Larry Newton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Larry Newton (né Louis I. Nutinsky[1] 7 May 1920 Philadelphia – 30 January 2005, Pompano Beach, Florida) was an American record company entrepreneur, who, earlier in his career, worked with several independent labels. He then became sales manager at the 1955 startup of ABC-Paramount Records, ascending to president in 1965. He oversaw what became a major multimarket, multi-label company, which, for its jazz subsidiary Impulse!, included Ray Charles, Oliver Nelson, Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, and John Coltrane.


Newton's career began in 1938, while still in high school, when he worked in the stockroom of a Columbia distributor in Philadelphia. He became a salesman for Varsity, Combo, and Rainbow Records[2][3]

Newton enlisted December 1, 1941, in the U.S. Army and served as a paratrooper during World War II and was honorably discharged November 15, 1945.[4] In 1946, Newton became sales manager for Black & White Records.

In March 1949, Newton left B&W to become general manager of Peak Records. Also, around July 1949, Newton co-founded, co-owned, and co-managed, with Eddie Heller,[a] Derby Records[5] — which produced hit by the Eddie Wilcox Orchestra, with Sunny Gale[b] singing "Wheel of Fortune" – and Jaye P. Morgan.

Newton overextended, financially, and, in 1953, formed a record Central Records with Lee Magid 1953. Eventually, in 1954, he had to file for bankruptcy. The Derby masters were sold to RCA where Newton became an executive.[6]

In 1955, Newton became General Manager of Murray Katz's Treat Records, then located at 236 West 55 Street in Manhattan. In 1956, he joined ABC-Paramount as sales manager, where, in 1959, he rose to vice president of sales, and in 1965, president. In 1970, Newton became vice-president of ABC Pictures. In 1972, Newton returned to the record business by co-founding and heading GSF Records.[7]

Newton is probably best remembered today for trying to stop Louis Armstrong from recording, "What A Wonderful World" because Newton did not like the song.


Sometime in the 1940s, Newton married Dorothy Liberman (aka "Dolly;" 1921–2014). Both are buried at Star of David Memorial Gardens, North Lauderdale, Florida[8]


  1. ^ Eddie Heller founded Rainbow Records in New York City in 1947 and ran it until 1957, when he switched to RCA Victor as Musical Director, a post he held until January 1959; his brother, Bobby Heller, joined Rainbow in 1950 as Promotion Manager; in February 1959, Eddie Heller became Musical Director of MGM Records; Eddie and Bobby also owned a club in north Philadelphia; Eddie died of a heart attack while, among other things, arranging a tour for Rudy Lynn, a celebrity hairstylist who, in 1964, quit to record his first song, "Number One Guy," for Heller's new label, Tribute Records ("Stylist and Confidant to the Stars Rudy Lynn," by Karen Ford, American Salon, April 24, 2015)
  2. ^ Sunny Gale (née Selma Sega; born 20 February 1927 Clayton, New Jersey) was a pop singer who flourished in the 1950s; "Wheel Of Fortune," released by Derby, was her first recording; it became her first Top 20 hit in 1952 and remains her best-known single


  1. ^ "Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007: 'Larry Newton'" (retrieved May 17, 2016, via (link; subscription required)
  2. ^ "Clark to Head AB-PT; Top ABC-Para. Post to Newton," Magazine, Vol. 76, No. 47, November 21, 1964, pps. 1 & 8
  3. ^ "Rainbow Records" (blog via WordPress) (retrieved May 17, 2016)
  4. ^ "US Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS (Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem) Death File, 1850-2010"
  5. ^ "Derby Records Continue to Wax Best in Music," New York Age, February 4, 1950, pg. 29
  6. ^ Record Makers and Breakers: Voices of the Independent Rock 'n' Roll Pioneers, by John Broven, University of Illinois Press (2009); pg. 440; OCLC 785781204
  7. ^ "GSF Into Disk, Music Fields; Newton Is Chief," Magazine, Vol. 84, No. 16, April 15, 1972, pg. 3
  8. ^ Larry Newton at Find a Grave (retrieved June 18, 2012)