Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vee-Jay Records: For Your Precious Love

Vee-Jay Records was founded in 1953 in the Chicago suburb of Gary, Indiana by the husband and wife team of Vivian Carter and James C. Bracken. Their first names’ initials were the inspiration for the label’s name. Originally it focused on R&B artists; however, the label saw its greatest success in the mid 1960s when it became the label for The Beatles’ first American releases, The Four Seasons, and Frank Ifield.

Due to financial difficulties caused by upper management appropriating profits for personal debts, the label went bankrupt in 1966. Over the years, Vee-Jay has surfaced several times with its primary purpose of leasing its masters to other labels for release. For a brief period in the 1980s, it was operational as a disco and R&B label, but was unsuccessful in this venture. This last summer, the Concord Music Group acquired the Vee-Jay catalog.

To begin our fourth week label feature, our initial selection was released five times by Vee-Jay and its subsidiaries. The original release of Jerry Butler and The Impressions’ “For Your Precious Love” was appeared on the Vee-Jay label in June 1958. Fearing that radio would pass on the release because it was on a label known for R&B artists, Vee-Jay released the single on their Falcon Records subsidiary in July 1958.

When Vee-Jay become aware of another label named Falcon, the subsidiary’s name was changed to Abner Records, which was named for Vee-Jay’s president Ewart Abner. “For Your Precious Love” did extremely well and cracked the Top 40 charts and peaked at #11. It also charted at #3 on the R&B charts. During summer 1961, Vee-Jay re-released the single; however, it failed to chart.

The 1965/1966 Re-Issue

In 1965, Butler returned to the studio and re-recorded “For Your Precious Love” as a solo recording in stereo for Vee-Jay. Released late in the year, the song charted in early 1966 on the R&B charts at #25. The re-issue had a dismal showing on the pop charts as it only broke into the Hot 100 at #99.

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