Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#901 (1/27/18)

"I May Hate Myself In The Morning"
Bette McLaurin And Her Friends
on Derby 790
released in 1952

"I Won't Tell A Soul I Love You"/
"My Heart Belongs To Only You"
Bette McLaurin With The Striders
on Derby 804
released in 1952

"Do You Know Why?"/
"My Dreams Of You"
Bette McLaurin (And Vocal Group)
on Coral 60906
released in 1953

[Above photo is courtesy of Paul Ressler, restoration by Tony Fournier.]
Above: Bette McLaurin, originally from the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina, was a petite (4' 9" tall) singer with a big voice. She came on the entertainment scene with The Claude Hopkins Orchestra in 1950, when she was 22 years old, and continued her recording career into the late 1960's.

Click HERE for an article about Bette McLaurin by Marv Goldberg. (Will open in a separate window)

(Jet Magazine 6/9/52)

All her life Bette McLaurin wanted to be a concert singer. But she wound up singing ballads and basking in the spotlight as a Hit Parade possibility. Since her mother convinced her that there was more money to be earned in the popular field, Bette has been able to bring her early classical training into good use in interpreting the lyrics of modern ballads.

Her extreme vocal range has given her advantage over most singers, especially in the high registers. That is, perhaps, one of the chief reasons for her smash-success recording on the Derby label of "I May Hate Myself In The Morning," the "sleeper" Benny Benjamin-George Weiss tune that hit like a bombshell on the popular music front. Her showcasing of the song resulted in a scramble by other singers to get on the bandwagon and a big increase in personal appearance bookings for Bette.

(The Cash Box 10/20/51)

(The Cash Box 5/10/52)

(Above) Clipping from Philadelphia Inquirer 10/9/52.

(Right) Bette McLaurin next to poster for the same show as advertised above.

(Far Right) Picture of Eddie Wilcox, orchestra leader, arranger, and a.&r. man for Derby Records.

"Walking along Philadelphia's Market Street between shows at Earle Theater,
Bette McLaurin is accompanied by Orioles singer Alec Sharp." (From 1952)

[Above clipping provided by Hans-Joachim Krohberger.]

Above: Clipping from April 1952.

(The Billboard 1/17/53)

THE CASH BOX, January 10, 1953: TUNING UP
NEW YORK—Betty McLaurin prepares for her first session on the Coral label as Phil Rose stands by. Betty, who scored several hits while she was with Derby such as "I May Hate Myself In The Morning" and "My Heart Belongs To Only You," expects to repeat with several more for Coral.

(NOTE: Phil Rose was a.&r. man for Derby Records, then the same for Coral-Brunswick, and, at that time, became Bette McLaurin's manager. He later was co-owner [with Lou Sprung] of Glory Records.)

(New York Age 5/5/51)

(New York Age 9/15/51)

(New York Age 11/22/52)

NEW YORK—Kid Gavilan, welterweight boxing champion, who will meet Chuck Davey in Chicago Stadium title bout next Wednesday, tests saxophone at Regal Theater last night as Singer Bette McLaurin and Band Leader Illinois Jacquet register displeasure at the champ's solo.

NEW YORK—Singer Arthur Prysock is a lucky guy as he gets a double kiss from lovely Radio Commentator Evelyn Robinson (right) and Singer Bette McLaurin. The occasion was a party given for Artie by Disc Jockey Jack Walker at the Palm Tavern to celebrate Prysock's latest Decca release, "Temptation."

(Newport Daily News, Rhode Island 4/19/52)

(Democrat And Chronicle, Rochester, NY 2/27/55)


TRADE MAGAZINE, June 1951: ....Derby Records' thrush Betty McLaurin skedded for a Birdland, New York, date next. The diskery inked the Eddie Wilcox big band to a term paper. The Wilcox ork is built on a foundation of the old Jimmie Lunceford library....

TRADE MAGAZINE, November 1951: ....Derby Records prexy Larry Newton flew Bette McLaurin in from Detroit to cut "Cry" for the label. Tune, which looks like the number one ballad in the next few months, started off on the Cadillac label with Ruth Casey.... [This was the song that brought stardom to Johnny Ray.]

