Little Willie John & Seymour Stein / King Records 75th Anniversary Posters

Little Willie John & Seymour Stein / King Records 75th Anniversary Posters


18” x 24” French Paper
Hand signed and numbered
Limited Edition

Listermann Brewing Company will kick off King Records Month in Cincinnati on Saturday, September 1st with a special beer that celebrates King Records’ 75th anniversary while also honoring four important alumni of the record label with a collectible variety pack. 

The beer’s name, “The King of Them All,” references the day, 75 years ago in September 1943, when WLW radio performers (and future Country Hall of Fame inductees) Grandpa Jones and Merle Travis recorded the first songs for the label. Driving back from this first recording session, Syd Nathan, the label’s founder, came up with the name “King” for his new business while brainstorming in the car with Jones and Travis. Syd, determined and ambitious, declared his record company would be “The King of Them All.”  

Indeed, five years later, King Records was the sixth largest record company in America with a racially integrated staff of 300 employees, its own pressing plant, national distribution system, recording studio, art department, legendary engineers and producers, and the most broadly-based roster of R&B, country, jazz and pop artists. For nearly 30 years, the biggest independent record company in the nation operated out of Evanston in Cincinnati.

The beer launch will take place at ??  on Saturday September 1st  at Listermann’s (1621 Dana Avenue), located just blocks from the former site of King on Brewster Avenue. This tribute beer is the last in a summer beer series that the brewery has developed in partnership with King Studios and the design & print shop We Have Become Vikings to celebrate the 75th anniversary of King Records in Evanston.  

The beer “The King of Them All” is a New England style IPA brewed with Citra, Rakau, Centennial and Simcoe hops. Coming in at 6% ABV, The King of Them All was made to be accessible to all types of beer drinkers, with very little bitterness and highlighting flavors that are reminiscent of the orchard; citrus, strawberries, mangoes, pears, apples, and light florals.  

Listermann Brewing Company is generously donating 10% of the beer proceeds to King Studios.

The beer will be on tap at Listermann’s for the month of September and will also available to purchase in a takeaway 4-can variety pack that will honor four important King players during King Records Month. The four will be:

  • Seymour Stein, the founder of Sire Records, who signed such legendary cutting-edge artists as The Ramones, Talking Heads, the Pretenders, Depeche Mode, Madonna, Ice T and the Smiths. Stein learned the music business from Syd Nathan while working at King Records as a teenager.

  • Little Willie John, of whom James Brown said, “He was one of the most important soulful voices…a soul singer before anyone thought to call it that.” The first singer to record the classic “Fever,” Little Willie earned a total of 14 hit singles on both the R & B and pop charts between 1953 and 1962. 

The artwork for each can has been designed by We Have Become Vikings (WHBV) who have been commissioned to design portraits of these music legends that will appear on the cans along with short biographies composed by music historians. For King Records Month, it will be an all-star roster of writers: 

Seymour Stein, who co-founded the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1983 and served as its first president, has dedicated himself to preserving music history. He was the first recipient of Billboard’s Icon Award and has been honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In July 2018, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys and also released his autobiography, Siren Song, about his life in the music business. Seymour will write about his greatest mentor Syd Nathan.

 Billy Vera, whose career in show business has spanned five decades and has included appearances on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, in movies with Bruce Willis and Willie Nelson, receiving a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, achieving several Grammy Award nominations (with one win in 2013), and recording the #1 Hit Record “At This Moment.” Billy is also a noted music historian who will be writing about one of his heroes, Henry Glover.

Lenny Kaye, known as lead guitarist for poet/rocker Patti Smith, has worked with many artists and on various writing projects.  He worked in the studio with such artists as R.E.M., James, Suzanne Vega, Jim Carroll, Soul Asylum, Kristin Hersh, and Allen Ginsberg. Lenny researched and assembled the groundbreaking compilation album of American psychedelic and garage rock. Nuggets, He co-authored Waylon, The Life Story of Waylon Jennings and authored You Call It Madness: The Sensuous Song of the Croon, a study of the romantic singers of the 1930s, published in 2004.  Lenny will pay tribute to his old friend Seymour Stein. 

Susan Whitall is an award-winning journalist, and a former writer and editor at the iconic Creem Magazine, where she worked from 1975-’83. She is one of the few women to helm a rock magazine, in the '70s, or now. She is also the author of two books, Women of Motown, an oral history focusing on some of the Sound of Young America's notable female personalities, and Fever: Little Willie John’s Fast Life, Mysterious Death and the Birth of Soul, the only biography of the gifted, troubled R&B singer from Detroit. Susan will be composing a piece on Little Willie John.

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