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One-derful Records

1827 S Michigan Ave.

Alongside Vee-Jay, One-derful was one of the key Black-owned record companies on the Michigan Avenue strip known as Record Row. George Leaner and his brother Ernie ran the label, whose imprints included Mar-V-Lus and the gospel-focused Halo. While they started their business in 1962, they grew up knowing about the industry long before then as their uncle was longtime Chicago radio DJ Al Benson. Prominent Chicago singers such as Alvin Cash and Otis Clay recorded here, and the Five Du-Tones made “Shake a Tail Feather” a national R&B hit. While the company frequently brought in young, untested, talent it also had a top in-house production team that included songwriter Harold Burrage and guitarist Larry Blasingaine. In 1967 One-derful became the first company to record the Jackson 5, although that single (“Big Boy”) was not released until decades later. The label folded in 1968 but its influence can be heard in R&B today.

– A.C. 

Caption: Former location of One-derful Records.

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