NEW YORK—Derby Records prexy Larry Newton has named Eddie Wilcox to head pop and a.&r. duties for the label. Wilcox was signed to a five-year deal and will share recording duties with a.&r. man Phil Rose. Wilcox was responsible for the sock arrangement on the Sunny Gale disking of "Wheel Of Fortune," on which he also provided the accompaniment. Most recently he arranged another Benjamin-Weiss tune, "I May Hate Myself In The Morning," for the diskery's Bette McLaurin. Miss McLaurin goes into the Rendezvous Room in Philadelphia on Mar. 17. She'll have as her guests Eddie Wilcox and the Benjamin-Weiss duo.

(NOTE: It is clear that Larry Newton felt very highly about Eddie Wilcox. For more information about Derby Records, check out "Spotlight On Derby Records," which will open in a separate window.)

NEW YORK—For the second time in recent months, Derby Records has come up with a hit version of a tune which had previously failed to produce results for major labels. The latest instance of this is the Bette McLaurin disk of "I May Hate Myself In The Morning," which appears on The Billboard Best-Selling Pop Chart for the first time this week. This tune had previously been recorded by RCA Victor and Decca with a minimum of sales activity. On the basis of this Derby disk, the tune has been waxed by a number of labels, including Mercury, Capitol and RCA Victor. The latter has cut the tune two ways [pop and country & western].

Previous to this, Derby sparked the revival of the "Wheel Of Fortune" via the Sunny Gale version. This tune had failed to get anywhere saleswise six months earlier on the Victor label. The indie version, however, hit the best-seller charts in both the pop and rhythm and blues fields, resulting in a rash of cover versions led by the Kay Starr version, which is still the No. 1 seller thruout the country.

THE BILLBOARD, November 29, 1952: ....First addition to Coral's r&b artist roster is Bette McLaurin, former Derby thrush, whose recent cutting of "My Heart Belongs To Only You," is moving into the higher sales brackets. Her first recording dates for Coral will be held later this month. Coral is also taking on Derby's a.&.r [artists and repertoire] staffer Phil Rose, who will head up the new Decca subsidiary's r.&b. seg under Coral's a.&.r chief Milt Gabler. He starts with Coral December 1.

DETROIT FREE PRESS, September 25, 1953: [See picture at left] FORMERLY FEATURED vocalist with the Claude Hopkins orchestra, Bette McLaurin comes to the Flame Show Bar Friday evening as the new headliner. She is known for recordings of "Cottage For Sale" and "The Masquerade Is Over" ....

NEW YORK—Phil Rose has resigned his post as a.&.r exec in charge of rhythm and blues at Coral-Brunswick to take over as professional manager of Challenge Music, a pubbery [music publisher] formed earlier this year. He will continue personal management activities. Rose now manages songstress Bette McLaurin and the Sarah McLawler Trio.

NEW YORK—Derby Records filed a bankruptcy petition in the Southern District Court of New York on Wednesday (14) listing liabilities of $213,090 and assets of $18,935. Derby Records, which started about three years ago, was headed by Larry Newton. The label came up with a number of hits in its short existence, including "Wheel Of Fortune" and "The Breeze." The label discovered Sunny Gale, Bette McLaurin, and Bob Carroll.

EXTRA AUDIO (Windows Media Player):
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

NOTE: Bette McLaurin's version of "The Masquerade Is Over," released in 1951 on Derby 766, does not have vocal group backing. So, instead, here is The Blender's version of the song.

Above Left: Label for Decca 27403, recorded on October 4, 1950 and released in January 1951.

Above Right: The Blenders, who in this photo from 1953, are (L-R) James DeLoach (bass), Abel DeCosta (tenor), Napoleon "Snaggs" Allen (baritone and guitar), and Ollie Jones (lead tenor). The actual personnel on this record are DeCosta, Jones, Raymond Johnson (bass), and Richard Palmer (baritone).

Click HERE for an article about The Blenders by Marv Goldberg. (Will open in a separate window)

The Billboard Review (1/13/51):

The Masquerade Is Over
(60) The group turns in a fairly unimaginative and almost dull reading of this fine old standard. If anything, the song will have to carry the disking.
[The flip "Little Small Town Girl" received an 82 "excellent" rating.]

(NOTE: A ratings range of 40-69 was considered "satisfactory.")

