Formed in Los Angeles, California in 1947 as Tops Music Enterprises 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 (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 dollars. 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.
Use Tops Music Enterprises as company