Mala Album Discography
By David Edwards and Mike Callahan
Last update: June 17, 2003

Mala Records was formed in 1959 as a subsidiary to Bell Records by Bell's President, Al Massler. It was purchased in late 1961 by Larry Utall, then-owner of the Madison label. Utall closed Madison down and shifted his artist roster to the Bell labels.

Mala's singles series started in 1959 with a long-forgotten disc by the Hi Boys, "Billy Boy"/"Draw" [Mala 400]. About a dozen singles were issued the first year, including singles by Sy Oliver, Herb Lance (who two years later charted with the Classics on the Promo label with "Blue Moon"), Jeanie Allen, and the Hully Gully Boys. Another dozen singles in 1960 were also by largely unknowns, but they did include a pair of early singles by David Gates ("What's This I Hear"/"You'll Be My Baby", Mala 413, and "Happiest Man Alive"/"The Road That Leads To Love", Mala 418). The year 1961 brought another eighteen mostly forgettable singles, with another David Gates offering mixed in ("Jo-Baby"/"Teardrops In My Heart", Mala 427).

Early in 1962, Mala issued a single by R. Dean Taylor ("I'll Remember"/"It's A Long Way To St. Louis", Mala 444), almost a decade before his "Indiana Wants Me" hit in 1970. David Walker, once the lead singer for the gospel group Mighty Clouds of Joy, hit psudonymously as Bunker Hill with "Hide and Go Seek, Part 1" [Mala 451], which made #33. Although Walker had several followup singles, both under his own name and as Bunker Hill, none caught on.

In 1963, perennial label-wanderer Link Wray (and his Ray Men/Wraymen) signed with Mala for two singles ("Hold It"/"Big City After Dark", Mala 456 by Ray Vernon and the Ray Men, and "Dancing Party"/"There's A Hole In The Middle Of The Moon", Mala 458, by Link Wray and the Wraymen).

Near the end of 1963, the BigTop label folded and Mala took over many of their artists. Don & Juan, Johnny & the Hurricanes, and the Royaltones appeared on Mala about that time. Del Shannon, BigTop's major artist, formed his own label, Berlee, upon leaving BigTop in 1963, but lack of distribution soon discouraged Del, and he eventually settled in at sister label Amy in 1964.

Ronny & the Daytonas In 1964, Mala scored its biggest hit yet with Ronny and the Daytonas' "G.T.O.," a song directed at the then-current car craze and celebrating Pontiac's hot new model of the same name. Ronny and the Daytonas were a Nashville studio group. "Ronny" is John "Bucky" Wilkin, backed by a cast of famous Nashville session men, including Bobby Russell, Chips Moman, Johnny MacRae, and others. A completely different touring group was formed for public appearances. The touring group later recorded as the Hombres ("Let It Out, Let It All Hang Out" on Verve-Forecast). Because of the huge hit, "G.T.O.," Mala re-started their album series with an LP of the same name [Mala 4001]. When the group hit with "Sandy" about two years later, Mala followed with a second album, Sandy [Mala 4002].

Other artists on the roster in 1964 included the Del Satins (Dion's backup group after splitting with the Belmonts), ex-Madison artists Nino & the Ebbtides and Gary Stites, the Rag Dolls ("Dusty"), and Nashville songwriter Chip Taylor (later to write the garage-rock anthem "Wild Thing").

1965 brought Jimmy Clanton, veteran hitmaker from the Ace label of Jackson, Mississippi, to Mala, but he failed to recapture the magic that got him a number of hits in 1959-63. Also that year, Little Caesar and the Consuls had a hit with "(My Girl) Sloopy" [Mala 512]. They were a Canadian group not to be confused with Little Caesar and the Romans.

The Van Dykes were a soul trio from Ft. Worth, Texas, who recorded "No Man Is an Island" for the tiny Hue label before signing with Mala. (They are not the same group that recorded chart records in 1961 on Donna and DeLuxe.) Bobby Wood, a Memphis session man who had had a minor hit with "If I'm a Fool For Loving You" [Joy 285] in 1964, joined Mala in 1966, but failed to dent the charts. The Emperor's [no, I don't know why the apostrophe is in there, either] were a sextet from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that had one mid-chart single, "Karate" [Mala 543], in late 1966, then faded from the scene.

The Carlton Show Band 1966 also saw the Mala label enter into international music. The Carlton Show Band [LP 4004] was a Canadian group who had a long running TV show on CTV called The Pig 'N Whistle. Peppi Morreale [LP 4003], of course, was a well known Latin American artist who had been performing in clubs and resorts since the 1950s.

The Box Tops The year 1967 brought the biggest selling artists the Mala label ever had. They were the Box Tops, who hit with the #1 song "The Letter" [Mala 565] in the fall of 1967 and rolled up ten more chart singles before the group disbanded in 1970. The gravel-throated lead voice was that of Alex Chilton. Other members were Gary Talley, John Evans, Billy Cunningham, and Danny Smythe. (Both Evans and Smythe left the group in late 1967, being replaced by Rick Allen and Tom Boggs.) Even though the Box Tops were by far the label's biggest sellers, all their albums were issued on the parent Bell label. In fact, Mala had ceased putting out albums in 1966, and all albums by Mala artists were issued on Bell starting in 1967.

Other artists on Mala from 1967 onward were Reparata and the Delrons, Bruce Channel, Gene Simmons, the Pieces of Eight, Mickey Lee Lane, Canadian Chad Allen (formerly of the group that became the Guess Who), and British artists Frankie Vaughan, Billy Fury and Spooky Tooth. Most of these artists had their hit days well behind them when they reached Mala. The last single on the label was the Box Tops' "Turn On A Dream" [Mala 12042] in the autumn of 1969. After that, Mala was folded back into the parent Bell label and ceased to exist as a separate label.

