Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Weapons of Peace – Kill With Kindness

Weapons of Peace would spend their entire recording career on Playboy Records, interestingly enough.

Weapons of Peace LP

Robert Pruter at Chicago Soul, writes —

Playboy Records was part of Hugh Hefner‘s Playboy empire and aspired to be an all-around label recording rock, country, and rhythm and blues.  Although headquartered in Los Angeles, Playboy mined Chicago for much of its R&B talent to build its stable and managed to sign Major Lance, Willie Henderson, and Weapons of Peace, among others.

“Just Can’t Be That Way”

Weapons of Peace (1976)

Just Can’t Be That Way” was released as a twelve-inch single – possibly the first for the Playboy label, judging by its catalog number (PBD-1).  The years 1975-1976 would see the first wave of 45 rpm releases in this larger (and much higher fidelity) format.  As Tom Moulton recounts in Love Saves the Day:  A History of American Dance Music, 1970-1979:

“The twelve-inch happened by accident,” says Tom Moulton.  “I was cutting a reference disc for Al Downing‘s ‘I’ll Be Holding On,’ and Jose Rodriguez ran out of seven-inch blanks.  I said, “Oh, it’s a shame, the single only uses up a little bit of space.”  To which Rodriguez replied, “We’ll just open it up and spread out the grooves.”  The result?  “I almost died because the level was so loud.”

Scepter Records released the first 12-inch single – “Call Me Your Anything Man” by Bobby Moore – in June 1975.  As reported by Billboard in their June 14, 1975 edition, “12-Inch 45s Via Scepter Up Sound Level for Discos” —

Scepter Records is launching a policy of servicing discos with 12-inch 45s to keep the recording level at a maximum as often as possible.  According to Stanley Greenberg of the label, Scepter has found that to produce a single of more than five minutes in length, the recording level requires lowering.  With the new, larger singles, the problem is hopefully remedied.

“Just Can’t Be That Way”

12-inch single (1976)

Weapons of Peace 12-inch

Playboy’s artist roster would also include (pre-ABBA’s) Björn & Benny with Anna & Frieda, Barbi Benton, Mickey Gilley, Wynn Stewart, Bobby Borchers, Al Wilson, Leadbelly, The Hush Puppies, Mack Vickery, and Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds.

Also fun to point out that the 1976 debut album by Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers was released on Beserkley Records, although marketed and distributed by the Playboy label.

Playboy aPlayboy b

History’s Dumpster writes a concise history of the Playboy label that identifies how and when Hugh Hefner’s musical enterprise ran aground.

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