Home Music Henry Stone, 93, Dead: Infamous Record Biz Chief Who Birthed KC...

Henry Stone, the legendary and infamous founder of TK Records, is dead at 93.  Stone, a Miami regular, is as well known for doing good as doing bad–really bad– in the music business. At TK he created KC and the Sunshine Band, George McCrae and his wife Gwen, and many others. But Stone had a long history even before that which included hits and the mob end of the record biz.

Stone, like a lot of others in the business, had good taste. He could make hits and stars, then rip the stars off. But he had many hits like “Funky Nassau,” “Why Can’t We Live Together” and “Clean Up Woman.” Most of the artists never got paid and are still complaining.

In a famous incident that Stone conceded could be true, he once paid George McCrae with a Cadillac. He handed him the keys. McCrae asked how much the car had cost. Stone replied, “What cost? It’s rented.” The story appeared in Fred Dannen’s great book, “Hit Men.”

A couple of years ago Stone published a memoir called “The Stone Cold Truth on Payola In The Music Biz: Cash Cocaine, Cars and the Music Biz.” The title says it all. Henry Stone was a cowboy who did a lot of bad things. But without him, we’d be missing a lot of great music. RIP Henry.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
2 replies to this post
  1. “Words cannot adequately convey my sorrow upon learning of the passing of Henry Stone. The world of music has lost a trailblazer – a legend – but personally, I’ve lost the only father I’ve ever known. He was my friend and mentor – he brought a 15 year old teen from Opa-Locka into the studios of TK Records and gave him the freedom to perfect his craft as a recording engineer – and the room to grow as a songwriter and producer. Henry believed in me – he was always in my corner from Day One. He gave life to the studio concept that Harry and I created together at TK, resulting in the birth of our band: KC and the Sunshine Band. Our success… the success of so many other TK artists… All props and thanks lie solely at the feet of Henry Stone. We would have been nothing without him. Rest in peace, dear friend – I love you.”

    Rick Finch
    Producer / Arranger / co-founder of ‘KC and the Sunshine Band’

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