Specialty Records
Specialty Records

About The Label

(Est. 1946) Art Rupe founded Juke Box Records in 1946, but changed the company's name to Specialty the following year to indicate that, unlike the major labels, his specialized in particular kinds of music - African-American blues and gospel. The Hollywood-based firm became a leader in both fields, with a roster that included R&B artists Roy Milton, Joe Liggins, Percy Mayfield, Guitar Slim, and Lloyd Price and such gospel stars as the Pilgrim Travelers, the Soul Stirrers (featuring Sam Cooke), Brother Joe May, Alex Bradford, and the Original Gospel Harmonettes. It also played a key role in the development of rock 'n' roll upon signing Little Richard in 1955. Two years later, however, Specialty lost both Richard (to religion) and Cooke (to pop music), and Rupe's interest in making new records quickly waned. He kept the label's many hits in print and compiled albums of older material until 1991, when he sold the company to Fantasy, Inc.

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