Welcome to Mellow's Log Cabin. This blog's purpose is to supply information on a diversity of American southern music - ranging from country, blues, old-time and folk to R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. I regularly present my research results about artists, labels, shows and also give guest writers a chance to publish their texts here on occasion.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Holiday Inn Records

This label was part of the Holiday Inn motel chain and was set up in Memphis, Tennessee,  in 1961. There were two incarnations of the label. Holiday Inn was active once from 1962 to approximately 1963 and then was revived in 1968.

In May 1960, Billboard announced "Motel Chain to Bow Own Label." Wayne Foster was called the head of the label and Holiday Inn already used different distributors to release its first single on April 1, 1961, by the Rollercoasters. This instrumental groups' track "Rimshot" already sold over 6000 copies in Memphis and New Orleans after eight days and was picked "hit of the week" on WMPS (Memphis) and WPLO (Atlanta), according to Foster. By June, more than 50.000 copies were sold it was #1 in Monroe, Louisiana, and presumably other cities.

Records were mainly pressed by Plastic Products in Memphis, although the label also used RCA's custom pressing service. By 1962, Holiday Inn expanded its promotion activies and hired Chips Moman for production. The Rollercoasters were still on the label, as well as a new singer called Jimmy Foster. Buck Griffin and Frank Starr, who is known to rockabilly collectors as Andy Starr, also recorded some singles for the label. While Holiday Inn used recording studios in Memphis at the beginning, they were branching out by 1962, cutting sessions in Nashville for example.

In the spring of 1968, Sam Phillips was announced as being the president of Holiday Inn with brother Judd being national sales and promotion manager, Bill Fitzgerald became general manager, Judd's son Judd Phillips, Jr., became regional sales and promotion manager, and Sam's son Knox worked as producer. Phillips became the head of the new Holiday Inn label mainly because he was a major stock-holder of the Holiday Inn motel chain and seemed to be perfect for this job. By then, Phillips was in process to sell his Sun/Phillips International catalog to Shelby Singelton. Several unreleased masters, who were not part of the deal with Singelton, were later issued by Phillips on Holiday Inn. Around the same time, new artists such as Jerry Dyke, the Climates, Gregg Todd & the Jacks, among others were signed, a studio was set up in Memphis, and the new office was at 3756 Lamar Avenue, Memphis. Though, the label still belonged to the Holiday Inn motel chain. Billboard called the label "newly founded" in its March issue, which leads me to the suggestions the label was closed down for some time after 1962 and was revived in 1968. This would also explain why there were no singles in the mid-1960s and the change in the numerical system.

Already in February 1968, the label released the first album on the new incarnation by Dotty Holyday. In November that year, Rev. Oris May joined the label as a A&R manager and regional sales and promotion manager. Soon afterwards in December, he was out promoting Larry Brinkley's newest single. Brinkley previously recorded rockabilly in the late 1950s and 1960s.

Although the label seemed to expand, there was one big problem for Holiday Inn. Many radio DJs across the country would not play Holiday Inn records because in just saying the name "Holiday Inn" over the air amounted to free publicity for the motel chain and most if not all radio stations programmers refused to do so. The last record released on the label was by Gregg Todd and the Jacks in 1969.


Discography
A great annotated discography can be seen here.

100: Rollercoasters - Rimshot, Pt. 1 / Rimshort, Pt. 2 (1961)
101: Tookie Collom with the Roller Coasters - You Torture Me / I Could Love You (1961)
102: Jimmy Foster - Stranger in Paradise / Where Could I Go (1961)
103: The Roller Coasters - Wabash Blues / Slap-Back (1961)
104: Frank Starr - Knees Shakin' / Evil Eye (1961)
105: Kenny Lund - Greenbacks / Rip It Up Potatoe Chip
106: Rusty Curry - Tag Along / Our Love Can Wait
107: Roller Coasters - You've Gotta Run Me Down / My Fraulein Cries for Me (1962)
108: Frank Starr - Little Bitty Feeling / Lost in a Dream (1962)
109: Buck Griffin - Pretty Lou / Girl in 1209 (1962)
110: The Roller Coasters - Spanish Twist / Wild Twist (1962)
111: Jimmy Foster - Hey Little Lover / Moving Up to Love (1962)
112: Stan Daniels - Confused / Sweet Little Girl (1962)
113: Stony Martin - Talking About Lovin' / Rhythm Marie
114: Charlie Feathers - Deep Elm Blues / Nobody's Darling (1962)
115:
116: Dolly Holiday - Are You Forever / That Ever-Lovin' Memphis Sound (1968)


