Gatemouth Brown once said of Don Robey, “He pulled off something in America that no one else ever pulled off. We had the only world-renowned black recording company.”
That “recording company” included the legendary Peacock and Duke record labels, boasting stars like Johnny Ace, Bobby Blue Bland, Little Richard, and Big Mama Thornton. It also included chains of retail record stores, pressing plants, print shops, a booking agency, and a circuit of nightclubs. It was a giant musical eco-system all under Don Robey's ruthless thumb.
Don Robey launched the careers of countless stars and shaped the business side of rhythm and blues music for generations.
This is his story.