Listen to "(I'm Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over" - The Blenders - Decca 27403 - 1951.

(George Weiss and Bennie Benjamin showing off their singing skills.)  

(Directly Above) NEW YORK AGE, October 10, 1953: MEN OF MUSIC George Weiss (left) and Benny Benjamin give dance guests rollicking sample of their work (at Gold Room of Savoy Plaza hotel in New York City). The two song writers have collaborated on many hit tunes.

(At Far Left) Clipping from The Cash Box dated 3/15/52.

Above Center: Label image of Derby 790 released in March 1952. The vocal group "Her Friends" on this side are the composers of the song, Bennie Benjamin and George Weiss, along with Derby Sales Manager Phil Rose [see The Billboard article below]. The third credited composer, not included in the vocal group, is Dorothy Dick. The flip, "I Hear A Rhapsody," does not have vocal group backing.

NEW YORK—The Benny Benjamin-George Weiss song-writing team, already booked as a night club act on the strength of their "Wheel Of Fortune" hit, has now become part of a recording trio. Derby Records disker of the original "Wheel" platter, this week cut another Benjamin and Weiss tune, and used the writers and Derby sales manager Phil Rose as a vocal trio.

The singers backed up chirp Bette McLaurin on the ditty "I May Hate Myself In The Morning." The tune was around some months ago and recorded at that time, but failed to create any big stir.

NEW YORK—Bennie Benjamin and George Weiss, having conquered the song writing field with such smashes as "Oh What It Seemed To Be," "I'll Never Be Free" and their current one "Wheel Of Fortune," are now a full fledged night club act.

It all happened this way: The boys were given a celebrity night a week ago Sunday at Leon and Eddie's in New York and in the course of the evening they were asked to get up on stage and play a few of their hits. They must have gone over big, because cafe owner Leonard Lipman of the Copa Lounge in Pittsburgh, who happened to be in the room at the time, signed them as a feature attraction for his club, opening next month.

Benjamin and Weiss were able to try out their act last week when they appeared before the boys at the U.S. Naval Hospital in St. Albans, Long Island. They were taken out by Stanley Feldman, juke box operator, who makes a habit of recruiting talent to entertain the vets.

The songwriting team were on stage for almost an hour and even after they had gone through one of their hits after another, the boys in the audience kept yelling for more.

The Billboard Review (3/22/52):

I May Hate Myself In The Morning
(79) Ditty here was penned by Benjamin-Weiss team and was tried on disks some time ago. This version, tho, might renew public interest in the item. The deliberate beat is an asset.

(NOTE: A ratings range of 70-79 was considered "good.")

The Cash Box Sleeper Of The Week (3/15/52):

I May Hate Myself In The Morning
Bette McLaurin comes out of the rhythm and blues field with a tune of sleeper potentialities. The sweet voice of the chirp is put to work on a lovely Benjamin & Weiss melody that was written a short time back. The number is a slow ballad that gets thorough going over by Bette and the Rex Kearney orchestra. The arrangement is first class and makes the most of the talented singer's vocalizing. The quality of Bette's voice is sure to make her a winner any place and ops who don't get with this top side are missing a great bet. The disk is loaded and it's bound to break fast.

(L-R: Bennie Benjamin and George Weiss)

With more smash hits to their credit in the last five years than any other team of composers, Benny Benjamin and George Weiss are the most consistently-successful song-writing combination in Tin Pan Alley. Currently riding the Hit Parade with their latest success, Wheel Of Fortune, the two prolific writers have produced 40 published tunes since joining forces in 1946, and recordings of their songs have sold over 25 million copies. Wheel Of Fortune is currently No. 10 among retail sheet music best sellers.

The two first met in 1938 when Weiss was a Juillard Music School student and Benjamin, a struggling songwriter. "We hit it off immediately," George recalls. "We just seemed to click." Oddly, they did not form their interracial song-writing team until after each had returned from a hitch in the armed forces.

Benjamin and Weiss have jointly grossed over $100,000 annually for the past several years. During the last three years, their total record sales exceeded 10 million while sheet music sales ran over 1,200,000. Their biggest all-time hit, Oh What Seemed To Be, sold over three million records and over a million sheet music copies.

