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SUPCO Gives Cincinnati's King Records Building A Reprieve


The Ohio Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from the owner of  the King Records building in Cincinnati to override city zoning restrictions and lower court decisions in an effort to demolish the property. The historic  building is where the first rock and roll song was recorded. Mark Urycki of member station WCPN in Cleveland reports.

You can quibble over what constitutes the very first rock song but a good case could be made for Wynonie Harris’s 1948 recording “Good Rocking Tonight.”

“Good Rocking Tonight”

In 2008 The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame placed a historic market in the front of the King Records studio and record plant.  When word got out last year that the building owner, Dynamic Industries, wanted to tear down the structure, local music groups, including the Bootsy Collins Foundation,  got involved.   They convinced the city to designate the building an historic landmark which protected it from demolition.   Dynamic went to court claiming it amounted to an illegal taking of their property by the city.   

The Supreme Court has ruled that Dynamic cannot demand a demolition permit or money damages because “it has not exhausted its administrative

Remedies”  in that it has not applied for a variance so the city can make a final decision on its application for a demolition permit.  

King Records was founded by Syd Nathan to record country music but soon was recording The Dominoes, Joe Tex, James Brown, the recent Rock Hall of Fame inductees the 5 Royales.


King Records was sold several times in the early 70’s and has since disappeared but its building, for now, is still standing.