|Country of origin||U.S.|
Florence Greenberg founded Scepter Records from the $4000 she received after she sold Tiara Records and The Shirelles to Decca Records. When The Shirelles didn't produce any hits for Decca, they were given back to Greenberg, who promptly signed them.
By 1961 Greenberg launched a subsidiary, Wand Records. Through the two labels, they launched the careers of not only The Shirelles, but Dionne Warwick, Chuck Jackson, The Kingsmen, B.J. Thomas, Joey Dee, Maxine Brown, The Esquires, Tommy Hunt, The Guess Who, Tammi Terrell, The Independents and B.T. Express and gave The Isley Brothers their famous hit Twist And Shout, which was later covered by The Beatles. Another related label was Citation Records, "a Scepter Records subsidiary/series that featured a fake gold record on every cover, advertising the 'best of' (Joe) Tex, Flip Wilson, Deep Purple, Wilson Pickett, the Isley Brothers, and anything else they could lease (or own the rights to)." In 1976 Florence Greenberg decided to retire from the business and sold her record labels to Springboard International. When Springboard went bankrupt, Gusto Records acquired the catalog. Dionne Warwick arranged to buy her own masters, and the Kingsmen won control of their masters via a highly publicized lawsuit.
Scepter Records was one of the earliest record labels to release 12-inch singles intended for the nascent disco market. (Vince Aletti, 1975) During this revival of the label during the disco era in the 1970s, the label featured B.T. Express, The Independents, LTG Exchange, South Shore Commission, Ultra High Frequency, General Crook, Southside Movement, Aramada Orchestra and Bobby Moore. In March 2012, the play Baby It's You premiered on Broadway to rave reviews which told the story of Florence Greenberg and the development of Scepter Records. It has since been on tour on a national basis.
In 1965, Scepter moved its offices to 254 West 54th Street in Manhattan New York City, (a building now famous for housing the legendary Studio 54 disco). The building included warehouse space and its own recording studio. Though few albums of note were recorded at Scepter Studios, one was the influential, avant-garde rock and roll album The Velvet Underground & Nico, recorded in April 1966 by engineer John Licata under the supervision of Andy Warhol and Norman Dolph.
Scepter & subsidiary label artists (also see Wand Records)
- Maxine Brown
- B.T. Express
- Joey Dee
- The Esquires (Bunky)
- The Guess Who (Chad Allan & The Expressions)
- Roy Head (The Story of Roy Head and The Traits)
- Tommy Hunt
- The Independents
- The Isley Brothers
- Chuck Jackson
- The Kingsmen
- Loretta Long
- LTG Exchange
- The Shirelles
- Tammy Montgomery (Tammi Terrell)
- B.J. Thomas
- Ultra High Frequency
- Dionne Warwick
- James Porter with John Battles and Waymon Timbsdayle. Commenting on the re-release of The Best of Joe Tex in Roctober 2003.