Lionel was run by producer Dallas Smith and songwriter Jimmy Webb. On the record labels, it noted
that Lionel was a division of Lionel Entertainment Corporation of New York. On the record jackets, it
claimed to be a division of Lionel Entertainment Corporation, 7165 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles.
Lionel was started in 1970 and operated until 1972. The first single on the label was "Ol' Man River"/"This Bitter Earth" by the Satisfactions [Lionel 3201] in 1970, and the final single for the label was "Friends & Family"/"Julianna" by the Five Man Electrical Band [Lionel 3224] in 1972.
Artists for the label included the Satisfactions, Big City Down River, Jacky Cornell, Sweet Roll, Gwen Simmons, the Heroes of Cranberry Farm, Larry Nettles and the Hot Ice Co., Joey Gregorash, Bobby Jones, Carolyn Byrd, Junior and Punky Lee, Joey Scarbury, and the Five Man Electrical Band. It was Scarbury that had the first chart record, but the Five Man Electrical Band were the biggest sellers for the label.
Joey Scarbury was a a session singer for Mike Post who charted at #73 with "Mixed Up Guy" [Lionel 3208] in early 1971. He would wait another ten years for his second chart single, but it was a huge hit, "Theme From 'The Greatest American Hero' (Believe It Or Not)" [Elektra 47147, #2].
The Five Man Electrical Band were the only Lionel act to merit release of an album, of which they had two. They were a Canadian quintet made up of Les Emmerson (lead guitar, vocals), Ted Gerow (keyboards), Brian Rading (bass), Rick Bell (percussion, vocals), and Mike Bell (drums, vocals). The Bell brothers had shortened their names from Belanger. The group hit with a number 3 smash in late spring, 1971, with "Signs." They placed four other singles in the top 100, but never again came close to their debut success. Their followup, "Absolutely Right" [Lionel 3220] made #26, but that was the last Lionel chart record they had.
By 1972, when Lionel folded, artists were absorbed into the resurrection of another old MGM subsidiary, Lion. The Five Man Electrical Band had two additional low charters on the Lion Label before moving to Polydor in 1974.
The Lionel label was grey, black, and green, with black print. The Lionel logo was "Lionel" written in boxy green letters on the top of the label, with a green, grey, black and yellow triangle to the right of the name.
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 Lionel Records or MGM Records. The MGM masters are currently owned by Universal Music Group. 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 2000 by Mike Callahan.