- Moon Records, 3331 Scenic Highway, Memphis, Tennessee -
- OJ Records, 1018 North Watkins Street, Memphis, Tennessee -
- Pepper Records, 62 Diana Street, Memphis, Tennessee -
- Philwood Records, 1566 Lookout Street, Memphis, Tennessee -
- Select-O-Hits, 605 Chelsea Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee -
- RCA Victor & Nipper, Various Locations -
- Rhino Records, 1720 Westwood Boulevard, Los Angeles, California -
- Rita Records, 1312 South Lauderdale Street, Memphis, Tennessee -
- Santo Records, 152 Fernwood Drive, Memphis, Tennessee -
- Stax Records, 926 McLemore Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee -
- Trumpet Records, 309 North Farish Street, Jackson, Mississippi -

MOON RECORDS – Located at 3333 Scenic Highway, Memphis, Tennessee. Moon Records began in 1956 in Memphis, Tennessee, and owner Cordell Jackson had previously recorded demos with Sam Phillips at Memphis Recording Service and Sun Studios. She is credited as the first woman to record, promote, engineer and produce music on her own independent record label and is revered as an early rock-a-billy/roots pioneer.

Nashville producer and recording artist Chet Atkins provided advice to Jackson concerning the formation of her new label, Moon Records. Moon Records early stable of artists included Barney Burcham, Johnny Tate, Joe Wallace, Alan Page and Earl Patterson.

CORDELL JACKSON - was born Cordell Miller in Pontotoc, Mississippi on July 15, 1923. Cordell received encouragement from her father who played fiddle in a string band called the Pontotoc Ridge Runners. She learned piano, stand-up bass and guitar and by her twelfth birthday had performed with her father’s band on a Tupelo, Mississippi radio show.

Jackson also played mandolin, harmonica and banjo but is best known as an electric guitar player. In 1943 she married William Jackson and moved to Memphis. In 1947 Cordell purchased recording equipment from Kabakoff Radio and Appliance in Memphis and began writing and taping songs as well as jamming with other musicians.

Unable to break into the Sun Records label's stable of male artists, she received the advice and assistance of RCA Records' Chet Atkins in forming this new label to release her music. She began releasing and promoting on the label singles she recorded in her home studio, serving as engineer, producer and arranger. The artists recorded included her and a small family of early rock and roll, rockabilly, and country music performers she recruited from several Southern states.

Jackson began recording and releasing product in the late 1970's when she realized there was a demand for the early Moon singles. Her career received a boost from the rock-a-billy craze in Europe which brought her international attention. Tav Falco's Panther Burns covered ''She’s The One That’s Got It'' and ''Dateless Nights'' a song she originally wrote in the 1950s for Florida artist Allen Page, and she began performing with the band between sets.

Jackson then began playing occasional shows in the 1980s with her signature red Hagstrom electric guitar as a solo artist in Memphis, Hoboken, New York, and Chicago nightclubs. She recorded new material on her label with Memphis musicians Colonel Robert Morris and Bob Holden, becoming known as a "rock-and-roll granny" solo guitar instrumentalist.

An appearance in the movie ''Great Balls Of Fire'', Budweiser commercials, she appeared in 1991 and 1992 on national talk shows like ''Late Night'' with David Letterman and in a television commercial duelling with rockabilly artist Brian Setzer on guitar and Regis & Kathy Lee helped spread her image as the ''rockin’ granny'' twanging on her red Hagstrom electric guitar. Interviews with Billboard, Spin Magazines, MTV and Entertainment Tonight and others showcased her spitfire playing and personality. She marketed her own video singles through her label in the 1990's, including Dan Roses’ production of ''The Split''. Jackson is also featured in the film entitled ''Wayne County Ramblin''' by Dan Rose. In the late 1990s, Cordell co-wrote and played with the rockabilly icon, Colonel Robert Morris in Memphis. Colonel Robert also helped edit the book based on her life and career. Memorabilia and information concerning Cordell Jackson and Moon Records are included in the Memphis Rock 'N' Soul Museum. Cordell Jackson died in Memphis, Tennessee, on October 14, 2004.


