Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#546 (Week of 12/15/07 - 12/21/07)

SPOTLIGHT ON THE INK SPOTS - PART ONE

"Who Do You Know In Heaven"/"You're Breaking My Heart"
by The Ink Spots
on Decca 24693 A/B
released in 1949


Above: Full page Ink Spots clipping from The Billboard Disk Jockey Supplement 10/22/49 (L-R) Billy Bowen (tenor), Bill Kenny (lead tenor), Herb Kenny (bass), Charlie Fuqua (baritone and guitarist). "If 'You' Didn't Care" refers to the title of their first big hit, modified to refer to the disk jockeys playing their records.

News Releases:

DETROIT (February 21, 1948) Officials of the United Auto Workers last week were in conference with Bill Kenny and his Ink Spots here seeking the services of the famed quartette in the making of a projected film telling the story of a modern labor organization. As outlined in the preliminary discussion the theme of the proposed film is the mutual advantages accrued to workers in democratic union operation. The film's message would be largely documentary. The idea of the major union chiefs is to incorporate "name" entertainers into the picture not only to break the monotony but also to aid in attracting audiences for the important message that the organization has to tell to its members and the world at large.

NEW YORK CITY (September 18, 1948) Bill Kenny, who has already garnered a top drawer reputation as the leader of the famed Ink Spots, as a property owner in Long Island, New York, and as a writer, is working on plans to open his own television package office to produce full video programs. First of a series of shows to be packaged for television, will be a fifteen minute, twice weekly, musical show based on Bill's own group - the Ink Spots. The premier production will revolve around the songs the quartet has made famous down through the years. Using newsreels to illustrate the main events of the years in which they recorded each hit song, the Spots will then sing the tune. There will be two songs sung on each show. Already television stations are asking for the exclusive right to use the program in their outlets, but at this point Bill isn't making any definite commitments to any one station. "Since this is my first venture as a television producer," explains Bill Kenny, "I want to proceed with caution and let my business expand as I become better acquainted with television's various facilities."

NEW YORK CITY (February 5, 1949) With the healthy evidence of a successful business relationship showing thru their smiles Bill Kenny, representing the Ink Spots, and Tim Gale, who did the honors for Gale Agency, put their signature to a new pact which bound the famed quartet to this leading theatrical firm for another 3 years. It is interesting to note that heretofore the Ink Spots have never been pacted for more than a one year contract, but they were so satisfied with the job done in 1948 by the Gale Agency that they agreed to a new contract for the longer 3 year period. Once the contract was completed Bill sat down with the Agency Prexy and began planning for the future, which, to the famed quartet, must look very brilliant.

MIAMI BEACH (June 22, 1949) An event that will go down in radio history took place over station WGBS In Miami Beach recently, when Barry Gray, the vituperant disc jockey, invited Bill Kenny, leader of the Ink Spots, to be his guest on the station.

This invitation posed many problems that had to be solved before this appearance could materialize. Radio Station WGBS broadcasts right from the Copa City Club which is definitely prohibited area for any Negro. But the Ink Spots road manager, Murray Nadel, never one to be stumped by problems, called the police department and got a special police escort to take him and Bill Kenny to the radio show.

Barry Gray, long known for his fearless tactics in fighting the problems of a minority, immediately turned the interview into a forum seeking Bill Kenny's views on race prejudices in the South. The interview lasted for a half hour and Kenny and Gray talked about nothing but the southern bugaboos of prejudice.

After the show went off the air both Barry and Bill sat around expecting the phone to ring violently all night long with many protests for what had just been discussed on the Southern air. But a great surprise was in store for both of them because the phone did ring many times but every call was from listeners who were very amiable and agreed with Kenny and Gray on their attitude on Southern prejudice.

It is a good sign for modern progress to realize that most of the Southerners, as individuals, agree wholeheartedly that all these unseen walls should be torn down and Negro talent should get its chance on Southern radio. The radio station, received over 3,000 calls after this precedent breaking broadcast and from all that number there was not one single complaint. An added sidelight worth noting is the fact that when Bill and his road manager left the radio studio they dismissed the police escort as there was no need for this "protection."

[Above news releases are from the Cleveland Call And Post and were provided by Richard Koloda.]



Above: Decca 24693 recorded on June 27, 1949 and released in August 1949. Note the early use of strings on both of these sides. Strings were also utilized by The Four Tunes later in 1949 and The King Odom Four in 1952 (all long before Ben E. King and The Drifters).

The flip is "You're Breaking My Heart". The Ink Spots released a different song "You're Breaking My Heart All Over Again" in 1940... seems it should have been the other way around going by the titles.

Listen to this week's selections by The Ink Spots: [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

  A. Stream RealAudio...
 
    Who Do You Know In Heaven - Decca 24693 - 1949
    You're Breaking My Heart - Decca 24693 - 1949
 
    BOTH SONGS played in sequence

  B. Download RealAudio...
 
    Who Do You Know In Heaven - Decca 24693 - 1949
    You're Breaking My Heart - Decca 24693 - 1949
 
  C. Stream/Download** Media Player...
 
    Who Do You Know In Heaven - Decca 24693 - 1949
    You're Breaking My Heart - Decca 24693 - 1949
 

    [**To download Media file, right-click on link under C and then click "Save (Link) Target As..."]

FOR MORE INK SPOTS, PLEASE CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINKS:
(Will open in a separate window)

THE INK SPOTS WEB SITE

THE INK SPOTS (ORIGINAL GROUP)


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