RKO/Unique Records

RKO Records and Unique Jazz are two record labels. They began as Unique Records, a New York pop music record label. After several small pop hits, such as "Man in the Raincoat" by 14 year old Priscilla Wright, the label was acquired by RKO General, who had recently acquired the venerable RKO Movie Studio.

In an effort to create entertainment synergy, RKO also acquired the struggling Mutual Radio Network in an attempt to enhance the record company by creating a national audience for the product. Unfortunately, the concept behind the arrangement was that rock and roll music was a passing fad and that the pop music of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s would endure. With that in mind, RKO signed former record superstars like Rudy Vallee, the Harmonicats and Ted Lewis in hopes of recapturing their glorious past. To this mix they added popular movie stars like Herb Jeffries, Edie Adams and Frances Langford, former vaudeville stars (and RKO movie regulars) like the Vagabonds, plus current popular TV stars such as George DeWitt, then the host of the top rated Name That Tune.

To cement this relationship, RKO created the radio program "Studio X" to carry the Unique Records product. The results were a disaster. Within three years both the radio network and the record company were suffering huge financial losses and RKO divested both of them. The record company vanished from the public view, and was later acquired by Reach Entertainment, who revived the label, splitting the RKO Records and the Unique Jazz into two distinct labels.


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