One of the greatest record company executives to come out of Pittsburgh was Nick Cenci. He began his career in the record business right out of high school assisting Pittsburgh’s #1 disc jockey Jay Michael from WCAE.
Nick rapidly advanced to the position of record promotion at Mercury Records. He moved up the ladder and to various companies until Herbie Cohen persuaded him to become a part of what would become Fenway Records and additionally Co & Ce Records.
Nick as a 50% partner at Co & Ce produced many hits for their label, some of which included:
- Porky Chedwick’s Dusty Discs LP’s
- Lou Christie’s The Gypsie Cried and Two Faces Have
- The Vogues, You’re The One and Five O’Clock World
- Tommy James and The Shondells Hanky Panky was not produced by Nick but many give him credit for making the record a national hit.
Nick was the master for making hits nationwide and many record company executives leaned on him for help.
Later in his career he teamed up with Barry Gordy’s Motown label and became their exclusive Pittsburgh distributorship.
I was fortunate to have teamed up with him,
- Joe Rock of Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners fame and who also co wrote Since I Don’t Have You and
- Joe Averbach of The Del Vikings Come Go With Me and Whispering Bells fame to form Decco Records in the late 70’s.
Nick Cenci along with my partner Tim Tormey presented the very first rock concert at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh when he and Tim produced PORKY CHEDWICK’S GROOVE SPECTACULAR. The show featured 25 of the top Rock and Roll acts of the day. It sold out to over 13,000 people.
Nick Cenci has passed away today. I will miss him as a friend and as one of the very best record guys ever to come out of the city. He will join the other Pittsburgh greats.