Morris Levy

In the pioneering days of the record industry, perhaps no one was as revered as publisher/label owner Morris Levy. In a 1957 article, Variety dubbed him the "Octopus" of the music industry because he had an outstretched hand in nearly every area of the growing business. Decades later, another writer dubbed him "The Godfather," a nickname reflecting both his power in the industry (a supposed net worth of $75 million by the early '80s) and his reputed mob ties. The founder of Roulette Records and onetime proprietor of New York City's famous Birdland nightclub, as well as a notorious crook who swindled artists out of their owed royalties, Levy represents everything adventurous and underhanded about the infancy of rock & roll.