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Swan Records is more than just The Beatles and Link Wray; from the late '50s through late '60s they doled out a magnificent array of records which shaped the early Philadelphia sound. This record celebrates the female voices of the Swan roster.
During the late '50s, Philadelphia was an epicenter of northeastern teen rock'n'roll. Close enough to the excitement and energy of New York City's thriving music business, the more suburban Philadelphia was home to increasingly affluent teenagers and a fertile breeding ground for the recording industry to take hold. In 1957 Tony Mamarella, television producer and one-time host of American Bandstand, and partner Bernie Binnick, a songwriter and musical visionary, started Swan Records, eager to chase the next teen trend.
Philadelphia had a plethora of recording studios, along with the ability for national publicity thanks to American Bandstand. The new young host, Dick Clark, was a natural; hip enough to host a teenage show, but mature enough to already be a seasoned professional seeing the business potential of investing in local record labels and inviting the talent on his show. The presence of American Bandstand in Philadelphia was pivotal to the success of local record labels.
Swan's early achievements were with the duo of Billie and Lillie, Lillie Bryant being the first female signed to the label. With three hits from Billie and Lillie, along with Freddie Cannon's "Tallahassie Lassie" Swan was surviving, and forging its own sound. Whereas fellow Philly labels Cameo and Parkway were known for teen dance craze records, Swan became identifiable for its danceable rock'n'roll sounds. All three labels kept American teenagers on their feet.
When the payola scandal hit the music industry, Dick Clark quietly backed away from his involvement in the recording industry, and Mamarella quit his job with Bandstand, saving Swan from the fallout. The label soldiered on, but it wasn't until 1964 that Swan had their biggest stroke of luck. Beatles producer Brian Epstein was planning for The Beatles American debut and shopping for a label to release "She Loves You" stateside. Approaching both Cameo and Swan, it was Swan who took the gamble. Bernie Binnick was more apt to take chances, while Cameo and Parkway preferred to continue to release records by their sure bet artists. "She Loves You" fueled Swan for a few more years as they continued to release local and regional artists, including a fair number of female artists, always searching for their next big hit.
Patty Saturday - Ladies Choice . Ginger Davis And The Snaps - Laughin' . Ruth And Sherry - Nothin' Much Tom Cat . The Sapphires - Where Is Johnny Now . The Tomboys - I'd Rather Fight Than Switch . Kathy Lynn And The Playboys - My Special Boy . The Swans - He's Mine . Beverly Jones And The Prestons - Hear You Talking . The McKinleys - When He Comes Along . Audrey Slo - Gonna Find The Right Boy . Joy Dawn - Hang It Up . The Three Degrees - Bongos On The Beach