Florence Greenberg

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Florence Greenberg (September 16, 1913 – November 2, 1995) was an American record label owner, music executive and a record producer.

Life and career[edit]

Greenberg lived as a housewife Passaic, New Jersey. In the mid-1950s, she already had two children, Mary Jane and Stanley, who were both in school, so she had nothing to do at home during the day. A friend of her husband helped her to get in the record business. Although she didn't have any background in music, she got fascinated and so Tiara Records was born. Greenberg was in her mid-thirties when she got interested in the record business. After a performance by a group of students at Passaic High School in 1957, Greenberg's daughter Mary Jane convinced her that she had to hear the group sing.[1]

In 1958, she started her own record label, called Tiara Records. The first song recorded and released on the label was "I Met Him On a Sunday", by the Shirelles, the same year as the company was started. Just as the record started to break locally, Greenberg sold the company with the Shirelles' contract to Decca Records for $4,000. With that money, she started a new label in 1959, called Scepter Records, which became one of the leading independent record labels in the 1960s. In 1961, Greenberg launched another record label, called Wand Records, as a subsidiary of Scepter Records. After a few years, Greenberg had established herself as a record producer and music executive for several popular singers in the 60s: Dionne Warwick, the Shirelles, Tammi Terrell, Chuck Jackson, B.J. Thomas and many others.[1]

In 1965, Greenberg received an offer of $6 million for Scepter from Gulf+Western, an offer that she rejected and later regretted not accepting.[1] Greenberg retired from business in 1976, and sold all of her labels to Springboard International. Unfortunately, the reissue pressings made by Springboard International were cheap, unlike the first-class records put out by Greenberg.

Death and legacy[edit]

Greenberg died on November 2, 1995, of heart failure at Hackensack University Medical Center. She was 82, and lived in Teaneck, New Jersey.[1]

In 2011, a Broadway show based on Greenberg's life called Baby It's You! debuted starring Beth Leavel as Greenberg.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Thomas, Robert, McG., Jr. "Florence Greenberg, 82, Pop-Record Producer", The New York Times, November 4, 1995. Accessed September 14, 2011. "Florence Greenberg, a one-time New Jersey housewife who parlayed an unlikely hit record by a teen-age group known as the Shirelles into an improbable career as the proprietor of a leading independent label of the 1960s, died on Thursday at the Hackensack University Medical Center. She was 82, and lived in Teaneck, N.J."
  2. ^ "A second chance for Florence Greenberg". northjersey.com. Retrieved 2011-02-24.