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Tops Records was a Los Angeles-based record label owned by Tops Music Enterprises, both founded in 1947 by Carl L. Doshay and Sam Dickerman. After a prolific and profitable run, Tops merged with PRI Records in 1958, which in turn, sold to a group of investors in 1960, then went bankrupt in about 1962. Its assets — which included a huge library of recordings — were sold to Pickwick Records, a label that had been its main competitor throughout the 1950s.[1] Pickwick's assets were purchased by PolyGram Records in the late 1970s.

Selected artists[edit]

Many of Tops releases were produced as low-priced knock-offs of hits. Some of the artists used pseudonyms.

Pseudonymous artists
George Jones made some his first records for Tops under the name Hank Smith & The Nashville Playboys

Selected staff[edit]

Late 1940s
  • Carl L. Doshay (1917–2010), founder and president
  • Sam Dickerman (1915–2000), founder and vice president
  • Corky Carpenter (pseudonym of Amos Randolph Carpenter; 1922–1986), A&R
  • Harold Spina, A&R
  • Dave Pell, producer
1960s
  • Louis Capone, joined Tops in October 1962 as Vice President
  • Norm Wieland, joined Tops January 2, 1962, as sales manager; he previously had been in sales for Billboard in New York[2]


Discography (incomplete)[edit]

10-inch 3313 rpm LPs issued with a paper sleeve
  • L100 – Six All-Time Favorites Series
  • L101 – Six All-Time Hits, John Laurenz (195?)
  • L105 – Tops Presents Square Dances: Six All-Time Favorites, Virg Honeycutt & His Cimarron Rangers (195?)
  • L900 – Tops Masterpieces Series
Issued with a cardboard sleeve that was open at the top and had foldover flaps down the left and right sides of the back of the jacket
  • L901 – Organ Favorites, Beverly Laine (195?)
  • L902 – Strauss Waltzes, Royal Viennese Concert Orchestra (195?)
  • L903 – Favorite Hymns, Christian Chapel Choir (195?)
  • L904 – Polka Party, Polkateers (195?)
  • L905 – American Waltzes, Jack Owens with Roy Shields Orchestra (195?)
  • L906 – Music for Listening, Al Sack Concert Orchestra (195?)
  • L907 – South of the Border Favorites, Al Sack Concert Orchestra (195?)
  • L908 – Rhumba Favorites, Henry King (195?)
  • L909 – All Time Favorites, Tops All Star Orchestra (195?)
  • L910 – Lena Horne Sings, Lena Horne (195?)
  • L911 – "William Tell Overture" and "Dance of the Hours," Imperial Viennese Concert Orchestra (195?)
  • L912 – Piano Favorites, Sondra Bianca (195?)
  • L913 – Die Fledermaus Overture, Imperial Viennese Concert Orchestra (195?)
  • L914 – Nutcracker Suite, Imperial Viennese Concert Orchestra (195?)
  • L915 – Cole Porter Hits, Al Sack Orchestra (195?)
  • L916 – Oklahoma, Tops All Star Orchestra (195?)
  • L917 – Pop Concert, Imperial Viennese Concert Orchestra (195?)
  • L918 – South Pacific, Tops All Star Orchestra (195?)
  • L919 – Irving Berlin Hits, Al Sack Orchestra (195?)
  • L920 – Larry Clinton Plays For Dancing, Larry Clinton Orchestra (195?)
  • L921 –
  • L922 –
  • L923 – Twilight on the Trail, John Laurenz with Joe Venuti Orchestra (195?)
  • L924 – Rhapsody in Blue, Richard Berkman, piano (195?)
  • L925 – George Gershwin Favorites, All Star Cast (Various Artists) (195?)
Artists include: Jeannie McKeon, Lena Horne & Phil Moore Orchestra, Eddie Krawll, Allen Shrader Orchestra, Roy Bargy Orchestra, and the Al Sack Orchestra
  • L926 – Square Dance Party (With and Without Calls), Cimarron Rangers (195?)
  • L927 – Music for Dreaming, Al Sack Orchestra (195?)
  • L928 – Junior Jazz at the Auditorium, Various Artists (195?)
1954 all-star session with Howard McGhee, Jack McVea, Lucky Thompson, Irving Ashby, Jimmy Bunn, Red Callender, and Jackie Mills
  • L929 – Jazz Technocracy, Earle Spencer & His Orchestra (195?)
  • L930 – Hot Piano, Wilbert Baranco & His Orchestra (195?)
  • L931 – Moanin' Low, Lena Horne (195?)
  • L932 – Latin Rhythms, Henry King & His Orchestra (195?)
  • L933 – Kiddie Favorites (195?)
  • L934 – Sentimental Favorites, Barclay Allen at the Piano; Vocals by John Laurenz (195?)
  • L935 – Hawaiian Favorites, Akoni Loni & His Islanders (195?)
  • L936 – Honky Tonk Piano, Lew "Ace" Raymond (195?)
  • L937 – Peer Gynt Suite, Royal Viennese Symphonic Orchestra (195?)
  • L938 – Warsaw Concerto, Royal Viennese Symphonic Orchestra (195?)
  • L939 – Scheherezade, Royal Viennese Symphonic Orchestra (195?)
  • L940 – Roumanian Rhapsody, Royal Viennese Symphonic Orchestra (195?)
  • L941 – Western Favorites, Various Artists (195?)
Artists include Ozie Waters, Bob Sandy, the Plainsmen, and the Rhythm Rangers
  • L942 – Rigoletto: Acts I & II, Orchestra & Chorus of the Teatro Eliseo Opera House, Rome (195?)
  • L943 – Rigoletto: Acts III & IV, Orchestra & Chorus of the Teatro Eliseo Opera House, Rome (195?)
  • L944 – Songs of Faith, Family Altar Quartet (195?)
  • L945 – Barber Shop Ballads, Four Rhythmaires (195?)
  • L946 – Music for Lovers, John Laurenz (195?)
  • L947 – Caravan of Favorites, Al Sack Orchestra (195?)
  • L948 – Jazz Jamboree, Earl Spencer & His Orchestra (195?)
  • L949 – Music for Romance, Roy Bargie & His Orchestra (195?)
  • L950 – Pop Serenade, All Star Cast (Various Artists) (195?)
  • L951 – Cool and Crazy!, All Star Swing Orchestras (Various Artists) (195?)
  • L952 – Over the Rainbow, Phil Moore, piano (195?)
  • L953 –
  • L954 – Richard Berkman Plays Great Piano Gems, Richard Berkman (195?)
  • L955 –
  • L956 –
  • L957 –
  • L958 –
  • L959 – Music to Love By, Jay Wilbur Orchestra (195?)
  • L960 –
  • L961 –
  • L962 – One Night of Love, Jay Wilbur Orchestra (195?)
  • L963 –
  • L964 –
  • L965 – World Favorites, Jay Wilbur Orchestra (195?)
  • L966 –
  • L967 –
  • L968 –
  • L969 –
  • L970 –
  • L971 –
  • L972 –
  • L973 –
  • L974 –
  • L975 – Midnight Serenade, Jay Wilbur (195?)


