Jack Lathrop

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Jack Lathrop was an American vocalist and guitarist who recorded for RCA Victor as “Jack Lathrop and his Drugstore Cowboys” and had a couple of minor hits, in part because of the Petrillo recording bans.


As a guitarist and vocalist in the Glenn Miller Orchestra, he composed "Helpless", featuring vocals by Ray Eberle, and "Long Time No See, Baby", featuring vocals by Marion Hutton, which were released as 78 singles on RCA.

Lathrop’s first release with RCA, (catalog 20-3109) [1] and his first charting hit as a solo artist, was “Hair of Gold.” This song was written by Sunny Skylar and introduced to the public by Jack Emerson on Metrotone Records. Gordon MacRae’s version was the biggest hit,[2] but Lathrop’s version also fared well. It was his highest-charting song, reaching a peak of #19.[3] The b-side of this record was “You Call Everybody Darling,” [1] a song written by Sam Martin, Ben L. Trace, Clem Watts, and Albert J. Trace.[4] This song also reached the charts at #27.[3] These sides had been recorded as a response to the James Petrillo-led Musician’s Union recording ban of 1948. The instrumentation backing the harmonizing vocalists was limited to harmonicas, jug-blowers, and ukuleles.[5] Despite the limited instrumentation (or perhaps because of it,) Billboard reviewed both sides as “excellent.” [6]

The second RCA release (catalog 20-3199)[1] was “Dainty Brenda Lee,” which received a rating of “excellent” from Billboard.[7] “Corn Belt Symphony” was placed on the other side of the 78rpm disc. This song was cited as both an “Operators Pick” (peaking at #2) [8] and “Retailers Pick” (peak #6) [9] for several weeks in late 1948 in Billboard,[10][11][12] but despite the reviews and large marketing support from RCA, the disc had limited commercial impact.

His next release for RCA was “My Darling, My Darling”, a duet with Eve Young.[13] This garnered negative reviews from Billboard and the New York Times,[14][15] but it reached the Juke Box charts at #26.[13]

The success of the RCA recordings prompted Jack to hire Frank Hanshaw as a manager, and to go on tour with a trio consisting guitar, accordion, and bass.[16] He recorded two more sides (RCA Victor 20-3327) [1] before touring, “Don’t Hang Around” and “One Has My Name,” which were reviewed as “good” by Billboard.[17]

In addition to the popular material, RCA utilized his talent for a new series of children’s records.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d Abrams, Steven and Settlemier, Tyrone. "The Online Discographical Project – RCA Victor 20-prefix series ". Retrieved July 10, 2011
  2. ^ Hischak, Thomas S. (2002). The Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-31992-1. ISBN 0-313-31992-8. 
  3. ^ a b "Jack Lathrop and the Drugstore Cowboys Songs - Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". MusicVF.com. Retrieved 2011-07-10. 
  4. ^ Plasketes, George (2010). Play It Again: Cover Songs in Popular Music. Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7546-6809-1. ISBN 0-7546-6809-6. 
  5. ^ "RCA Refuses Any Petrillo Ban Skirting". Billboard. August 14, 1948. p. 18. 
  6. ^ "Record Reviews". Billboard. August 14, 1948. p. 32. 
  7. ^ "Record Reviews". Billboard. October 9, 1948. p. 38. 
  8. ^ "The Operator's Pick". Billboard. October 9, 1948. 
  9. ^ "Retailer's Pick". Billboard. October 16, 1948. 
  10. ^ "The Retailers Pick". Billboard. October 23, 1948. 
  11. ^ "The Operator's Pick". Billboard. December 4, 1948. 
  12. ^ "Retailer's Pick". Billboard. November 6, 1948. 
  13. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1994). Joel Whitburn's Pop hits, 1940-1954. Record Research. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-89820-106-2. ISBN 0-89820-106-3. 
  14. ^ Taubman, Howard (November 21, 1948). "Records: Fun With a Nursery Theme". New York Times. p. X6. 
  15. ^ "The Billboard Picks". Billboard. October 23, 1948. p. 37. 
  16. ^ "Music – As Written". Billboard. January 29, 1949. p. 40. 
  17. ^ "Record Reviews". Billboard. January 29, 1949. p. 34. 
  18. ^ "RCA Spinner Label Bows in Kidisk Market". Billboard. October 30, 1948. p. 17.