February 25 – First electronic records, Johnnie Ray, Vee-Jay’s luck

1925
The Columbia Phonograph Co. makes its first electrical recordings.
 
Thanks to advances in microphones (like the 1916 Wente condensor) and vacuum tubes (like the triode amplifier invented in 1906), a performance can directly drive a record cutter. In homes, the tiny electrical signal from a record pickup (also introduced in 1925) driven by a stylus/needle can be amplified to drive loudspeakers — with much better sound quality. (*)
 


Columbia’s first electrical recording

Artists no longer have to shout into, or huddle around, metal trumpets. Just like radio! Recordings can actually begin to sound tender — their artists can begin to croon. And so one of the first to record for Columbia is Art Gillham aka The Whispering Pianist. Gilham:You May Be Lonesome 
▷History of the Microphone▹

See also: Sound recording and reproduction, Victor Orthophonic Victrola  ~ Development of Electrical Recording    ~ PBS:Music technology timeline  

1951

Highly-emo US singer-songwriter Johnnie Ray (raised near Portland), singing along with the Four Lads, tops the US charts with Churchill Kohlman song Cry.
 
He becomes an instant teen idol. (The flip side’s titled The Little White Cloud that Cried. )
on What’s My Line   ( Fansite )
▷Retrospective bio▹ ▷GLBTQ bio▹
 
Kohlman’s song is covered many times; both Lynn Anderson (1972) and Crystal Gayle (1986) sing it to #1 on the country charts. Gayle 

1963

Gary, Indiana company Vee-Jay Records is first in North America to press and release a Beatles record, Please Please Me.
 
In one month in 1964, they sell 2.6M singles.
 
As a result, Vee-Jay gets first dibs on the groups’ first album, released in North America as Introducing… The Beatles. And then they blow it: the company goes bankrupt from the boss’s gambling habit. You might guess something’s amiss from the misspelling on the label!

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