The Red Bird Sound” Vol. 4 – Dressed In Black
Red Bird Records was a record label founded by American pop music songwriters Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and George Goldner in 1964. Though often thought of as a “girl-group” label, female-led acts made up only 40% of the artist roster on Red Bird and its associated labels (including Blue Cat Records, Tiger and Daisy). However, female-led acts also accounted for more than 90% of the label’s charting records. The label’s first release was “Chapel of Love” by The Dixie Cups, which quickly reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, a feat matched later that year by The Shangri-Las’ “Leader of the Pack”. Eleven of the first 30 singles released by Red Bird reached the Top Forty.
In 1952 the song writing team Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller had their first hit with Charlies Brown’s “Hard Times”. In 1953 they formed Spark Records for the singing group The Robins. It was all on the West Coast, but when The Robbins had a hit with “Smokey Joe’s Café” and got nationwide distribution by Atlantic, who even bought Spark Records, the song writing team moved to New York.
The remains of The Robbins became The Coasters, who had several hits written by Leiber & Stoller. All was in the R&B genre. Then they moved to the new Rock and Roll wave and Elvis started to record their songs. Most well known is perhaps “Jailhouse Rock”. While connected to Atlantic Leiber & Stoller wrote songs for Ruth Brown, Big Joe Turner, Clyde McPhatter and LaVern Baker. Then they were asked to help resurrect The Drifter’s career. Later on it led to the solo career of Ben E. King the lead singer. A young Phil Spector was the producer overseen by Leiber & Stoller.
In 1962 they split with Atlantic over disagreement about their royalty. They often only got 2 cents a record for producing and writing. Jerry Leiber is cited for saying: “Why should we settle for two cents when we could have our own record company and get twenty-one cents?” So – in November 1963 – they formed a new record company with two labels: Daisy and Tiger. They got Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich to produce and write. Leiber & Stoller were still producing and writing for other companies.
In 1964 they started a third label: RED BIRD and hit the # 1 in April 1964 with the second release: The Dixie Cups with “Chapel of Love”. Later they even added a fourth label: Blue Cat. In April 1966 Leiber & Stoller sold RED BIRD and Blue Cat for 1$, just to get out of it. They were clever enough to hold on to the publishing rights! A total of 83 releases were made.
1. New York’s a Lonely Town – The Tradewinds 2. The Girl from Greenwich Village – The Tradewinds 3. Summertime Girl – The Tradewinds 4. Top Down Time – The Rockaways 5. The Dum Dum Ditty – The Goodies 6. Sophisticated Boom Boom – The Goodies 7. Gee Baby Gee – The Jelly Beans 8. Another Boy Like Mine – Ellie Greenwich 9. Baby – Ellie Greenwich 10. You Don’t Know – Ellie Greenwich 11. Our Love Can Still Be Saved – Jeff Barry 12. I’ll Still Love You – Jeff Barry 13. Nobody But You – Steve Rossi 14. I Hear You Say (I Love You Baby) – Andy Kim 15. Falling in Love – Andy Kim 16. I Know He Loves Me – Chi Chi McCauley 17. Memory Lane Without You – Chi Chi McCauley 18. The Hideaway – The Young Generation 19. Hey Little Girl – Jimmie Cross 20. You Never Had It So Good – The Four-Evers 21. Spanish Perfume – Jimmy Rice 22. It’s What’s Happenin’ Baby – Murray The “K” 23. My Life – Orpheus 24. Love Isn’t Like That – Ral Donner 25. It Will Only Make Me Love You More – Ral Donner 26. He Will Break Your Heart – Kane & Abel 27. Talk to Me Baby – Barry Mann 28. We Gotta Get out of This Place – Barry Mann 29. Little Girl – Tiny Tim 30. April Showers – Tiny Tim 31. Dressed in Black – Shadow Morton 32. The Story of Christmas – Shadow Morton & Little Joseph.
All I Can Do
Don’t Waste My Time
Looking for a Good Time
Words Fail Me
Walking on a Thin Line
Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness
I’m Not That Lonely
The Heart Always Knows