By DJ Flash Gordon
April 1, 2015
The Peacock Record Label was started in 1949 by nightclub owner and talent manager Don Robey in Houston, TX. This was the first black owned record label in the United States. Don Robey built up an impressive roster including Big Mama Thornton, whose original version of “Hound Dog” (later covered by Elvis Presley) was recorded on Peacock Records. Don Robey owned the reknown nightclub Bronze Peacock in 5th Ward before starting his record label.
Robey later merged Peacock Records (Houston, TX) with Duke Records (Memphis, TN) in 1952. Five years later Robey created the Back Beat label (1957) primarily releasing Soul music whereas Peacock focused on Gospel and Duke, Rhythm & Blues. Don Robey also created other smaller subsidiaries like Songbird and Sure Shot to release music throughout the 50’s and 60’s.