Mel-o-dy

(“The (mostly) country one”)

**This is a discography for Mel-o-dy Records – other Motown labels are listed here. If you’re looking for a full list of every Motown single, try the Master Index instead!**

Berry Gordy Jr. went on a veritable spree of founding new Motown subsidiary labels in 1962. This one, founded in June that year, started out as something of an oddity, a fourth label for releasing R&B-soul-pop cuts that didn’t fit on the “big three” of Tamla, Motown and Gordy. The first few releases on the new label were a mixed bag of largely unremarkable soul records which are more notable nowadays for what their creators went on to do afterwards; the first Mel-o-dy single was Dearest One by one Lamont Dozier, while other 1962 non-hits included Mind Over Matter by a band called “the Pirates” (actually the Temptations under a different name), and You’ll Never Cherish A Love So True by “the Vells” (a.k.a. the Vandellas).

None of those early Mel-o-dy records did any business, and so Berry Gordy Jr turned control over to Al Klein, who completely restocked the roster, binning the soul music and refashioning Mel-o-dy as a label aimed at the hitherto-untapped country & western market. A couple of comedy records also came out on the label in early 1963, but for the most part Mel-o-dy was a dedicated country & western imprint for the rest of its short lifespan.

Despite a lack of chart action, sales must have been respectable, because the label carried on putting out country sides for another two years before shutting up shop in the spring of 1965. The last single released on Mel-o-dy was All The Good Times Are Gone by label mainstay Howard Crockett (a sort of supermarket own-brand Johnny Cash). It marked Motown’s last foray into the world of country music until the mid-1970s and the equally shortlived Melodyland/Hitsville and MC labels, but Berry Gordy continued to hanker after white audiences outside Motown’s traditional fanbase and eventually set up the Rare Earth label for white rock and pop bands in 1969.

All of the singles released by Mel-o-dy Records have now been covered on Motown Junkies: here’s a complete 45 discography for the label.

MEL-O-DY RECORDS: COMPLETE 45 DISCOGRAPHY


(Click a song title to read a full review of that side. NB: The coloured numbers after each title indicate the highly subjective mark out of ten I gave that song on the day I happened to write about it. They weren’t intended to be taken too seriously.)

6 thoughts on “Mel-o-dy”

  1. Robb Klein said:

    I never knew of any sales of any of the Mel-o-dy records. They were always cut-outs when I saw them. I never saw ANY of them as charted on any radio station or sales chart list. I really doubt that any of them charted (unless maybe Klein had a little clout in his part of Texas. I doubt that C & W listeners would have heard any of them, And, if, somehow they had, I doubt that they’d have liked most of them. The one or two they might have liked, probably got NO airplay.

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    • I think the “Klein having pull in Texas” thing must have been true to an extent, or the likes of Burnette, Channel and “Crockett” – all of whom had had success pre-Motown – wouldn’t have stuck around? Either that, or they were comprehensively lied to! “Oh, Dorsey, the record may not be getting any play in New York, but it’s HUGE in Dallas!”

      (Slight digression: anyone watch Treme? The scene in the Series 2 finale between Delmond’s manager and Albert is coming strongly to mind here. “Advance orders? From where?” “Oh, er, Sweden.. Switzerland…” “…But $25,000, though?” “…And Japan. It’s huge in Japan.”)

      Thanks for all your corrections and contributions this morning, Robb – I’ll be working on the blog some more tonight, so I’ll be able to add in the remaining outstanding images.

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    • I just recently scored a copy of Mel-O-Dy 118 by Dorsey Burnette as a DJ promo–not beat up but far from mint so someone liked it!

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  2. I wonder why it was Dorsey Burnette who got the British release rather than the better-known Bruce Channel. Maybe it was getting some sales action.

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