Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#640 (Week of 11/14/09 - 11/20/09)


"A Thousand Miles Away"/"Oh Baby Don't"
by The Heartbeats
on Rama RR-216
released in 1956

[Above photo courtesy of Marv Goldberg.]

Above: The Heartbeats (L-R) Robbie Tatum (tenor), Wally Roker (bass), James Sheppard (tenor), Vernon Sievers (baritone), Albert Crump (tenor).

Click HERE for an article about The Heartbeats by Marv Goldberg.
Click HERE for an article about The Heartbeats by J.C. Marion.
(Above links will open in a separate window)

[Above clippings courtesy of Galen Gart.]
Above: Clippings from November and December 1956.

NEW YORK, Nov. 24, 1956 In a deal consummated this past Wednesday (21), Rama Records signed the Heartbeats group to its roster of stars. The vocal unit, formerly with Hull Records, is currently riding high on the charts with "A Thousand Miles Away" and had another big seller several months ago with "Crazy for You."
Rama execs George Goldner and Joe Kolsky met with Bea Kaslin, head of Hull Records, to cement the deal. Involved is the recording contract itself, along with released and unreleased masters, and the publishing rights of all recordings and tunes done by the Heartbeats. Among the masters purchased was the present smash hit "A Thousand Miles Away" which will be issued immediately under the Rama banner.
Kolsky stated that all Rama distributors will begin handling "A Thousand Miles Away" immediately. Gee distributors handling the Hull line prior to the signing of the contract will continue distributing the record until it has completed its run.
Sitting in on the deal was Phil Kahl of Patricia-Kahl Music. His interest was the purchase of all tunes involved in the deal. Bill Jenkins of Variety Management is personal manager of the Heartbeats.

Trade Magazine Clippings from December 1956:
Looks like the Rama label has tied onto a good hunk of property with their acquisition of the Heartbeats group. Their disking of "A Thousand Miles Away" broke into the nation's Top 50 pop records this week, and has been covered by the Diamonds on Mercury....
Joe Kolsky, Rama and Gee Records, enthused with the reaction over the Heartbeats and their "Thousand Miles Away" smash. The disk, which Rama purchased from Hull Records earlier this month, is breaking all over the country, with every distributor coming in for at least one order this week.

Says Wally [Roker, bass of the Heartbeats], "I didn't know how good I had it!" He saw that "A Thousand Miles Away" was climbing the charts, but doubted Hull's ability to properly promote it. Wally therefore pleaded with Bea Caslon to let it go to another company, and approached George Goldner to see if the record could be handled by one of his labels (Rama and Gee at this time). Well it could, and Billy Dawn [Billy Dawn Smith, one of the owners of Hull] says that one day a "representative" of Rama showed up and "made them an offer." What Wally didn't know was that, at the time, Goldner was being forced out of his own companies by Morris Levy (manager of Alan Freed). The takeover would be formally announced in March 1957.
On November 21, it was announced that Rama had signed the Heartbeats. George Goldner and his partner Joe Kolsky met with Bea Caslon [whose name was misspelled as "Kaslin" in the trade paper article]; the resulting "deal" gave Rama all the released and unreleased Hull masters. Phil Kahl was present to purchase all the tunes for Patricia-Kahl music (which he owned along with his partner, Morris Levy). Did I remember to mention that Joe Kolsky and Phil Kahl were brothers? It's heartwarming when a family does things together. [Morris Levy, it must be stated, was not only Alan Freed's manager (ensuring plenty of airplay), but a person who could charitably be described as "someone you really, really wanted to be nice to" (for your continued good health).]

Above: Label image of Rama RR-216. The Heartbeats' first record was on Network in 1955 (see below). They also had releases on Hull (1955-56), Rama (1956-57), Gee (1957-60), Roulette (1958-65), and Guyden (1959).

Listen to this week's selections by The Heartbeats/Heart Beats Quintet:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
          1. A Thousand Miles Away - Rama RR-216 - 1956
          2. Oh Baby Don't - Rama RR-216 - 1956
          3. Tormented - Network N-1200 - 1955
          ALL THREE played in sequence

     B. Download RealAudio...
          1. A Thousand Miles Away - Rama RR-216 - 1956
          2. Oh Baby Don't - Rama RR-216 - 1956
          3. Tormented - Network N-1200 - 1955

     C. Stream/Download Media Player...
          1. A Thousand Miles Away - Rama RR-216 - 1956
          2. Oh Baby Don't - Rama RR-216 - 1956
          3. Tormented - Network N-1200 - 1955

           [To download audio files, right-click on link and then select "Save (Link) Target As..."]


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