If you’re a restaurant affectionado, you’ve undoubtedly eaten at Papa’s in Culver. It’s the restaurant on the curve that has the vinyl record jackets on the wall.
Chances are many of those album jackets could have been designed by the original owner of Papa’s, Jim McCormick. Jim McCormick was an A and R man for years at V-J Records in Chicago. Look above the bar and you’ll see a Beatles jacket. Jim McCormick recommended that V-J sign the British group in the early 1960’s. An initial contract was sold for $350 to Capital and the rest, as they say, is history. His son, Brian, runs the restaurant today, and remembers how close his dad came to signing the Beatles.
“He was part of the signing process for the Beatles and then developed their first record jacket, which was ‘Meet the Beatles’,” explained Brian McCormick. “They took those pictures in America and his job was to figure out the most dramatic way to present this snotty little British band. He designed that cover and then actually tinted the first cover a little bit to give them a reddish hair appearance to set them apart. At the time, The Rolling Stones were coming out with a similar kind of look, the mop top and the longer hair, so they tinted the first album a little bit red and sent out that first album, ‘Meet the Beatles’. I get people all the time that say, ‘That record must be worth a lot of money.’ It would be except they sold over two million of them and a lot of people have them in their collections.”
Brian remembers when his dad told his family, “I knew it, I knew it, I knew they’d be popular.” when the Beatles exploded on the scene.
V-J Records was more interested in signing R&B groups, and single artists like Little Richard and Jerry Butler. They didn’t understand the coming phenomena, passing on the artists that would have made them millionaires. V-J finally faded and another label took it’s place. You might of heard of it. It was called Motown. Jim McCormick quit the record business, came to Culver, Indiana and opened his popular restaurant.