also








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