The history of Moonglow Records goes back to the 1950s in Belgium, although most know
Moonglow as a 1960s Los Angeles-based label. Albert van Hoogten was owner of Ronnex Records in
Belgium, and sent his brother, Rene Jan van Hoogten, to the United States in the mid-1950s to set up a
label here. The first version of Moonglow Records was run out of Woodside, New York. The label noted
that Moonglow was a subsidiary of Ronnex Records of Belgium. Rene Jan van Hoogten changed his
name to Ray Maxwell to help Americans with pronunciation. Maxwell put out a number of singles on the
New York-based label, including a couple of 1958 reissues of tunes from the 4-Star label of a few years
earlier by Sammy Masters and His Rocking Rhythm ("Whop-T-Bop"/"2-Rock-A-4" [Moonglow 5015] and
"Pink Cadillac"/"Some Like It Hot" [Moonglow 5018]). Apparently, sales were not enough to keep the
original incarnation of Moonglow above water in New York, so Ray Maxwell relocated to the Los Angeles
Maxwell re-started Moonglow in the 1960s from an office at 6359 Selma Avenue in Hollywood. This time, there was no mention of being a subsidiary of Ronnex, but perhaps Ray's brother was part owner. On the operations side, though, it was pretty much a one-man show. Ray Maxwell was President, producer ("supervisor"), owner of the house music publishing company (Ray Maxwell Music), and generally ran the label. The first single from the new Moonglow was Penny Richards' "I'll Be Yours"/"The Only Way" [Moonglow 201], released in 1961. The first dozen singles generally sank without a trace, with artists such as the Runaways, Roy Jackson, Bert Convy, Jack Collier, and the John Van Horn Orchestra.
Moonglow 214 was "There She Goes (She's Walking)"/"That's All I Want Tonight" by the Paramours, a group that had both Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield as singers. The Paramours had recorded two singles for Smash in 1962, but to no success, and the label dropped them. Although both singers were white, their sound was black, and their black friends called them "the righteous brothers," a name that was right out of black gospel music. The two decided to leave the Paramours and record as a duo as "The Righteous Brothers." Their first single [Moonglow 215] was "Little Latin Lupe Lu," a Bill Medley song which hit the national charts starting in May, 1963, eventually reaching #49. A tour after the song hit may have done them more harm than good, Medley reflected later. The vast majority of deejays thought they were black, and when they showed up to promote the record, some stations that programmed all-black music had to apologize to the Brothers when they had to pull the record from rotation.
After the success of "Little Latin Lupe Lu," each of the singers released a solo venture. Moonglow 220 was Bobby Hatfield's "I Need a Girl"/"Hot Tomale," while Moonglow 221 was Bill Medley's "Gotta Tell You How I Feel"/"If You're Lying, You'll Be Crying." The public wasn't buying. But their followup single as a duo, "My Babe" [Moonglow 223], made the national charts again in September, 1963, eventually reaching #75. Unfortunately, their third try, "Koko Joe" [Moonglow 224], a studio recording with an overdubbed audience, failed to chart. It was about this time that Moonglow issued their first album, Right Now!, by the Righteous Brothers. The mono versions of this album had an orange label and the stereo versions had a yellow label.
In late 1963, Moonglow entered into a distribution agreement with Atco Records. The Moonglow label (either yellow or orange) had black printing. "Moonglow" was above the center hole with a quarter moon symbol in a black box to the left of the center hole. Most of the labels after the Atco distribution agreement have a statement at the bottom of the record that it is distributed by Atco, but some do not. As far as the orange and yellow labels went, Atco seemed to prefer the orange labels for stereo and the yellow for mono, the opposite of the original intent. But there didn't seem to be much organization concerning which label was used, so both mono and stereo versions are known with both yellow and orange labels. Nor was there consistency in the inclusion of the Atco statement at the bottom of the label. Some had them and some didn't, even as late as Moonglow 1004. Some of the statements were on two straight lines of type at the bottom of the label, and some had the notice bending around the bottom of the label. There were several printing variations, also. Some said "stereo," while some said "High Fidelity," even if the record was actually stereo. Some didn't say mono or stereo at all. And there were several different type fonts used for the labels.
