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The History

A Brief Introduction

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Sydney Nathan was born in Cincinnati to Frieda and Nathaniel Nathan on April 27, 1903, suffering with asthma and poor eyesight. His vision was so bad that he quit school in the ninth grade. In 1943, he launched King Records in the community of Evanston in Cincinnati, Ohio, and built the company into one of the most important, successful, and influential record companies in history.

The label owned several divisions, recording such country luminaries as the Stanley Brothers, R&B doo-wop star Otis Williams, and funk pioneer James Brown. King Records was in operation until 1975.

At a time when segregation was still the norm around the country, King Records was fully integrated from the recording studio to the packaging plant. Recognizing this legacy and bringing this history to life is our goal, and we would love your help.

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"During the war, records were hard to get and naturally I had a brilliant idea, that I could get hillbilly singers and cut some records, and someone would press them for me. I thought it would be as easy as that." - Syd Nathan

Cincinnati Faces of King


Otis Williams

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Philip Paul

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Bootsy Collins

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