Modern Records

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Modern Records
Parent companyAce Records (UK)
Founded1945 (1945)
Defunct1969 (1969)
GenreJazz, blues, rhythm and blues, rock
Country of originU.S.
LocationLos Angeles, California

Modern Records (Modern Music Records before 1947)[1] was an American record company and label formed in 1945 in Los Angeles by the Bihari brothers. Modern's artists included Etta James, Joe Houston, Little Richard, Ike & Tina Turner and John Lee Hooker. The label released some of the most influential blues and R&B records of the 1940s and 1950s.[2]


In the beginning, Modern bought master recordings from other small labels. The Biharis also often used pseudonyms to give themselves writing credit on songs.[2] Having started as an R&B label, Modern was later one of the few R&B labels to routinely cover rhythm and blues hits on other labels, apparently in an attempt to broaden their appeal and reach the popular market.

In 1958, the Bihari brothers formed Kent Records and stopped issuing records on Modern.[3] In 1964, the Modern imprint was revived and the Ikettes released a few successful singles in 1965,[4] but the company became bankrupt a few years later and ceased operations. The catalog went with the management into Kent Records. This back catalog was eventually licensed to the UK label Ace Records in the 1980s and later sold outright during the 1990s. Ace Records of the U.K. now owns the master tapes.[5]

Management and staff[edit]

  • Saul, Jules and Joe Bihari were the main people who ran the label. Their older brother Lester was only there sporadically.[6]
  • Ike Turner was a talent scout and session musician for Modern Records in the 1950s.[2] Artists Turner discovered for Modern include Bobby "Blue" Bland, Howlin' Wolf, and Rosco Gordon.[7] According to B.B. King and Joe Bihari, Turner introduced King to the Bihari brothers which led to his RPM releases.[6]
  • Tony Hilder was an A&R man for Modern Records in the late 1950s. Later he went on to form his own labels, first CT Records[8] and later owner and president of Impact Records.[9][10]
  • Austin McCoy was an artist, session musician and recording session director with Modern Records. He left Modern in late 1950 to take up an A&R post with Mercury Records at their Beverly Hills office.[11]


  • Modern Music: The First Year – 1945 (Ace CH1339, 2012)

The following albums were released in mono with catalogue numbers "M-70nn" and in stereo with catalogue numbers "MST-8nn":

Selected singles[edit]

Catalog No. Release
Single (A-side, B-side) Artist
624[12] Oct 1948 1 "Blues After Hours"
b/w "I'm Still In Love With You"
Pee Wee Crayton
627[13] Nov 1948 1 "Boogie Chillen"
b/w "Sally May"
John Lee Hooker
704[14][15] Oct 1949 5 "Little School Girl"
b/w Suitcase Blues"
Smokey Hogg
714 Oct 1949 6 "Crawlin' King Snake"
b/w "Drifting from Door to Door"
John Lee Hooker
835 Sep 1951 1 "I'm in the Mood"
b/w "How Can You Do It"
John Lee Hooker
848 Dec 1951 "Crying All Night Long"
b/w "Dry Up Baby"
Robert Bland
857 Feb 1952 7 "The Wind Is Blowin"
b/w "Would My Baby Make A Change"
Jimmy Witherspoon
860 Mar 1952 "Ramblin' On My Mind"
b/w "Just An Army Boy"
Boyd Gilmore
864 Apr 1952 "Bad Women Bad Whiskey"
b/w "You're My Angel"
Little Junior Parker and the Blue Flames
947 Jan 1955 1 "The Wallflower"
b/w "Hold Me, Squeeze Me"
Etta James and "The Peaches"
962 Aug 1955 6 "Good Rockin' Daddy"
b/w "Crazy Feeling"
Etta James, Maxwell Davis & Orchestra
1005 Oct 1956 7 "Goodnight My Love (Pleasant Dreams)"
b/w "I Want You With Me Xmas"
Jessie Belvin
1022 Jun 1957 "By The Light Of The Silvery Moon"
b/w "Come What May"
Etta James
1003[16] Dec 1964 107 "Camel Walk"

b/w "Nobody Loves Me"

The Ikettes
1005[17] Feb 1965 36 28 "Peaches 'N' Cream"
b/w "The Biggest Players"
The Ikettes
1007[18] May 1965 107 32 "Good Bye, So Long"
b/w "Hurt Is All You Gave Me"
Ike & Tina Turner
1011[17] Jul 1965 74 12 "I'm So Thankful"
b/w "Don't Feel Sorry For Me"
The Ikettes
1012[19] Aug 1965 134 "I Don't Need"
b/w "Gonna Have Fun"
Ike & Tina Turner
1015[20] Jan 1966 122 "(Never More) Lonely For You"
b/w "Sally Go Round the Roses"
The Ikettes
1030 1967 "Bring It Back Home To Me"
b/w "Slippin' And Slidin'"
Little Richard



  1. ^ Encyclopedia of the Blues, Volume 1. Routledge. 2006. p. 700.
  2. ^ a b c Yardley, William (December 11, 2013). "Joe Bihari, Who Put Early R&B on Record, Dies at 88". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Kent Launches R-B Singles" (PDF). Billboard. March 24, 1958. p. 3.
  4. ^ "The Ikettes Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Retrieved 2021-01-28.
  5. ^ Gillett, Charlie (1996). The Rise of Rock and Roll (2nd ed.). New York: Da Capo Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 0-306-80683-5.
  6. ^ a b Kostelanetz, Richard; Reiswig, Jesse, eds. (2005). The B.B. King Reader: 6 Decades of Commentary. Hal Leonard. p. 7. ISBN 9780634099274.
  7. ^ Turner, Ike; Cawthorne, Nigel (1999). Takin' Back My Name: The Confessions of Ike Turner. London: Virgin. ISBN 9781852278502. OCLC 43321298.
  8. ^ Tony Hilder Biography at AllMusic
  9. ^ Billboard Music Week May 8, 1961 Page 4 Music As Written, Hollywood
  10. ^ Surfin' Guitars: Instrumental Surf Bands of the Sixties, Robert J. Dalley Page 259, Page 298, Page 299
  11. ^ The Billboard December 16, 1950 Page 12 McCoy Joins Modern Staff
  12. ^ "Best-Selling Retail Race Records" (PDF). Billboard. November 6, 1948. p. 31.
  13. ^ "Most Played Juke Box Race Records" (PDF). Billboard. February 19, 1949. p. 32.
  14. ^ "Advance Rhythm & Blues Record Releases" (PDF). Billboard. October 22, 1949. p. 67.
  15. ^ "Most-Played Juke Box Rhythm & Blues Records" (PDF). Billboard. January 14, 1950. p. 33.
  16. ^ "Bubbling Under The Hot 100" (PDF). Billboard. February 13, 1965. p. 28.
  17. ^ a b "The Ikettes Chart History". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Top Selling Rhythm & Blues Singles" (PDF). Billboard. June 19, 1965. p. 43.
  19. ^ "Bubbling Under The Hot 100" (PDF). Billboard. August 7, 1965. p. 20.
  20. ^ "Bubbling Under The Hot 100" (PDF). Billboard. February 5, 1966. p. 24.

External links[edit]