This Week In Billboard History: President Elvis? Capitol's Beatlemania Headache; Gwen & Gavin's Labels Split
This Week In Billboard History: President Elvis? Capitol's Beatlemania Headache; Gwen & Gavin's Labels Split

The President & The King: Following the political campaigns of two country and western artists the Jan. 18 1960 edition of Billboard predicted that Elvis Presley (right) here with President Richard Nixon at the Whitehouse, will run for President in 1980 (Photo: National Archives/Getty)

1960: Could Elvis, The King, Have Been President?
Two country and western artists have thrown their hats into the political ring. Jimmie Davis, the former Governor of Louisiana (1944-1948) credited with writing the hit song "You Are My Sunshine," is the Democratic nominee for Governor, in a bid to return to his state's executive office (Davis won his bid and was Governor of Louisiana for a second term, from 1960-1964). According to Billboard's reportage, he is wooing voters with his musical talent. At the same time, Elton Britt, whose biggest hit was "Someday," No. 2 for five weeks on Billboard's country singles chart in 1946, has entered the Democratic primary preference poll in New Hampshire, touring the state with his 10-piece hillbilly band. Neither candidate will be able to perform on TV, however; Davis was scheduled to sing "You Are My Sunshine" on "The Ed Sullivan Show" Feb. 8, but the appearance was canceled out of fear his opponent would claim equal time. The Billboard story points out that Britt isn't the first country artist to seek the Presidency.

In 1952, Stuart Hamblen, composer of "This Ole House" (No. 1 in the U.S. for Rosemary Clooney and No. 1 in the U.K. for Shakin' Stevens), sought the highest office in the land on the Prohibition ticket. Billboard's page six article includes a bold forecast: "If the trend continues, record industry historians predict that Elvis Presley or Fabian - as veteran rock and rollers - might enter the political scene in 1980. Moreover, if the boys retain their current fanatical followings, the political pundits maintain one of them might make the White House." While neither rocker was elected President in 1980, an actor ran for office and won.
[Billboard, Jan. 18, 1960, page 6]

1964: Beatlemania Gives Capitol a Headache

The Fab Four may not have been that fabulous to Capitol Records' production personnel who had to keep pressing plants on 24-hour production schedules to meet the demand for the single "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (above).

Capitol Records makes history as the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand," which debuts on the Hot 100 at No. 45 just 10 days after release, is the fastest-breaking single in the history of the label, surpassing Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons" (1955) and the Kingston Trio's "Tom Dooley" (1958). Capitol says dealer orders for the Beatles' single passed the million mark at press time. The label has asked the RIAA for certification in hopes of having the award in time for label president Alan Livingston to present the Fab Four with a gold record when they arrive in New York on Feb. 7 for their appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on Feb. 9 and 16, with a third guest spot to be taped in Miami for a March broadcast.

The furious sales pace has forced Capitol to keep its pressing plants in Scranton, Pa. and Los Angeles on 24-hour production schedules, while farming out the manufacturing of an additional 200,000 discs to RCA Victor. Label head Livingston reacted to the record-breaking sales by moving up the release of the album "Meet the Beatles," telling Billboard the pressure to issue the LP was "too great for us to hold back any longer."
[Billboard, Jan. 18, 1964, page 1]

1998: Almo Sounds Goes Through Interscope (But No Doubt's Gwen Stefani and Bush's Gavin Rossdale Are Split-Up)

Christina Aguilera
Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder? Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale on their wedding day

After months of speculation, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss' label, Almo Sounds, has a new U.S. distributor: Interscope. That keeps Alpert and Moss in the Universal family, their corporate headquarters for their first major label, A&M, once it gave up its independent status. The deal with Interscope does not include Almo Nashville, since Interscope doesn't have a presence in Music City. Almo is still to decide the fate of its country releases. The first release from the Almo/Interscope pact is expected to be the debut album by 19-year-old Imogen Heap, in March. Also coming in the first half of 1998, a new album by Garbage.

The Almo deal comes four months after Interscope's split with Trauma Records following a legal battle that resulted in Trauma retaining the group Bush (with Gavin Rossdale) and Interscope keeping No Doubt (with Gwen Stefani) on its roster, reports Craig Rosen. Interscope president Tom Whalley told Rosen that it would be a mistake to think that Almo Sounds was meant to fill a gap caused by the Trauma loss. "One had nothing to do with the other," said Whalley. "They are two completely different kinds of companies." The label chief added, "We have an opportunity to work with Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss and their staff, and opportunities like that don't come along every day."
[Billboard, Jan. 17, 1998, page 12]