Loren Becker - My Baby Left Me
18 top hits 193
(Subsidiary of Waldorf Music Hall)
The following informative Billboard article is from 1965, when Loren Becker was named head of Command Records,
BECKER TAKES COMMAND POST
(Billboard, September 4, 1965)
NEW YORK — Loren Becker, named this week as general manager of Command Records, has been in training for the job for nearly 20 years. The 39-year-old New York native has been associated with Enoch Light, founder of the label, since 1946, as a recording artist, chief cook and bottle washer, and as sales manager.
Becker's first brush with the music industry came at the age of 9. He sang on a New York radio station in a Horn & Hadart-sponsored show and was a regular for three years.
After high school graduation Becker went into the service. His job was putting together weekly shows at Fort Meyes, Va., and other military installations.This was the tag end of the big band era. Enoch Light, then as now a leading orchestra leader, was runnin a "Date With a Disk" talent show in various theaters throughout the nation. The format consisted of members of the audience performing on stage, with winners selected each day, with weekly and monthly competitions following. The grand winner was awarded a recording contract.
One of the entrants was Loren Becker. Becker quelified for the finals, and, with the intercession of Light, who called the commanding officer at Fort Meyers, he got a three-day pass so the singing solider could compete.
Becker won, cut "Laughing on the Outside, Crying on the Inside" for Don Gabor's Remington label, and became a professional singer after his Army discharge.
In the post-war years, Becker won the Arthur Godfrey "Talent Scout" contest on CBS Radio, appeared as a band singer on Robert Q. Lewis' CBS Radio show, then joined Enoch Light's band as a singer.
During this period he recorded cover songs of top hits for various labels, among them Eli Oberstein's. He also worked with music publishers to gain his basic training in that phase of the business.
In 1952, when Light mover over to run Synthetic Plastic's Peter Pan label, Becker joined the organization as Light's right-hand man
Doubled in Brass
He was a performer for the kiddie label, and he doubled in brass as a salesman. This was before the days of rack jobbing, and Becker visited chain stores, department stores and other retail outlets to push the product.
Later, when Prom was organized as a pop label, Becker continued to couple his work as an artist with his duties as a promotion man and salesman.
In 1954, When Light left Synthetic Plastic to form Waldorf, a budget label, Becker came his sales manager. As sales head of the 99-cent label, he met most of the key retailers and some of the rack jobbing pioneers and learned the nuances of merchandising records.
Light's next label, Grand Award, was the predecessor on Command. Grand Award made its debut when the 12-inch LP was just coming into its own, and Command, listing at $5.98, was a label that played an important role in the acceptance of stereo.
When ABC-Paramount bought Grand Award in 1959, Light was set up as head of the autonomous division and Becker came along as sales manager.
But although Becker was Light's right-hand man through all these years, he was hardly his alter ego. Both men have the same attitude toward the recording business — to run out top records with the emphasis on quality rather than on number of releases. And while Becker's operation of the label will not differ radically from Light's, he does have his own ideas about a&r and about merchandising.
Few ChangesWith Light's departure, the Command organization will remain intact. That's the way Becker wants it. The five-man sales force, one of the most efficient in the business, will stay at its present strenght. The release policy — from 15 to 18 albums a year — will also be continued.
While Command is generally thought of as a quality pop label, it is building up a small but effective classical catalog. It concentrates on the warhorses, and with such name conductors as William Steinberg of the Pittsburgh Symphony.
When Becker isn't working, he's home in Redding, Conn., with his wife and two children, Jimmy, 12, and Lauren, 7. He keeps trim by playing tennis.