Bethlehem Records

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Bethlehem Records
Bethlehem Records Logo.png
Parent company Verse Music Group
Founded 1953
Founder Gus Wildi
Genre Jazz
Country of origin US
Location New York, New York
Official website

Bethlehem Records was a record label based in New York and Hollywood founded by Gus Wildi in 1953. It was bought by King Records in the early 1960s.


The label is mainly remembered for its jazz releases during the 1950s. Sessions were produced variously by Creed Taylor and Teddy Charles, among others.[1] Bethlehem released the first albums recorded by singers Chris Connor (the dual releases Chris Connor Sings Lullabys for Lovers and Chris Connor Sings Lullabys of Birdland) in 1954, Nina Simone (Little Girl Blue) in 1958 and singer/actress Julie London. London did not record a full album for the label: she recorded four songs that would later be released on the compilation LP Bethlehem's Girlfriends in 1955, which also featured Chris Connor and Carmen McRae. Marilyn Moore also recorded her debut album for Bethlehem. Bethlehem recorded many modern jazz musicians including Howard McGhee, Herbie Nichols and Oscar Pettiford. Bethlehem also recorded Jerri Winters' Somebody Loves Me in 1957.

In 1958, Bethlehem began a distributing deal with King Records. In 1962, it was sold and absorbed by King Records. After Sy Nathan's death in 1968, King was acquired by Starday Records and relaunched as 'Starday and King Records'. It was acquired in 1970 by Lin Broadcasting, and in 1972 by Tennessee Recording & Publishing, until it ended up with the acquisition by Gusto Records in 1974. At that time, Bethlehem was purchased by the Cayre brothers' Salsoul Records, who initially intended to release its back catalog for inexpensive 8-track tapes in the 1970s. In 1993, the Bethlehem name was revived in 1993 as Bethlehem Music Company, although Salsoul is often used as an imprint. It is now licensed by the Verse Music Group in 2010.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mark Gardner The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz

External links[edit]