Sussex Records

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Sussex Records
Parent company Sussex Records
Founded 1969
Founder Clarence Avant
Status Defunct (1975)
Distributor(s) Buddah Records (1969-1974)
self-distributed (1974-1975)
Genre Rhythm and blues
Country of origin United States
Location Los Angeles, California

Sussex Records, Inc. was a Los Angeles-based record label, founded by music executive and businessman, Clarence Avant, that existed from 1969 through 1975.


Sussex Records was launched in December 1969 by Avant, who had previously set up another mainly black music label, Venture Records for MGM. An offshoot of Buddah Records, initially it was located at 6430 W Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, at the corner of Sunset and Cahuenga Blvds. In 1972, it moved to 6255 W Sunset Blvd, Suite 1902. All records were distributed by Buddah Records until 1974 when Sussex switched to independent distribution until its closure. The company folded in July 1975, due to unpaid state and federal taxes amounting to $62,000: the Internal Revenue Service padlocked the offices and auctioned off all assets. Many of the label's master tapes went missing and were presumed destroyed. Rights to the catalog were acquired in a bankruptcy action by Tom Ficara and Combined Artists.

Bill Withers was the label's best-selling artist with a string of pop and R&B hits and several successful albums. They included three million-selling singles, "Ain't No Sunshine" (#3 pop, #6 R&B, 1971), the label's only chart-topper, "Lean On Me" (#1 pop and #1 R&B, 1972) and "Use Me" (#2 pop and #2 R&B, 1972). His recordings, many self-written and produced, were later purchased by Columbia Records, when Withers signed for the label in 1975.

In 1971, the label notched another gold disc with Detroit guitarist, Dennis Coffey who reached #6 pop and #9 R&B with disco hit, "Scorpio". The Presidents vocal group had a major hit for Sussex in 1970 with "5-10-15-20" (#5 R&B, #11 pop), produced by Van McCoy. The group from Washington DC had released the label's first single, "For You", a minor R&B hit, a few months earlier.

In 1972 another awesome guitarist was signed named Eddy Senay who had a hit called "Hot Thang" and Eddy also covered the Bill Withers hit "Ain't no Sunshine. Later the hit "Cameo" started to break out worldwide as a popular hit with his fans around the world.

After Sussex folded, Avant went on to form another record company, Tabu Records.

Sixto Rodriguez[edit]

Signed to Sussex Records in 1970.

After the move to Sussex, his professional name was changed to simply Rodriguez. Rodriguez recorded two albums with Sussex, Cold Fact in 1970 and Coming from Reality in 1971. But after both sold very few copies in the US, he was quickly dropped from the label.


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