The legendary John Dolphin, also known as Lovin’ John, was one of the most well respected black businessmen who made his way in the music business in the 1940s and 50s well before Motown ever existed. An independent record label owner and R&B producer, his contributions to the formative years of Rock & Roll are often overlooked. Lovin John, a minimogul who had almost every facet of the record business covered, had taken Los Angeles by storm and brought people of all colors together through music.
Dolphin first entered the Los Angeles music scene as a retailer in 1948, when he opened Dolphin’s of Hollywood, a record store near the corner of Vernon and Central Avenue, the music mecca of the west coast, that would stay open 24 hours a day to cater to the late-shift workforce. The store featured deejays like Huggy Boy and Hunter Hancock broadcasting on the local station of KRKD, in front of the huge, glass window Mr. Dolphin had installed on the face of the store so that people on the outside could see in. Some of the most popular deejays found a home for their art in front of this window, playing for late night crowds of Blacks, Whites, and Latinos alike, who would dance and party together well after dark, until the cops came and shut the parties down.
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