The Select label issued its first record in January 1962. It was a subsidiary of Joy Records which was launched in May 1958 by music publisher Eddie Joy who was running the family’s publishing company, Joy Music, started by his father George way back in 1934.
The label’s first signing was Eddie V. Deane who was primarily a songwriter, having co-written “Rock-A-Billy” for Guy Mitchell and “Nee Nee Na Na Na Na Nu Nu” for Dicky Doo And The Don’ts. Deane would go on to be a ‘player’ in music publishing over many years.
Its first Hot 100 hit came with a Dion-like single from Dean Christie called “Heartbreaker” which was a purchased master from the tiny SWL label in Philadelphia, the city that was also the source for Select’s mid-Hot 100 hit in early 1963, “Who Stole The Keeshka?” by the (Polish) Matys Brothers, possibly the only song ever written about a Polish sausage!.
America’s burgeoning folk music scene didn’t elude Select Records. Long Island trio The Glencoves cracked the American Top 40 with “Hootenanny”, but neither The Glencoves, The Matys Brothers nor Dean Christie got beyond the ‘one hit wonder’ stage.
Among the label’s thirty plus releases are several worthy of mention; Larry Banks who’d been a member of The Four Fellows who’d had an R ‘n’ B hit in 1954 with “Soldier Boy” and who co-wrote “Go Now” (first for his then wife Bessie Banks) which gave The Moody Blues their breakthrough hit. Bank’s first solo single was on Select, “Will You Wait”.
If you’re a fan of ‘answer records’, you’ll be aware of Lorna Dune’s “Midnight Joey”, the answer to Joey Power’s Top 10 hit, “Midnight Mary”. Lorna Dune, it turned out, was Gary Wright of Spooky Tooth’s sister.
Spare a thought too, for New Haven’s Kampells whose “You’ve Got It Bad” is a much sought-after soul outing, the B side of their only ever release “New Lock On My Door” and finally, if the trumpet on James Gilreath’s “Little Band Of Gold” caught your ear, the man pursing his lips was John Mahalic who also had one solo record on Select, “Red Wing”.
By 1965 the American music business had changed and the British invasion had changed the way the business worked. It spelt the end of many an independent label, Select included.