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In August 1951 a young vocal group formerly known as The Flames released their first record in a year and a half…

Or did they?

Many reputable and reliable outlets have listed this single, and its predecessor Recorded In Hollywood 164, as being released in August 1952… a full year later.

The reason for this confusion is somewhat understandable. The company announced the group’s signing in the trade papers in early October of ’52, the records were advertised throughout the fall of that year in both Cash Box and Billboard and they were reviewed in the same publications a few weeks apart.

But here’s the first giveaway as to why that’s misleading… THIS song wasn’t among the four sides being plugged.


Give And Take
Having just discussed Los Angeles entrepreneur John Dolphin’s musical enterprises which revolved around his landmark store, Dolphin’s Of Hollywood, and his associated record label Recorded In Hollywood, we don’t have to go back over the details other than to say Dolphin’s goal was not necessarily getting hits, but rather it was recording young local, largely untested, talent for no money, pressing their records and having them played on the radio shows that broadcast from his store window, often on the very same day they were laid down.

The reason for this was he wanted to draw in customers and he knew the main clientele for records were young people and if some of those more talented young people made records they’d pull in friends, classmates, family members and maybe even a few starstruck teenaged girls from around town who would be thrilled to buy an actual record of someone they knew. Once they were in the store who knows what else he could sell them, or maybe they’d just be caught up in the bustling environment as everyone else who walked through the doors seemed to be, and they too would make it a regular hangout.

So while he’d been putting out records since 1948, he didn’t usually advertise them nationally, probably because he rarely distributed them nationally… more like the one block radius of the store on the corner of Central and Vernon Avenues.

He’d make exceptions however if he had a unique reason such as in the spring of 1950 when he picked up old masters by Percy Mayfield (Two Years Of Torture) that had originally come out on the defunct Supreme Records that were selling well and so he marketed them nationally which led to Mayfield soon being signed by Specialty and scoring a Number One hit.

Now, a year and a half later, he saw another opportunity to get wider sales when The Five Keys on Aladdin, another L.A. label, were zooming up the charts with The Glory Of Love, which would soon b the #1 record in the land. So he had the former Flames, whom he re-dubbed The Hollywood Four Flames to better promote his label, cut the same song.

Now the fact that the group’s other single, She’s Got Something, which was pretty good, b/w I’ll Always Be A Fool, which was not, just came out – probably the same day – mattered little to him, for he wasn’t looking to build careers here, just get the local sales out of sides like that.

To that end the cover of The Glory Of Love was potentially worth much more to him which is why he immediately took out ads for it, thereby definitively settling THIS release date as August 1951.

Laugh And Cry
Were these machinations worth it?

Well, maybe for Dolphin they were if he got enough sales to pay the rent for a month, but was it worth it to the rock ‘n’ roll community to have another version of the song to choose from?

That depends, for we can never complain about having multiple options so we’re glad it exists, glad it got The Flames back in the studio, and glad for the (still not quite finished) intrigue surrounding the release to provide a deeper look into the business practices of an industry that controlled this music for so many years.

But as for the contents of this record… yeah, what the heck I guess it was worth it after all, for The Hollywood Four Flames do a creditable job on The Glory Of Love even if what The Flames themselves bring to it isn’t anything original.

Of course the song itself wasn’t original when The Five Keys did it in the spring either, but at least they rearranged it for a rock vocal group performance, bringing out different aspects of it than the earlier pop renditions had focused on.

The Hollywood Four Flames don’t follow suit in that regard. In fact theirs is a straight down the line imitation of The Five Keys as they can manage with David Ford using the same breathy delivery with the same vocal inflections as Rudy West while the others are duplicating the rest of that group the best they can, even though they are far too close to the mics which tends to remove the ethereal vibe the Keys record achieved.

It’s not bad though, their voices are all in good form here they have a nice blend, at least until the end which gets away from them, and Ford shows a light touch out front throughout the record.

But that’s not what you’ll remember from this because they DO switch things up rather radically in one department… or rather, it’s switched up for them as Dolphin brought in dick jockey Robin “King” Bruin to recite a spoken-word interlude which is the epitome of the smooth talking but falsely sincere radio soothsayer voice you picture from this era, someone who was just as comfortable pitching you baby chicks to buy through the mail as he was selling you a legitimate sponsor’s product.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not a blast to listen to – every so often anyway – as he essentially replicates Larry Darnell’s innovative spoken section of his massive 1949 hit, I’ll Get Along Somehow, albeit with a far more stilted delivery and a much sappier message. Give them credit though for not only trying something different but also for the rather clever way to promote one of the disc jockeys plying his trade in Dolphin’s store every day which was one of many reasons why it had become far more than “just” a record store when it came to local rock fans.

Of course that may have killed its chances to be played on OTHER stations, but you can’t think of everything!


Watch The Clouds Roll By
So, that’s the story of, that’s the glory of love (as the song goes), but here it’s only half the story, we still have a loose end to tie up when it comes to straightening out the reasons behind the 1952 re-release and hard promotional push by the company as there’s absolutely no doubt Dolphin released another version of Recorded In Hollywood 165 in the late summer of 1952, but he did so without THIS song on the single.

We’ll dispense with the usual reasons for such a move, such as the group could’ve been stirring interest around town by then, or there was a few queries about these old sides in his store that piqued his curiosity, and instead focus on the other song, Baby Please, which should clear matters up.

Take solace however in the fact that The Glory Of Love did okay for them, maybe not commercially, but aesthetically as well as also keeping the group on John Dolphin’s mind for when he wanted them for something else down the road.

In the meantime though, we have one more side to cover next… and it’s one which keeps the group’s well earned reputation for confusion intact.

Tune in tomorrow, same bat-time, same bat-shit crazy channel.


(Visit the Artist page of The Hollywood Four Flames for the complete archive of their records reviewed to date)

Spontaneous Lunacy has reviewed other versions of this song you may be interested in:
The Five Keys (July, 1951)