Tops Records


Defunct American budget record label, active 1947 to 1962. Also appears as "Tops" on releases.

Tops Music Enterprises was formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1947 by Carl Doshay and Sam Dickerman, two "rack jobbers" who sold used jukebox 78 RPM records to grocery stores, drug stores, five-and-dime stores and the like when they decided to enter the record business by recording and releasing "knockoff' cover version records featuring session musicians and vocalists at a list price of 39 cents as opposed to 79 cents from the major labels.

By the mid-1950s, the company, now based in Hollywood, hired Dave Pell as house producer and arranger as the company's success was starting to overwhelm Doshay. It also began recording by then-journeyman artists past their Hit Parade heyday (Lena Horne, Mel Tormé, Pee Wee Hunt, the The Pied Pipers, Kate Smith (2), The Ink Spots) as the 45 RPM single and LP formats began taking hold.

In 1958, Doshay sold the company to Geiger counter manufacturer Precision Radiation Instruments, Inc. (P.R.I), primarily to ease its tax burdens. Later that year, Tops hired publicist Bob Blythe, who promptly ran Tops aground through a series of bad business decisions. A year later, Doshay suffered a heart attack and decided to sell the company for $1 million. Blythe, who wanted to acquire the company to begin with, and a team of investors bought Tops/P.R.I. in 1960. Blythe took over, fired Doshay and overspent the company into bankruptcy. The investor group fired Blythe but it was far too late.

Tops and its catalog were sold to Pickwick International, Inc., and by 1963, its former rival folded the Tops/Mayfair/P.R.I. labels into its own operations.

Please see Tops Music Enterprises, Tops Music Enterprises, Corp., or Tops Music Enterprises Inc., for company credits.

The address is the same as the later companies of the Bihari Brothers shows. Most likely they acquired this part of the company when they went bankrupt.

Note that many releases were issued under three labels — "Tops Records, Mayfair Records and Golden Tone" — yet hold the same content and often the same release info or catalog numbers (e.g., Cowboys Songs For Little Buckaroos). Also see Tops Mayfair Records.

Parent Label:Pickwick International, Inc.
Sublabels:12 Top Tunes 99¢, 4 Hits, 6 Hits On Each Record, All-Time Hit Series, Campus (3), D & D (4), Kiddie Series (2), L1510 Tops, Mayfair (6), Mayfair Records, ...
Contact Info:

5810 So. Normandie Ave.
Los Angeles 44, Calif.
(contact info obsolete) , , ,


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