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Modern Records (Modern Music Records before 1947)[1] was an American record company and label formed in 1945 in Los Angeles by the Bihari brothers.

Modern Records
Parent companyAce Records (UK)
Founded1945 (1945)
Defunct1960s (1960s)
GenreJazz, blues, rhythm and blues, rock
Country of originU.S.
LocationLos Angeles, California


In the 1960s, Modern Records went bankrupt and ceased operations, but the catalogue went with the management into what became Kent Records. This back catalogue was eventually licensed to the UK label Ace Records in the 1980s and later sold outright during the 1990s. Modern was also one of the big R&B labels with artists including Etta James, Joe Houston, Little Richard, Ike and Tina Turner and John Lee Hooker in the 1950s and 1960s. Having started as an R&B label, Modern was later one of the few R&B labels to routinely cover rhythm and blues hits on other labels, apparently in an attempt to broaden their appeal and reach the popular market. Here, they had less success and the company eventually went bankrupt, although the catalogue was maintained under similar management at Kent Records. Ace Records of the U.K. now owns the tapes.[2]

Management and staffEdit

  • Saul, Jules and Joe Bihari were the main people who ran the label. The older brother Lester was only there sporadically.[3]
  • Ike Turner was a talent scout and session musician for Modern Records in the early 1950s. Artists Turner discovered for Modern included Bobby "Blue" Bland, Howlin' Wolf, and Rosco Gordon.[4] According to B.B. King and Joe Bihari, Turner introduced King to the Bihari brothers which led to his RPM releases.[5]
  • Tony Hilder was an A&R man for Modern Records in the late 1950s. Later he went on to form his own labels, first CT Records[6] and later owner and president of Impact Records.[7][8]
  • Austin McCoy was an artist, session musician and recording session director with Modern Records. He left Modern in late 1950 to take up an A&R post with Mercury Records at their Beverly Hills office.[9]


  • Modern Music: The First Year - 1945 (1339 Ace, 2012)





  1. ^ Encyclopedia of the Blues, Volume 1. Routledge. 2006. p. 700.
  2. ^ Gillett, Charlie (1996). The Rise of Rock and Roll (2nd ed.). New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 0-306-80683-5.
  3. ^ The B.B. King Reader: 6 Decades of Commentary Edited by Richard Kostelanetz, Assistant editor Jesse Reiswig Page 7 Modern
  4. ^ Turner, Ike; Cawthorne, Nigel (1999). Takin' Back My Name: The Confessions of Ike Turner. London: Virgin. ISBN 9781852278502. OCLC 43321298.
  5. ^ Kostelanetz, Richard; Reiswig, Jesse (2005). The B.B. King Reader: 6 Decades of Commentary. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 7. ISBN 9780634099274.
  6. ^ All Music Tony Hilder, Artist Biography
  7. ^ Billboard Music Week May 8, 1961 Page 4 Music As Written, Hollywood
  8. ^ Surfin' Guitars: Instrumental Surf Bands of the Sixties, Robert J. Dalley Page 259, Page 298, Page 299
  9. ^ The Billboard December 16, 1950 Page 12 McCoy Joins Modern Staff

External linksEdit