Co-founder of Mercury Records dies at 90

July 3, 2006 at 11:16 PM

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., July 3 (UPI) -- Irvin Green, who co-founded Mercury Records and helped launch black recording artists through a jukebox network, has died in Palm Springs, Calif.

He was 90.

Green helped start Mercury in 1944, making it into a major record label by formulating a novel distribution strategy, the Palm Springs Desert Sun said. While the major record companies used network radio, Green promoted jazz, R&B and country western songs through a jukebox network.

He was able to get music played nationally that had previously been known only locally, the Desert Sun reported.

Green built and promoted a "black sound" by backing such greats as Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and the Platters. Mercury helped Louis Armstong get his first No. 1 hit with "Hello Dolly."

Green died of natural causes Saturday morning at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.

He is survived by his wife, Pamela.

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