A few of the Benjamin-Weiss hit songs are: I Ran All The Way Home, These things I offer You, Rumors Are Flying, To Think You've Chosen Me, I want To Thank Your Folks.

The combination of their last two hits, I Ran All The Way Home and Wheel Of Fortune, resulted in Benjamin and Weiss being honored recently at New York's Leon & Eddie's night club as the foremost songwriting team in the business.

[NOTE: "Wheel Of Fortune" was done by The Cardinals, "Rumors Are Flying" by The Brown Dots, and "I Want To Thank Your Folks" by The Ink Spots. Together, Benjamin and Weiss also composed "Cross Over The Bridge" (The Flamingos) and "Can Anyone Explain" (Savannah Churchill And The Striders). Benjamin also contributed to "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" (The Ink Spots) and "When The Lights Go On Again" (Herb Kenny And The Comets).]

NOTE: For more information about Benjamin and Weiss, and to hear them singing as The Two Tones on Cosmo Records from 1946 and The Soft Tones from 1950, click on their link and a separate window will open.

Above Left: Label image of Derby 804 released in July 1952.

Above Right: Circa 1948 photo of the The Striders, consisting of (Top L-R) Charles Strider, James Strider, Ernest Griffin, and (Bottom) Eugene Strider. This is also the line-up for the above record.
Click HERE for an article about The Striders by Marv Goldberg. (Will open in a separate window)

The Billboard Review (9/6/52):

I Won't Tell A Soul I Love You
(75) Pleasant version of the evergreen, featuring a smooth rendition by the thrush with quiet quartet and ork support.
My Heart Belongs To Only You (82) The thrush hands this appealing new ballad a mighty persuasive vocal, singing it warmly and tenderly, while the Striders and the Wilcox ork lend pretty backing. A strong disk that could bust out.

(NOTE: A ratings range of 70-79 was considered "good" and 80-89 "excellent.")

The Cash Box Review (9/6/52):

My Heart Belongs To Only You
(B+) Bette McLaurin and her pretty little voice do a fine job on a warm and attractive ballad while the Striders hum in the rear to set a fine mood. Eddie Wilcox's grand ork support is shown again.
I Won't Tell A Soul I Love You (C+) A sentimental piece that again shows the feeling in the artist's voice is presented here. The Wilcox ork and the Striders again support.

(NOTE: A rating of B+ was considered "excellent" and C+ was "good.")

Above: Label image of Coral 60906 released in January 1953. Bette McLaurin had recorded for Big Nickel Records with The Claude Hopkins Orchestra in 1950. Then she moved to Derby Records for six releases. In late 1952, Bette went to Coral resulting in five records, including the hit, with The Sy Oliver Orchestra, "Only A Rose" in 1953. After that, she had records released on a variety of labels, including Jubilee, Glory (Phil Rose's label), Atco, Bon Ton, O Gee, Capitol, Almont, Pulse, and finally Conclave in 1969.

The Cash Box Review (1/24/53):

My Dreams Of You
(B) Bette McLaurin does a top flight job in her sweet manner on a lovely ballad. Her voice is lovely.
Do You Know Why (B+) This might be the one the thrush has been waiting for. She does a top flight job on a most lovely ballad with an interesting lilt to it. Don Redman supplies a great backing.

(NOTE: A rating of B was considered "very good" and B+ was "excellent.")

The Billboard Review (1/31/53):

My Dreams Of You
(70) The thrush makes her debut on the label with this release, but it isn't an impressive one. Either the material is not for the thrush or the recording is so-so, but either way the platter is not up to her previous releases on Derby. Side won't do much in the pop or r.&b. field.
Do You Know Why (65) Same comment.

(NOTE: A ratings range of 40-69 was considered "satisfactory" and 70-79 "good.")

Listen to this week's selections featuring Bette McLaurin on Derby and Coral from 1952 and 1953 using Windows Media Player:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

          1. I May Hate Myself In The Morning
          2. I Won't Tell A Soul I Love You
          3. My Heart Belongs To Only You
          4. Do You Know Why?
          5. My Dreams Of You
          ALL FIVE played in sequence

     [To download audio files, right-click on link
     and then click "Save link (target) as..."]

     At Right: Bette McLaurin
     (Clipping from Jet Magazine 9/10/53)