Columbia Records was the furthest thing from a funky, independent record label. Owned by powerhouse CBS the label was the sentinel at the door guarding against the intrusion of both rhythm and blues and rock and roll. There were some minor ventures out even in the 1950’s (Carl Perkins, Ronnie Self) but those were the exceptions.
Mitch Miller led the way but met with little resistance at Columbia. According to Sean Wilentz in his well-researched “360 Sound – The Columbia Records Story” songwriter Gloria Parker in a 1957 Columbia stockholder’s meeting pushed the investors hard to avoid the devil’s music stating “this rock and roll junk (which) is creating juvenile delinquency”. Miller told disk jockeys in a national convention a year later “…the juvenile stuff pumped over the airways these days hardly qualifies as music.” And he held the line as long as he possibly could.
This section of PopBopRocktilUDrop presents the eventual breaking down of Miller’s Great Wall. Here are many of the groups and slightly off-beat artists who eventually found their way onto the Columbia 45 label (keeping in mind that Columbia Records always based it’s strength on it’s LP market). I’m not documenting the hit records here as on other 45 pages, but a glimpse at a diverse range parading through the Columbia hallowed halls. View the Columbia Records 45’s 1960’s Page (still growing)