1946 - 1949
In 1946, when Bill Putnam (A genius engineer/innovator who was to develop some of the still-most-coveted audio gear ever made – things like compressors and mic preamps and mixing consoles) and his partner decided to expand their studio operation into a label as well, they founded VITAcoustic (or “Living Sound”), which almost immediately garnered attention as an innovator in the field of recording.
In a Billboard story in early 1947, titled “Putnam Springs New Waxing Technique With ‘VITAcoustic’,” the engineer’s new “third-dimensional” technique was described: “Putnam’s gimmick, while hard to describe, is said to make a band sound as if it were in the listener’s room, similar to a good wired music system in a restaurant with four or five speakers set at the right places.”
The label started with a bang, as their very first release was “Peg O’ My Heart,” in April of 1947. Billboard noted that on the track, “Mouth organing was highlighted by a unique echo chamber effect giving depth and glucose which helps to cover up other technical flaws.” Whatever its components, the record quickly sold over 100,000 copies locally, and looked like it had legs: “Disk has created a mild panic in Chicago and St. Louis at this writing, and looks to spread fast,” the magazine said, as well as, “Record biz has seen everything but a harmonica platter hit–this might be the baby to do it.”
Soon “Peg” had sold about 1.4 million copies for Vitacoustic, and would go on to sell over 20 million copies, making it the second-most popular 78-rpm record of all time to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”
Source: Long Fade