Fred Mendelsohn

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Fred Mendelsohn, (May 16, 1917 – April 28, 2000) president of Savoy Records for 42 years, was the first man to ever record, promote and market black gospel music as a national company. His dedication and contributions built the historic foundation for the black gospel music industry.

Many of today's major gospel artists started on Savoy under the leadership of Mendelsohn. As a talent scout for the label, he discovered artists such as Nappy Brown,[1] C. J. Johnson, and James Cleveland, and promoted Cleveland with many background church choirs. In doing this he was responsible for building the choir market.

Mendelsohn was responsible for such historic acts as The Caravans featuring Albertina Walker, Inez Andrews, Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, Delores Washington, The Barrett Sisters, Dorothy Love Coates & The Gospel Harmonettes and Clara Ward.

As a songwriter, he co-wrote, with Rose Marie McCoy, Brown's 1955 hit single "Don't Be Angry".[2] Mendelsohn was Jewish.[3]


  1. ^ Obituary in The Times
  2. ^ Obituary in The Independent
  3. ^ Cherry, Robert; Griffith, Jennifer (Summer 2014). "Down to Business: Herman Lubinsky and the Postwar Music Industry". Journal of Jazz Studies vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 1-24.