Art Rupe
Art Rupe
Art Rupe on His 100th Birthday in 2017
Birth: 5 September 1917
Greensburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Age: 103 years, 282 days
Country: United StatesUSA
Centenarian

Arthur N. Rupe (born Arthur Goldberg; 5 September 1917) is an American music industry executive and record producer. He started Specialty Records, noted for its rhythm and blues, blues, gospel and early rock and roll music recordings, in Los Angeles in 1946.

Biography

Arthur Rupe was born to a working-class Jewish family in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, USA, on 5 September 1917 and grew up in nearby McKeesport. His father was a factory worker who had immigrated from Galicia, Austria and his mother was a housewife born in Pittsburgh. As a boy, he listened to music sung at a local black Baptist church. He graduated from McKeesport High School in 1935 and attended college at Virginia Tech and Miami University before graduating from UCLA with a degree in Business Administration.. During World War II, he worked for a shipbuilding company in Los Angeles. Along the way, he changed his surname from Goldberg to Rupe, which was an ancestral name.

Toward the end of the war, Rupe resolved to get into the entertainment industry. He and Ben Siegert first started Juke Box Records in 1944 and after a few singles, he broke with his partners and started a new company, Specialty Records. Over the next fifteen years Specialty Records became one of the most prominent independent record companies. Signing on artists such as Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Roy Milton, Percy Mayfield, Joe and Jimmy Liggins, Lloyd Price, Larry Williams among many others.

In the early 1960s, he stopped producing records but remained active in the music business as a publisher. During the 1960s and later, Rupe became increasingly involved in oil and gas investments. Success in this area allowed him to establish the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation, a philanthropy based in Santa Barbara. Specialty was sold to Fantasy Records in 1991 and in 2007, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Rupe turned 100 years old in September 2017. He currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, at the age of 103 years, 282 days.

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