The Mala album label is dark blue with silver print. "mala" in a silver box above the center hole.

We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail. Both Sides Now Publications is an information web page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no association with Bell/Mala Records, which we believe is currently owned by Arista Records. Should you want to contact Arista, or should you be interested in acquiring albums listed in this discography (which are all out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and follow the instructions found there. This story and discography are copyright 1999, 2003 by Mike Callahan.



Number - Title - Artist - [Release Date] (Chart) Contents

Mala MLP-1 Series:

MLP-25 - Love on the Rocks - Richard Hayes [1959] Mala issue in the original Bell album series. The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else/Glad To Be Unhappy/Love On The Rocks/The Night We Called It A Day/The Thrill Is Gone//You Gave It Away/You've Changed/Love You Didn't Do It Right By Me/I Get Along Without You Very Well/The End Of A Love Affair

Mala 4000/4000-S Series:

4001/4001-S - G.T.O. - Ronny & Daytonas [1964] (12-64, #122) California Bound/Antique '32 Studebaker Dictator Coupe/Hot Rod Baby/Little Rail Job/Hey Little Girl/Bucket "T"//G.TO./The Little Sting Ray That Could/Surfin' In The Summertime/Back In The U.S.A./Hot Rod City/Little Scrambler

4002/4002-S - Sandy - Ronny & Daytonas [1966] Sandy (E)/Hold Me My Baby (S)/Baby Say No (S)/When Stars Shine Bright (S)/Be Good To Your Baby (S)/If I Had My Way (S)//Then The Rains Came (S)/Nanci (S)/Somebody To Love Me (S)/Come Into My Heart (S)/I'll Think Of Summer (S)/So In Love (S)

4003/4003-S - The More U Drink, The Better I Sound - Peppi Morreale Trio [1966] June Night/Love/The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else/My Kind Of Town/When You're Smiling/You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You//Who's Sorry Now/The Sheik Of Araby/Roses Of Picardy/Exactly Like You/Keep Smiling At Troubles/Up A Lazy River

4004/4004-S - We're Off to Dublin on the Green - Carlton Show Band [1966] The Merry Ploughboy/Quiet Lad Of Erin/Town Of Golway/Woman From Wexford/Lovely Lietrim/Kennedy Lament//Nelson's Pillar (Up Went Nelson)/Lovely Derry/Boys From County Mayo/Siege Of Ennis/Bold O'Donohue/Don't Make Me Go Home


The following albums were post-1966 Mala artists whose albums were released on the parent Bell label.

Bell 6004/6004-S - Tellin' It Like It Is - Van Dykes [1967] No Man Is An Island/What Will I Do (If I Lose You)/Tears Of Joy/I've Got To Find A Love/Hey, Mr. Lonesome/Never Let Me Go//I've Got To Go On Without You/I Won't Hold It Against You/You're Shakin' Me Up/I'm So Happy

Bell 6011/6011-S - The Letter/Neon Rainbow - Box Tops [10/67] (11-67, #87) The Letter (S)/She Knows How (S)/Trains And Boats And Planes (S)/Break My Mind (S)/Whiter Shade Of Pale (S)/Everything I Am (S)//Neon Rainbow (S)/People Make The World (S)/I'm Your Puppet (S)/Happy Times (S)/Gonna Find Somebody (S)/I Pray For Rain (S)

From this point, albums were released in stereo only.

Bell 6017 - Cry Like A Baby - Box Tops [3/68] (4-68, #59) Cry Like A Baby (S)/Deep In Kentucky (S)/I'm The One For You (S)/Weeping Analeah (S)/Every Time (S)/Fields Of Clover (S)//Trouble With Sam (S)/Lost (S)/Good Morning Dear (S)/727 (S)/You Keep Me Hanging On (S)

Bell 6019 - It's All About...Spooky Tooth - Spooky Tooth [9/68] It's All About A Roundabout/Tobacco Road/It Hurts You So/Forget It/I Got It/Bubbles//Society's Child/Love Really Changed Me/Here I Lived So Well/Too Much Of Nothing/Sunshine Help Me

Bell 6023 - Non-Stop - Box Tops [10/68] Choo Choo Train (S)/I'm Movin' On (S)/Sandman (S)/She Shot A Hole In My Soul (S)/People Gonna Talk (S)//I Met Her In Church (S)/Rock Me Baby (S)/Rollin' In My Sleep (S)/I Can Dig It (S)/Yesterday Where's My Mind (S)/If I Had Let You In (S)

Bell 6025 - Super Hits - Box Tops [11/68] (12-68, #45) The Letter (S)/Trains And Boats And Planes (S)/Break My Mind (S)/Whiter Shade Of Pale (S)/She Shot A Hole In My Soul (S)/Neon Rainbow (S)//Cry Like A Baby (S)/I'm Your Puppet (S)/I Met Her In Church (S)/You Keep Me Hanging On (S)/Choo Choo Train (S)

Bell 6032 - Dimensions - Box Tops [1969] (9-69, #77) Soul Deep (S)/I Shall Be Released (S)/Midnight Angel (S)/Together (S)/I'll Hold Out My Hand (S)/I Must Be The Devil (S)//Sweet Cream Ladies (S)/(The) Happy Song (S)/Ain't No Way (S)/Rock Me Baby (S)

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