2200: Dianne Hall - But You Don't Love Me / Good Morning Love (1968)
2201: Lee Adkins - Together Again / Don't You Believe It (1968)
2202: Gregg Todd and "The Jacks" - Love / A Simple Thought (1968)
2203: Jerry Dyke - Come In Mr. Lonely / Things (1968)
2204: Charlie's Children - Finally Found Out / Lady Madonna (1968)
2205: "Load of Mischief" - Back In My Arms Again / I'm a Lover (1968)
2206: The Climates - Tell Him Tonight / Don't Be Cruel (1968)
2207: Portrait of Fun - Wages Man / Lonely Hapiness (1968)
2208: "Ironing Board" Sam Moore - Raining In My Heart / When You Brought Me You (1968)
2209: Robert & Randy - Good Company / I Won't Ask Why
2210: Larry Brinkley - Guitar Pickin' DJ / Every Turn That I Make Turns Out Wrong (1968)
2211: Jerry Dyke - Habit I Can't Break / I Forgot to Remember to Forget (1968)
2212:
2213: The Bogard Brothers - None Other Like Thee / Step Out
2214: Larry & the Accommodations - I Wanna Hold You / Love Is the Answer (1969)
2215: Gary Ellison - Now I'm in Trouble / How Yould You Do This to Us (1969)
2216: Charlie Freeman - Sweethearts in Melody / I Couldn't Help It (1969)
2217: Gregg Todd & the Jacks - Garden of Delight / Love Transcends (1969)


Albums
HIR-1: Dolly Holiday - Nighttime (1968)

Sources: Rockin' Country Style, various Billboard issues
Thanks to Bo, Bobsluckycat

7 comments:

Bob The Sponge said...

Thanks Mellow for the story.

While searching for the gaps, I've found a (almost) complete discography with label pictures here :

http://www.boija.com/skivor/hir/hir.htm

One addition :

113 is Stony Martin : Talking About Lovin' / Rhythm Marie (both sides co-written by Charlie Feathers

2212 is still missing

Mellow said...

Bob, thanks!

If I'm not mistaken, there are currently three gaps in the discography. I have added all missing records that were listed on the site. I knew it before but did not know there's also a discography for Holiday Inn.

Bobsluckycat said...

Holiday Inn's second movement with Sam Phillips at the helm came about for two reasons so far as I can tell. One was that Sam Phillips was a major stock-holder/owner of the Holiday Inn brand of motels by this time and was in the process of selling the "Sun" and "Phillips International" labels to Shelby Singleton. Several un-released masters which eventually found there way to release on "Holiday Inn", were not part of the sale to Shelby Singleton. The major drawback to this venture was the name "Holiday Inn" itself. Several 45 rpm "DJ" singles were sent out in a package to radio stations across the country, but got no air play mainly because in just saying the name "Holiday Inn" over the air amounted to free publicity for the motel chain and most if not all radio stations programmers were reluctant to do this. I have several of the "DJ" 45's somewhere around here still, I think? Sam Phillips did not sell the "Sun" recording studio in Memphis and it's obvious that in listening to the later "Holiday Inn" recordings that they have the sound of the room at Sun.
A side note, in the early 60's Sam Phillips had recording studios in Memphis and in Nashville for some time. The Nashville studio was "state of the art" and producer Billy Sherrill worked out of there before becoming a "Country" producer at CBS Records group (Columbia, Epic, etc). I'm not sure who ended up with the ownership of the Nashville studios.

Bobsluckycat said...

Holiday Inn's second movement with Sam Phillips at the helm came about for two reasons so far as I can tell. One was that Sam Phillips was a major stock-holder/owner of the Holiday Inn brand of motels by this time and was in the process of selling the "Sun" and "Phillips International" labels to Shelby Singleton. Several un-released masters which eventually found there way to release on "Holiday Inn", were not part of the sale to Shelby Singleton. The major drawback to this venture was the name "Holiday Inn" itself. Several 45 rpm "DJ" singles were sent out in a package to radio stations across the country, but got no air play mainly because in just saying the name "Holiday Inn" over the air amounted to free publicity for the motel chain and most if not all radio stations programmers were reluctant to do this. I have several of the "DJ" 45's somewhere around here still, I think? Sam Phillips did not sell the "Sun" recording studio in Memphis and it's obvious that in listening to the later "Holiday Inn" recordings that they have the sound of the room at Sun.
A side note, in the early 60's Sam Phillips had recording studios in Memphis and in Nashville for some time. The Nashville studio was "state of the art" and producer Billy Sherrill worked out of there before becoming a "Country" producer at CBS Records group (Columbia, Epic, etc). I'm not sure who ended up with the ownership of the Nashville studios.

Bob The Sponge said...

One of the three gaps is :

2215: Gary Ellison : Now I'm In Trouble/How Could You Do This To Us

Howdy said...

Mellow, and all thanks for the Discography, Got about half of em but never new how many there was!

Mellow said...

You're welcome!