1917 – 1993
Who was Bernie Lowe?
Born Bernard Lowenthal in Philadelphia, Lowe started Teen Records and in 1955 was working with Freddie Bell and the Bellboys. He asked Freddie Bell to rewrite the lyrics of "Hound Dog" to appeal to a broader radio audience. Teen Records and the group had a regional hit with this version of the song, which was one of four songs the group did with Lowe. It was this same version that Elvis Presley heard in Las Vegas, Nevada, adopted, recorded, and made his own. Lowe went on to co-pen with Kal Mann the chart-topping song, "Teddy Bear", for the same singer.
Lowe founded Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Cameo Records in 1956, and Cameo was later expanded into the Cameo-Parkway Records label. The owners then signed a then unknown singer, Ernest Evans, to their burgeoning label. Evans would soon change his name to Chubby Checker, whose success helped Cameo-Parkway become one of the largest independent record labels in the United States. Lowe is credited with co-writing the song "Butterfly" which helped launch and further the career of Charlie Gracie, the eminent 1950s rock and roller, just as the term was entering into the cultural lexicon. Lowe also launched the careers of Dee Dee Sharp, Bobby Rydell, The Orlons, The Dovells, and The Tymes.