Henry Stone was probably drinking Cognac with James Brown in the afterlife looking down on the rooftop of the Betsy Hotel for The Record Man's awesome opening party.
The Miami International Film Festival event was a mix of hundred million-record sellers like George McCrae, Grammy winners like Willie Clarke, Bahamian pioneers like Raphael Munnings, and their legion of friends, fans, supporters, and collaborators as well other local filmmakers.
Reflecting on the film's sold out world premiere, former 2 Live Jew, Miami bass engineer, and Henry's son Joe Stone said it best, "Henry would have thought this was a hit. The audience response was phenomenal."
The Mark Moormann directed feature, aided by first time producers Mitch and Debbie Egber, tells the story of some of Stone's biggest hits through the artists with whom he created them. Long time South Florida music connoisseur Lorenzo Hamm recommends the flick to all, "The Record Man is a must see for anybody who loves music."
Fans from around the world like Leni and Marc from Italy and France recalled their first time ever hearing the song "Rock Your Baby," the world's first global disco hit, while Kimberly, new to Miami, was aware of the music, but had no idea it came from here.
DJ Le Spam kept the memories flowing with a set of all vinyl soul, funk, disco, and R&B from Stone's multitudinous output.
Aaron Fishbein, the composer of the film's orginal score took great inspiration from these tunes when creating the soundtrack. He said, "I got to immerse myself in all these recordings, and the ways they were produced. I even rented a drum kit from the 1920s to get some of the same sounds. It was amazing."
Meanwhile, Joyce Moore, wife of Sam Moore, half of Sam & Dave, the biggest selling pop duo of all time, responsible for "Soul Man," and "Hold On (I'm Coming)," recognized the historic significance of Stone, but didn't necessariy find him such a sympathetic character. She said, "He did a lot of good in a lot of ways, but we'll always have issues with Henry over money." Dana Dowd, daughter of famed Atlantic Records engineer Tom Dowd, smiled knowingly.
As Spam kept the vinyl kept spinning through hits and lesser known cuts by Clarence Reid, Anita Ward, Gwen McCrae, MIAMI, Betty Wright, and staples of the Alston, Cat, TK, Dash, and Glades records catalogs, people drank, danced, and had a great time. Ronnie from Bleeding Palm said, "I'm having a great time. I'm drunk as f***. You know how it is."
The party went on until the music stopped, and as Wednesday morning began, the film's fans ambled down Ocean Drive humming their favorite tunes, and The Record Man smiled from somewhere on the other side.
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