OJ RECORDS - was the manufacturing arm of Old Judge Music Publishing whose offices were locate at 1018 North Watkins Street in Memphis, Tennessee. The label seems to have begun operations sometime in 1956 or 1957 under the supervision of Bill Biggs and C. J. (Red) Matthews. While nothing is known of Biggs, Matthews was apparently involved in two other 1950’s recording enterprises, Holiday (of Memphis) and Ekko (of Hollywood, California).

OJ Records was a small-time operation which tried to capture the public’s fancy by issuing singles in a number of musical fields, including rhythm and blues/black doo-wop (Chester Guyden, the Rockin’ Dukes), rockability/white rock and roll (Wailin’ Bill Dell, Charles Senns) and 50s teen pop (Wink Martindale, Bobby Chandler and the Stardusters, Nancy Lee, Dave Gardner).

The label's first release on OJ 1000 was ''I'm Serious'' b/w ''If You Love’d Me'' by Bobby Chandler and the Stardusters, and judging by the number of copies which still turn up regularly in various record auctions, it was the company’s most successful venture.

Though most of OJ’s artist have since vanished into obscurity, two names (Dave Gardner and Wink Martindale) went on to have noteworthy entertainment careers after the company folded around 1958.

Born in Jackson, Tennessee, in 1926, Gardner began a musical career as a drummer and occasional vocalist. After a pair of demo singles for Decca Records around 1956, he waxed the pop tune "White Silver Sands'' which was successfully covered by crooner Don Rondo on the Jubilee label. Gardner’s other OJ efforts such as ''Fat Charlie'' and ''Mad Witch'', good though they were, failed to catch on with record-buyers of the day. It was his comedic routines between songs, however, that brought him to the attention of RCA Records producer Chet Atkins.

Billed as Brother Dave Gardner, his comedy LP ''Rejoice, Dear Hearts''! displayed the rapid-fire wit and Southern dialect that propelled him into the limelight for a brief time in the early sixties. His popularity included several more albums and appearances on national television talk/variety shows such as ''The Tonight Show''. Though his star faded before his death in 1983, Gardner’s brand of topical humor still retains a cult following even to this day.

Like Gardner, Wink Martindale also hailed from Jackson, Tennessee, where he was born in 1934. He started his career as a disc jockey at age 17 at WPLI in Jackson, earning $25 a week. While a student at Memphis State College, he hosted mornings at station WHBQ. It was around this time that Martindale cut his debut OJ single, ''Love’s Got Me Thinkin'' b/w ''Thought It Was Moonlove'' (1009). Though it fell flat sales-wise, it still had its good points: the topside displays a rockin’ beat and Martindale ride it to full effect, making up in enthusiasm what he may lack in vocal range. The teen ballad ''Moonlove'' is also well-chanted in a slightly countryish vein.

It was at his tenure with WHBQ that Martindale became the host of the TV show ''Teenage Dance Party'' where his friend Elvis Presley made an appearance. Martindale’s rendition of the spoken-word song, ''Deck Of Cards'', earned him a 1959 appearance on Ed Sullivan’s network TV show and reputedly sold over a million copies. Since then, he has gone on to fame as a game show host on numerous programs, most famously ''Tic-Tac-Dough'' and ''Trivial Pursuit''. On June 2, 2006, Martindale received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

OJ Records’s most prolific artist was Bobby Chandler and the Stardusters. Like other white quartets of the period such as the Crescendos (Nasco) and Techniques (Roulette), the Stardusters used a melodic approach to ballad harmony and tried to cross-over into the white pop mainstream of the time. Their follow-up release ''Me And My Imagination'' (1005) received a full-page in the May 25, 1957 Cash Box issue, with the banner claim: ''Just Released, Already Breaking in Memphis, Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami and Spreading''. The group’s third and last OJ paring was ''Junior Prom'' b/w ''Winter Time'' (1012). It seems open to debate as to whether the Stardusters were also known as the Escorts (''Misty Eyes'' b/w ''Arrow Two Hearts'' on OJ 1010) or the group billed as the Bachelors who backed Nancy Lee on ''You’re My Inspiration'' b/w ''My Heart Has Wings'' (1004). Judging by her two issued sides, Lee’s vocal capabilities might have resulted in more sales had she been given stronger material to work with.

