Specialty Facebook

(Est. 1946) Art Rupe founded Juke Box Records in 1946, but changed the company's name to Specialty the following year to indicate that, unlike the major labels, his specialized in particular kinds of music - African-American blues and gospel. The Hollywood-based firm became a leader in both fields, with a roster that included R&B artists Roy Milton, Joe Liggins, Percy Mayfield, Guitar Slim, and Lloyd Price and such gospel stars as the Pilgrim Travelers, The Soul Stirrers (featuring Sam Cooke), Brother Joe May, Alex Bradford, and the Original Gospel Harmonettes. It also famously played a key role in the development of rock 'n' roll upon signing Little Richard in 1955. Two years later, however, Specialty lost both Richard to religion and Cooke to pop music.