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Syd Nathan
Syd Nathan
One of the truly eccentric figures of the record industry, Syd Nathan was the founder and head of the Cincinnati-based King Records. Nathan, who founded the label as an extension to his record store, had an uncanny ability to sense the types of music that African-Americans migrating from the South wanted to hear and seized the opportunity to sign some of the best R&B and country acts of the period. Referred to as "Little Ceasar" because he was short, fat, and ruled his label like a dictator, the label head constantly screamed and intimidated his artists and employees. Yet, despite his tyrannical behavior, Nathan assembled a remarkably diverse and talented roster of artists. Acts who recorded for King included Tiny Bradshaw, Cleanhead Vinson, Little Willie John, the Midnighters, the "5" Royales, Cowboy Copas, and, most famously, James Brown.
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