Despite all the collector interest in rockabilly, doo-wop and teen pop, the OJ label remains a mysterious anomaly of the late 1950s. Only a small sampling of the label's total output has heretofore appeared on vinyl or CD reissues. This long-overdue compilation should be an intriguing package for anyone interested in these genres.


PEPPER RECORDS / DIANA RECORDS / TOM TOM RECORDS - Pepper Sound Studios, started at 62 Diana Street and later moved to 51 South Florence Street in Memphis, Tennessee, was an early syndicator of radio station jingles and began sometime in 1957. It began as a record company created by businessman and WDIA radio co-owner John R. Pepper and songwriter Floyd Huddleston. Huddleston worked as vice-president, based the company on the model of Capitol Records and even brought in Johnny Mercer as a consultant and Berl Olswanger as musical director. Two singles were firstb released on Pepper Records, ''Everygood'' b/w ''Gonna Build A Mountain'' (Pepper 896) by Norma Brock and The Keynoters and ''Cravin'''b/w ''Ooh Yeah, Baby, Ooh Yeah'' (Pepper 908) by Wayne Hefner''. Composers Al Rinker and Willard Robison were hired, until the records end was eventually phased out, and by 1964, Pepper Studios exclusively become a Jingle Commercial company.

Their first jingle was for John Pepper's company ''Everdry Deodorant'', followed by ''Burke Hall Paint'' and hundreds of others. William Tanner was a salesman for the company and quickly weaseled his way into becoming one of the owners of the company, and Pepper and Tanner worked Floyd Huddleston out. The company became known as Pepper-Tanner about 1967. In 1972, Bill Tanner worked John Pepper out the same way he had Huddleston, and the name was changed once again to The William B. Tanner Company, or simply Tanner for short.

In 1982, Media General, owner of newspapers as well as broadcasting and cable TV companies, bought the William B. Tanner Company for cash. David L. Jordan, vice president of Media General, said it was primarily interested in Tanner because of its expertise in the programming area. Some of the stations that commissioned Pepper Tanner jingles were WPOP, WLIF, WLS, WOLF, WVLK and WPGC.

It was later divested in 1988 and the ID jingles, syndication reels and production libraries of Media General Broadcast Services were acquired by TM studios. Media Generals' operations in Memphis was shut down and the master backing tracks and sound libraries were boxed up and shipped to the TM studios in Dallas. All of the reference reels for the syndicated ID Jingles and customized production libraries and commercials were dumped in Memphis. TM Studios has placed these reels in the custody of Media Preservation Foundation, though the copyrights are retained by TM Studios. The production libraries were cherry-picked and incorporated in various TM Studios libraries still sold to this day via TM and Ben Freedman Productions.

In 1985, William Tanner was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud and three counts of filing false income tax returns. In 2005, at age 74, Tanner was again sentenced to another 5 years after bribing a chancery court judge who presided over a lawsuit in which Tanner was the defendant, and ultimately died on December 1, 2005 in Memphis, Tennessee of Colon cancer at the age of 75.

John R. Pepper died after an extended illness at Saint Francis Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee on November 20, 2006 at the age of 91.


PHILWOOD RECORDS - Tom Phillips, brother of Sam Phillips operated the Select-O-Hits Record Shop located at 605 Chelsea Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. The address listed on the Philwood label was Tom Phillips' home residence on 1566 Lookout Drive. The Select-O-Hits warehouse was located behind the record shop and was loaded with unsold Sun Records.


RCA RECORDS - (Originally The Victor Talking Machine Company, then RCA Victor) is one of the flagship labels of Sony Music Entertainment. The RCA initials stand for Radio Corporation of America (later renamed RCA Corporation), which was the parent corporation from 1929 to 1985 and a partner from 1985 to 1986.

