Kicks Magazine / The beginning of Norton Records | Miriam Linna & Billy Miller, 1978 – 86

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Issue #1 (1979)                                                                                       Issue #5 (1987)

Norton Records, a New York City based independent record label founded by musicians Miriam Linna (Original drummer for the Cramps, current drummer for the A-Bones, and founder of Norton Record) and Billy Miller, maintains a focus on primitive, retro rock’n’roll, rockabilly, garage punk, garage rock, lounge music and early R&B.
Billy Miller first encountered Miriam Linna while she was drumming for The Cramps in 1976. The two were properly introduced while Miller was selling vinyl at a record show in 1977. Miller recalled selling Linna the You Must Be a Witch LP by the Lollipop Shoppe. Miller later said, “You can’t let a gal with taste like that slip away!”

One year later, in 1978 Miller and Linna started Kicks, a magazine devoted to obscure rock, soul and rockabilly.

In 1986, when the couple published an article in
Kicks about West Virginia guitarist Hasil Adkins, the response was so intense that Linna and Miller decided to form a record label to reissue his music. They named their company after Ed Norton, Art Carney’s character on The Honeymooners. Adkins had recorded about 15 singles in the 1950s, but many had never been released or collected on an LP. “We made 500 copies and prayed that it would sell,” recalled Linna.

> She Said – Hasil Adkins 

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Issue #4 (1985)                                                                                           Issue #7 (1992)
Issue #2 (1979)                                                                                                  Issue #3 (1984)

Along with previously unreleased discoveries, Linna and Miller have successfully reissued many other obscurities and classics from the 1950s and 1960s, and their extensive catalog also includes current talents: Tommy James, King Coleman, Wade Curtiss, Elroy Dietzel, Esquerita, Charlie Feathers, Figures of Light, Flat Duo Jets, Ron Haydock, Roy Loney, Coba Seas, Terry Manning, Rudy Ray Moore, Doug Sahm, Reigning Sound, Ronnie Self, Tyrone Schmidling, Jack Starr, Gene Summers, The Teenbeats, King Uszniewicz, Gene Vincent, Gino Washington, Andre Williams and Link Wray.

KICKS+MAGAZINE+%236Their El Paso Rock series, for example, chronicles the early days of the El Paso rock scene, beginning with the legendary first recordings of Bobby Fuller, including the original 1964 pre-hit version of I Fought the Law,” first issued by Fuller on his own Exeter label. Volume two in the series offers more Fuller in a selection of “never before issued live mayhem from Texas teen clubs, shopping centers, bowling alleys circa 1962-64 plus insane home recordings.”

Issue #6 (1988)

In Billboard’s “Declaration of Independents” column, Norton received kudos for their Sonics and Fabulous Wailers reissues, and Goldmine praised Big Star’s Nobody Can Dance as “the most exciting reissue of the decade… one of the strongest pieces of music I’ve heard in 25 years.”

In late October 2012, Norton’s Brooklyn warehouse was flooded by Hurricane Sandy, destroying over 30 years of vinyl releases and printed matter. The label has been struggling to continue, but is starting to make a comeback with a vast army of analog loyalists cleaning records and hosting benefit concerts.


1 thought on “Kicks Magazine / The beginning of Norton Records | Miriam Linna & Billy Miller, 1978 – 86

  1. | | Howling Down the Chimney .
    The Ventures / We Wish You a Merry Christmas / 1965 // Christmas Album
    The Wailers / She's Coming Home / 1965 // Merry Christmas with:
    The Sonics / Santa Claus /1965 // Merry Christmas with: /
    The Wailers / Out Of Our Tree / 1965
    The Sonics / Don't Believe In Christmas / 1965 // Here Are:
    Christmas on Earth / 1963 / dir. Barbara Rubin / 29 min

    Joyeux Noë l, mlle Cocose


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