Air Week: May 3-9, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 14 – Cat Records

Atlantic Records was the most influential, significant and important independent record label to come out of the late-1940s, during a time when there were many great, small indie labels being born. What gave Atlantic the advantage over Specialty, Chess, Modern, Vee-Jay, Exclusive, King, etc is the breadth of material, variety of music styles and the sheer number of hit records that led to the Rock n’ Roll explosion of the mid-1950s. Matt The Cat and the “Juke In The Back” present this behemoth series celebrating the first 10 years of Atlantic’s existence: 1947-57. This week in part fourteen, Matt The Cat focuses on Atlantic’s first subsidiary label, Cat Records. Atlantic set Cat up to be their Rock n’ Roll label, but after only a year and a half and 18 single releases, they decided to dissolve it in favor of ATCO Records. During those 18 78s and 45s, Cat issued some smokin’ Rhythm & Blues, jivin’ vocal groups as well as a few pop and novelty records. Cat Records only enjoyed one national hit, “Sh-Boom” by The Chords, but what a spectacular hit it was. It topped out at #2 on the R&B chart and crossed-over to an impressive #5 Pop. R&B greats Floyd Dixon, Jimmy Lewis, Margie Day and songwriter Rose Marie McCoy all stopped by Cat for one or two releases AND the first Mickey & Sylvia record was issued on Cat in 1954. This is the final installment in our 14 part series on the history of Atlantic Records, so buckle in for another audio adventure with the “Juke In The Back.”