Art Roop, the label owner who helped introduce Little Richard and Sam Cook, dies at 104 | Music

Music manager Art Roop, a leading label in the years leading up to Rock and Roll,’s specialty records helped start the lives of Little Richard, Sam Cook and others. He is 104 years old.

Rupee, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, died Friday at his home in Santa Barbara, California, according to the Arthur N. Roop Foundation. The cause of his death was not disclosed by the Foundation.

Contemporaries of Greensburg, Pennsylvania native Jerry Wexler, Leonard Chess and other white business-makers, they helped bring black music to the general audience. He founded the specialty in Los Angeles in 1946 and provided early breaks for artists such as Cook and his evangelical team Soul Stirrers, Little Richard, Lloyd Price, John Lee Hooker and Clifton Sr.

Music historian Billy Vera Liner wrote in the notes, “Perhaps the development of specialized recordings that paralleled the evolution of Black popular music from 1940s ‘Race’ music to 1950s rock and roll,” a five-CD set of specialty stories, 1994.

Roop’s most lucrative and important signature is Little Richard, who has struggled commercially since he was a teenager.

In a 2011 interview for the Hall of Fame archive, Roop explained that Little Richard (Georgia’s late McCann’s professional name, Richard Pennyman’s professional name) learned about the specialty through Price, and spent several months trying to figure it out. Someone asked. He finally asked to speak to Rupa, who dug out his tape from the discarded file.

“I liked something in Little Richard’s voice,” Roop said. “I do not know – it’s exaggerated, very emotional. I said: ‘Give this guy a chance, maybe make him sing like BP King.’

Early recording sessions were not encouraging, but during lunch break at a nearby hotel Little Richard sat down on a piano and sang the song he had performed on club dates: Tutti Frutti, with its immortal opening shout: “Avopopolumobopoom!”

Released in September 1955 and one of the first major hits of Rock and Roll, Tutti Frutti is a pure version of the frantic but bad original, featuring rhymes such as “Tutti Frutti / Good Boot”. Roop noted that Little Richard’s acting changed when he accompanied himself on the piano.

“Until then Pumps (producer Robert” Pumps “Blackwell) Little Richard should be a singer,” Roop said. “The neck bone is attached to the knee bone or something; His voice and the way he played elevated it.

Critic Langdon likens Little Richard’s special recordings to Elvis Presley’s Sun Records sessions as “models of song and musicians”.

Rock classic songs such as Long Doll Sally, Good Collie Miss Molly and Rip It Up are included with Little Richard’s specialty, who retired abruptly (and temporarily) in 1957. Bryce’s Lady Miss Claudy (with Fates Domino on the piano) was also a specialty. ; John, farmer of Don and TV; Larry Williams’ Dizzy Miss Lizzy, the Beatles later covered up; And music by leading evangelicals such as Dorothy Love Coates, Swan Silverdones and Pilgrim Travelers.

Rupee was known for the low pay he paid to his artists in an exploitative practice common among label owners in the early Rock era: he had more or less all royalties and publishing rights as artists signed contracts. Little Richard sued him again for royalty in 1959 and settled out of court for $ 11,000.

Around the same time, Rupee became increasingly frustrated with the “Biola” system of bribing broadcasters to obtain sound recordings and distancing himself from the music business. He sold the specialty to Fantasy Records in the early 1990s, but continued to make money through oil and gas investments. In recent years, he has headed the Art n Roop Foundation, which has supported education and research to shine “the light of truth on important and controversial issues.”

Rupa’s survivors include her daughter Beverly Roop Schwartz and granddaughter Madeline Kahan.

He was born the son of Arthur Goldberg, a Jewish factory worker, whose interest in black music began by listening to singers at a nearby Baptist church. Educated at the University of California, Los Angeles, he considered film as a career, and instead decided on music, buying “race records” and training himself by listening to the metronome and stopwatch. He co-founded Jukebox Records in the mid-1940s, but soon began to specialize. He also changed his last name to Rupee, the ancestral name of the family.

The sensible taste of the rupee made him successful, but at least gave him a big win. In the mid-1950s, Cook was keen to expand his reach beyond the gospel, and recorded some pop songs on the specialty, including a ballad, You Scent Me. Rupee was mesmerized by the melodious song and its white playback singers. He bought Cook and Blackwell, who became Cook’s manager, and allowed them to be published by RCA.

“I don’t think you send me that big. I know it has a certain intrinsic value because Sam is good. I never dreamed it would sell millions, “Roop added:” An amazing genius on my part. “

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