New York, 20th October 2022 Reservoir Media, Inc. (NASDAQ: RSVR) (“Reservoir” or the “Company”), an award-winning independent music company, today announced the acquisition of the catalog of songwriter and recording artist Louis Prima from the Gia Maione Prima Foundation. The deal includes rights to both Prima’s publishing and recorded music catalogs.
As a singer, songwriter, trumpeter, and actor, Prima is regarded as one of the most successful entertainers of the big band jazz era, and his contributions to swing helped shape the genre. He wrote and recorded iconic hits, including “Sing, Sing, Sing,” which is considered one of the most famous big band swing songs of all time. The New Orleans born Prima is also renowned for his recordings of “I’m Just a Gigolo (I Ain’t Got Nobody),” “Pennies from Heaven,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” and “Buona Sera (Good Night),” among many others. Additionally, he voiced King Louie, the beloved orangutan featured in Disney’s Oscar-nominated 1967 film The Jungle Book, and earned an RIAA Gold certification for the soundtrack featuring “I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)” performed by Prima.
Rell Lafargue, Reservoir President and Chief Operating Officer, commented, “Louis Prima composed and recorded some of the most iconic swing music of all time – his name and the genre are practically synonymous. We are honored to represent his catalog, working to drive deeper recognition of his legacy for generations to come.” He added, “Born and raised in Louisiana myself, I am proud to partner with Tony Sylvester from the Gia Maione Prima Foundation, particularly to further support their impactful work in the city of New Orleans.”
With countless covers and re-recordings of his music, plus synchs in major visual media, Prima continued to influence musicians and entertain listeners for generations. The Charlie Calello Orchestra’s rendition of “Sing, Sing, Sing,” released in 1979, was on disco charts for almost a year. Reba McEntire’s recording of “Sunday Kind of Love” reached #5 on Hot Country Singles and earned Prima an ASCAP Writers Award in 1984. The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s cover of “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” was the breakout single on their 1998 Grammy Award-winning album The Dirty Boogie. That same year, Prima’s version featured in an iconic Gap ad campaign and was credited with the resurgence of swing music into the mainstream in the ‘90s. More recently in 2018, Kids See Ghosts, a rap duo comprised of Kanye West and Kid Cudi, released “4th Dimension,” a Gold-certified track that sampled “What Will Santa Claus Say (When He Finds Everybody Swingin’)” and reached #42 on the Hot 100.
Prima’s song “Sing, Sing, Sing” and album The Wildest! were also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and he additionally earned the first ever Grammy award in the Vocal Group category for his rendition of “That Old Black Magic” in 1958. Prima blazed trails across the industry, becoming one of the first independent record producers, forming Prima Magnagroove Records in 1963, which produced his music and signed other artists through 1975. In 2010, he received a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in honor of his centennial year.
Anthony J. Sylvester, Trustee and Member of the Gia Maione Prima Foundation, stated, “The Foundation is pleased that the Prima music catalog is in the capable hands of our friends at Reservoir where we expect that it will bring even greater prominence and visibility to Prima’s music. The proceeds of the sale will allow the Foundation to expand its charitable endeavors, which is the primary mission of the Foundation.”