This is the story of the music industry when vinyl was king, the players were wheeler dealers and talented musicians shocked and awed the young people of the world. Hal Neely emerged from the plains of Nebraska as a gifted trumpet player, learning his craft across Middle America when Depression-era Americans could forget their problems for a night by attending a concert by traveling band belting out the latest hits of the Big Band Sound. He soon caught the eye of Lawrence Welk who guided him in the world of show business. Neely interrupted his rise in the entertainment world when World War II broke out and he enlisted in the military, playing for the troops in the Far East and providing intelligence for the war effort. After the war he returned to Los Angeles where he had built a name for himself in the best ballrooms up and down the West Coast. Eventually he found his way into the record production business and met Syd Nathan, the bombastic president of King Records in Cincinnati, joining his company as a producer in the 1950s. Also he met the man whose records he created and who left him feeling unappreciated—James Brown.
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