LP Records
  • L1501 – Square Dance Party
  • L1502 – Lena Horne
  • L1503 – Nutcracker Suite
  • L1504 – Classic Favorites
  • L1505 – Music For Listening
  • L1506 – Porter and Berlin Favorites
  • L1507 – Music To Love By
  • L1508 – Jazz Greats
  • L1509 – Honky Tonk Piano
  • L1510 – Twelve Top Hits, the then current best–selling songs as listed by the nation's leading disk jockeys
  • L1511 – Rock & Roll with Scatman Crothers
  • L1512 – Organ Favorites
  • L1513 – Favorite Hymns
  • L1514 – All–Time Favorites
  • L1515 – World's Greatest Overtures
  • L1516 – Piano Recital
  • L1517 – Hawaiian Favorites
  • L1518 – Rock and Roll With Joe Houston
  • L1519 – Themes From The Movies
  • L1520 – Strauss Waltzes
  • L1521 – Modern Jazz
  • L1522 – Sweet Georgia Brown
  • L1523 – Page Cavanaugh
  • L1524 – Music For A Lonely Night
  • L1525 – Christmas Favorites
  • L1526 – Party Favorites
  • L1527 – Music For Day Dreaming
  • L1528 – Charlie Ventura
  • L1529 – Holiday In Italy
  • L1530 – 24 Kiddie Favorites
  • L1531 – Time On My Hands
  • L1532 – Concert in Jazz, Earle Spencer and his Orchestra
  • L1533 – Barrelhouse Piano
  • L1534 – HiFi Piano
  • L1535 – A Night In Havana
  • L1536 – Rhapsody In Blue
  • L1537 – My Fair Lady
  • L1538 – Holiday In France
  • L1539 – Scheherezade
  • L1540 – A Tribute To Eddie Duchin

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  • L1651 – Let's All Sing
  • L1652 – Gigi
  • L1653 – Top Western Hits
  • L1655 – The Gay 90s with Beatrice Kay
  • L1665 – Harmonica Favorites, George Fields

References[edit]

Inline citations
  1. ^ "Tops/Mayfair Story," by Mike Callahan, David Edwards, and Patrice Eyries, Both Sides Now (newsletter of Michael A. Callahan; born 1945), McKinney, Texas (article last updated April 15, 2007)
  2. ^ "Norm Wieland Joins Tops Records Staff," Billboard, January 5, 1963, pg. 37


Category:Record labels established in 1947 Category:Blues record labels Category:Defunct record labels of the United States Category:1947 establishments in California