The Shell, Duel and Gulf labels belonged to the Allied Entertainment Corporation based at 1697 Broadway in New York and housed several publishing companies as well as the labels.
A Dr. Herbert Breger was the head of the firm with Don Costa as his Vice-President; online information shows Dr. Breger as being a dentist by trade ! In time all the labels and the publishing houses became part of Edward Kassner’s publishing and record label combine.
Shell was the senior label, having opened for business in 1958; Gulf came along in 1960 and Duel the following year.
Shell was also the most successful, its biggest hit being “Yogi” by The Ivy Three, a group that included two people, Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin who would later make their mark in the music business with Screen-Gems Music. Another novelty song that made the American Hot 100 on Shell was “The Yen-Yet Song” by Gary Cane, a native of Coney Island who won a “Cutest Kid” contest when he was five years of age. After several releases on Shell he went to college and achieved a degree in Veterinary Medicine. Only two of the label’s releases were released in Britain; The Ivy Three came out on London and the Silver Sisters‘ “Waiting For The Stars To Shine” on Parlophone.
Many of the label’s releases were written and/or produced by Lou Stallman and Sid Jacobson or by Billy Mure while Shirley Ellison (later known as Shirley Ellis) and Bobby Pedrick (later known as Robert John) also had releases on the label. One of its most collected singles is the doo-wop “Ankle Bracelet” by The Pyraminds which launched the label in 1958.
Only The Twisters‘ “Peppermint Twist Time” from the Duel label achieved a U.K. release and even that would be almost impossible to find today as it was released on the short-lived Aral label. The Duel label also had releases by the afore mentioned Bobby Pedrick and by Koppelman & Rubin from The Ivy Three appearing simply as Charlie & Don.
The label was also home to another duo, Neil & Jack. In time it was realised that the ‘Neil’ was none other than Neil Diamond. Another signing who would become better known was Jerry Simms. His real name was Jerry Samuels and he eventually became Napoleon XlV, famous (or infamous) for the 1966 hit “They’re Coming To take me Away Ha-Haa“.
Perhaps girl singer Susan Lynne was the unluckiest signing to the label. The mighty NBC TV filmed a special on her as she released her first single, “There’ll be No Goodbyes” in March 1962. The TV station filmed her at her High School, recording the single, promoting it at a radio station gig in Trenton, New Jersey and went to the offices of Billboard magazine as the review panel considered the merits of her single. The half hour segment also included footage of her producers and the writers of the song…..Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin ! Despite this major exposure the record failed to make the charts.
The Gulf label was the least active, releasing just five singles, one of which was the first solo single by Curtis Knight (he’d have two more on Shell) who’s best remembered today for his early recordings with Jimi Hendrix.