Record Label Pioneer Randy Wood Dies at Age 94

Dot Records founder Randy Wood, who played a major role in the development of the music industry in the Nashville area, died Saturday (April 9) at his California home at age 94. Born in Morrison, Tenn., Wood started an appliance store in Gallatin, Tenn., after serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He began selling records at the store and, in 1947, began a mail-order business specializing in rhythm & blues records that were difficult to find in many parts of the U.S. The mail-order business flourished when it became a primary advertiser on WLAC, a Nashville radio station whose 50,000-watt signal blasted the music coast-to-coast at night during the ’50s. After the creation of Dot Records in 1950, the label achieved massive success with singer Pat Boone, who charted 59 hits for the company. The roster included such country and bluegrass artists as Mac Wiseman, Cowboy Copas and Leroy Van Dyke, as well as Lawrence Welk, Billy Vaughn, Tab Hunter, Debbie Reynolds and the Mills Brothers. Wood relocated the label to Los Angeles in 1956 and later sold it to Paramount Pictures. In 1968, he and Welk’s son, Larry Welk, began Ranwood Records and released albums by singers and musicians who performed on the popular TV series, The Lawrence Welk Show.