Music community hopes to save King Records - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Music community hopes to save King Records

EVANSTON, OH (FOX19) -

For some, it's a monument to music history, a place where legends like James Brown and Bootsy Collins made their mark.

But, time has slowly taken its toll on the historic King Records Complex in Evanston, putting the building in jeopardy of being torn down.

The owner of the building, located on Brewster Street, called for it to be partially demolished but his effort to tear the building down was voted down by the City Planning Commission during Friday’s meeting.

The commission approved the local historical landmark designation requested by the Bootsy Collin's Foundation and Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation.

"This was another major hurtle for us in our foundation to get through," said Board member of the Cincinnati Music Heritage Foundation Edwin Vardiman. “We were the applicants for the historical designation of the King Records building. We began the designation process about a year ago but we've been working to preserve that site at least since 2008.”

According to Vardiman, they’ve had to go through multiple hearings with the Historic Preservation Board before Friday’s two contested hearings with the planning commission.

Board members want to preserve King Records for is significance in the evolution of popular music in America, the history of social justice and the technological innovation in the record industry in the 20th century.

"Anyone from around the world came to record at Kings because it was the number one site," stated Jimmy Railey.

Railey used to frequent King Records while he was a member of James Brown’s Famous Flames.

“The fact that the City Planning Commission approved the historic designation unanimously is history making for Cincinnati and around the world and I'm just glad to be a part of it," he said. 

"I believe that we can all work together and that's what I want to do,” Denise Croley said.

Cronley is one of many who has been campaigning to preserve the complex for the significance of its history which she played a part in.

In 1969, James Brown himself signed her and a few others under contract with him.

"We were the background vocals for the entire record company and that was because we were very much into music," claimed Cronley. 

Now the matter will move on for debate with City Council, they have not yet announced when the issue will be brought before council.

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