Pre-Atco Moonglow 45s (at least as late as "My Babe," Moonglow #223) had blue labels with silver print. After Atco started distribution, Moonglow 45s had orange labels with black print.
|Early issues of Moonglow 1001 did not mention Atco as distributor. At left, an early stereo album on the yellow label, whose jacket gives the address for Moonglow as 6359 Selma Avenue, Hollywood, California 90028. At right, an Atco-distributed version on the yellow label is mono and has the Atco notice on two lines at the bottom.|
|At left, another variation of the Atco distribution notice had it bending around the bottom of the label. Album 1003, at right, was issued (in mono) on the yellow label without the Atco notice, even though Atco was still distributing Moonglow. Album #1004 also was issued with a yellow label without the Atco notice. These anomalies were probably due to the pressing plants using up old label blanks.|
|Two variations of the stereo labels for album #1004. One says "High Fidelity" where the other says "stereo", even though both are stereo (color variation is due to scanning; they are both the orange color on the left). All these label variations suggest that Atco shipped the orders out to several different pressing plants, who used several different printers for the labels, and Atco wasn't too exacting with the parameters they gave to the pressing plants as to how the label should look.|
Number - Title - Artist - [Release Date] (Chart) Contents
MLP/SLP 1001 - Right Now! - Righteous Brothers  (1-65, #11) Let The Good
Times Roll (S)/My Babe (S)/Bye Bye Love (S)/B-Flat Blues (S)/Little Latin Lupe Lu (E)/My Prayer (S)//In
That Great Gettin' Up Mornin' (S)/Georgia On My Mind (S)/Koko Joe (S)/I'm So Lonely (E)/Love Or
Magic (S)/Fee-Fi-Fidily-I-Oh (S)
MSP/SLP 1002 - Some Blue-Eyed Soul - Righteous Brothers  (1-65, #14)
Baby, What You Want Me To Do/My Tears Will Go Away/Fannie Mae/I Just Want To Make Love To
You/Something's Got A Hold On Me//This Little Girl Of Mine/Try To Find Another Man/Night Owl/Bring
Your Love To Me/For Your Love
MLP/SLP 1003 - This Is New! - Righteous Brothers  (6-65, #39) Justine/Burn
On Love/I Still Love You/Gotta Tell You How I Feel/I Need A Girl//You Can Have Her/Cryin' Blues/At My
Front Door/If You're Lying, You'll Be Crying/There She Goes [The Paramours Featuring Bill Medley;
actually, unlike the album title's promise, this
|MLP/SD 1004 - The Best Of The Righteous Brothers - Righteous Brothers  (5-66, #130) Georgia On My Mind (S)/Little Latin Lupe Lu (E)/For Your Love (S)/Try To Find Another Man (S)/You Can Have Her (S)/ Justine (S)/I Just Want To Make Love To You (S)//Fannie Mae (S)/Something's Got A Hold On Me (S)/My Prayer (S)/Let The Good Times Roll (S)/Bye Bye Love (S)/At My Front Door (S)/This Little Girl Of Mine (S)|
RELATED COMPACT DISC:
|Verve 314 511 157-2 - The Moonglow Years - Righteous Brothers  Little Latin Lupe Lu (M)/Let The Good Times Roll (S)/My Babe (S)/Ko Ko Joe (S)/I'm So Lonely (M)/In That Great Gettin' Up Morning (S)/Love Or Magic (S)/B-Flat Blues (S)/My Prayer (S)/Bye Bye Love (S)/Fee-Fi-Fidily-I-O (S)/This Little Girl Of Mine (S)/Baby What You Want Me To Do (S)/I Just Want To Make Love To You (S)/Bring Your Love To Me (S)/My Tears Will Go Away (M)/Something's Got A Hold On Me (S)/Try To Find Another Man (S)/Fannie Mae (S)/I Still Love You (S)/For Your Love (S)/Night Owl (S)/You Can Have Her (S)/Cryin' Blues (S)/Burn On Love (S)/Justine (S)/At My Front Door (S)/Georgia On My Mind (S)|