1-CD deluxe album with 72-page booklet, 28 tracks. Playing time approx. 77 mns.
The year that the floodgates opened, rock 'n' roll was on everyone's mind and there were more million sellers than ever before. As Elvis Presley had been signed to RCA's country division by Steve Shoals, the other record companies brought pressure upon their Country A&R men to find the "next Elvis". Shoals, while respecting the older country audience, stated that "it was the kids who bought records" though Wesley Rose, at Acuff-Rose Music, sensed that all was not well as 78% of country djs felt that rock 'n' roll had no place on country radio but nevertheless played it in order to increase listenership.
The selection on this cd, though, keeps the sounds pretty solidly country, although newcomer Johnny Cash, with the Tennessee Two, was establishing himself with a "crossover" sound on Sun Records, while compatriot Carl Perkins was one of the music's premier rockabillies; Marty Robbins enjoyed pop and country sales (though his Singing The Blues came second-best to Guy Mitchell in the pop charts); Silver Threads And Golden Needles showed Wanda Jackson's strength as a country singer prior to emerging as rock 'n' roll's first lady. Other artists like Faron Young, Hank Thompson, Ray Price, Johnny Horton, Webb Pierce and Jim Reeves were among the "new breed" while Eddy Arnold was well into his second decade of hits. And the Louvin Brothers, Osborne Brothers, Don Reno and Red Smiley, among others, kept strictly to traditional roots.
According to the 'New York Herald Tribune' on May 26, 1946, the state of the record business "is so fabulous the industry is barely able to keep pace with it. Records tumble from the presses in ever increasing millions, and the public seems eager to buy them, good bad or indifferent. Production and sales are running twice what they were in 1942, and producers are looking forward to 1947 and '48 to double this year's expected output of 300 million discs." Today's record executives, presiding over a business that declines almost hourly, would be insanely jealous of a world in which the future was exponentially brighter.
In 1946, Columbia and RCA Victor still led the pack (competitors since the early 1900s, they became part of the same corporate monolith in 2004). RCA didn't break out record sales from its overall financial picture, so it was hard to gauge exactly how the record division was doing, but it was generally reckoned to be the industry leader with 120 million records sold. Columbia sold 65 million records. In 1945, its net income was just $196,000, but by 1946, that figure had jumped to $1.88 million. Columbia also made a huge contribution to the bottom line of its parent, CBS Broadcasting (4.6% of CBS's profits in 1945; 32.4% in 1946). Decca was doing well, too, netting slightly more than Columbia ($1.9 million) on gross sales of $30.6 million compared with $15.5 million in 1945.
The industry's success story, though, was Capitol Records. The label was feeling so bullish that it raised a $3 million stock issue to buy a plant in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to increase capacity. "Board Chairman [Buddy] De Sylva, 51, President [Johnny] Mercer, 37, and Vice President [Glenn] Wallichs, 36, announced that Capitol had grossed $13,082,797 in 1946 (double the 1945 gross) and had netted $842,961, almost four times as much as the previous year," reported the 'New York Herald Tribune.' "They said it sold 42 million records, one-sixth of all those sold in the U.S." Capitol's success was a beacon of hope to the proliferating independent labels because it had been in business just four years.