New York based record company founded in 1959 by one Florence Greenberg, housewife and mother of two, for apparently no other reason than that she was bored.
Introduced to four classmates of her daughter, she recorded them as The Shirelles. Early minor success resulted in the group being offered the Carole King and Gerry Goffin song Will You Love Me Tommorrow. Issued in 1960, the single went to no 1 US and became an international hit. Subsequent releases Dedicated to the one I love and Mama Said did almost as well and established both the group and the company.
The company's subsequent fortunes were largely dependent on 1962 signing Dionne Warwick (with a flow of Burt Bacharach-Hal David penned compositions) and 1966 signing B.J.Thomas (of Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head fame) who generated most of the profits in the mid to late sixties.
Although perhaps more pop than soul the label, and its subsidiary Wand, is still remembered by Northern Soul aficionados for acts such as Chuck Jackson, Maxine Brown and Tommy Hunt, as well as for giving Tammi Terrell her first break. Some of The Shirelles' later material such as Last Minute Miracle also gets thrown into the Northern Soul canon.
Notable also for briefly signing the Isley Brothers and releasing Twist and Shout and for leasing the the Kingsmen's garage-punk classic Louie Louie. The latter being the best selling record the company ever had.
After a brief flirtation with disco (and credited with inventing the concept of the 12in single), in 1976 Florence Greenberg decided to retire and sold the company. The new owners simply mined the back catalogue and the label effectively died.
Completely Irrelevant Footnote: The Scepter recording studio at 254 West 54th Street, New York was used by the Velvet Underground to record some of their early material.