RCA is the name of three different co-owned record labels. RCA Records is the pop music, rock music and country music label. RCA Victor is the blues music, world music, jazz, musicals and other musical genres which do not fit the pop music mold label. RCA just signed American Idol winner Lee Dewyze. RCA Red Seal is the renowned classical music label with a reissue sub-label called RCA Gold Seal. Defunct labels include budget labels RCA Camden and RCA Victrola.

Besides manufacturing records for themselves, RCA Victor also operated RCA Custom which was the leading record manufacturer for the independent labels. RCA operated three strategically located record manufacturing plants in the U.S. and advertised overnight delivery to record distributors.

RCA Custom also pressed record compilations for The Reader's Digest Association. Currently, Legacy Recordings, Sony Music's catalog division, reissues classic albums for RCA. For the company's earlier history, see Victor Talking Machine Company.

In 1929, Radio Corporation of America (RCA) purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company, then the world's largest manufacturer of phonographs (including the famous "Victrola") and phonograph records (in British English, "gramophone records"). The company then became RCA-Victor. With Victor, RCA acquired New World rights to the famous Nipper trademark. While in Shanghai China, RCA-Victor was the main competitor with Baak Doi.

In 1931, RCA Victor's British affiliate the Gramophone Company merged with the Columbia Gramophone Company to form EMI. This gave RCA head David Sarnoff a seat on the EMI board. Also in late 1931, RCA Victor developed and released the first 33-rpm records to the public (known as "Program Transcriptions"). These had the standard groove size identical to the contemporary 78-rpm records, rather than the "microgroove" used in post-World War II 33rpm "Long Play" records. The format was a commercial failure at the height of the Great Depression, partially because the records and playback equipment were expensive. The system was withdrawn from the market after about a year. (This was not the first attempt at a commercial long play record format, as Edison Records had marketed a microgroove vertically recorded disc with 20 minutes playing time per side the previous decade; the Edison long playing records were also a commercial failure.)

During the early part of the depression, RCA made a number of attempts to produce a successful cheap label to compete with the 'Dime Store Labels' (Perfect, Oriole, Banner, Melotone, etc.). In 1932, Bluebird Records was created as a sub-label of RCA Victor. It was originally an 8" record with a dark blue label, alongside an 8" Electradisk label (sold at Woolworth's). Neither were a success. In 1933, RCA reintroduced Bluebird and Electradisk as a standard 10" label (Bluebird's label was redesigned as it became known as the 'buff' label). Another cheap label, Sunrise, was produced (although nobody seems to know for whom it was produced, as Sunrise records are exceptionally rare). The same musical couplings were issued on all three labels, and Bluebird survived long after Electradisk and Sunrise were discontinued. RCA also produced records for Montgomery Ward during the 1930s.

RCA sold its interest in EMI in 1935, but EMI continued to distribute RCA recordings on the HMV label. RCA also manufactured and distributed HMV classical recordings on the HMV label in North America. During World War II, ties between RCA and its Japanese affiliate JVC were severed. The Japanese record company is today called Victor Entertainment and is still a JVC subsidiary.

From 1942 to 1944, RCA Victor was seriously impacted by the American Federation of Musicians recording ban. Virtually all union musicians could not make recordings during that period. One of the few exceptions was the eventual release of recorded performances by the NBC Symphony Orchestra with Arturo Toscanini. However, RCA lost the Philadelphia Orchestra during this period; when Columbia Records settled quickly with the union, Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphians signed a new contract with Columbia and began making recordings in 1944.

In 1949, RCA-Victor developed and released the first 45rpm record to the public, answering CBS/Columbia's 33rpm "LP". The 45-rpm record became the standard for pop singles with running times similar to 10-inch 78- rpm discs (less than four minutes per side). However, RCA also released some "extended play" (EP) discs with running times up to 7 minutes per side, primarily for classical recordings. (One of the first of the extended 45- rpm recordings was a disc by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra featuring Tchaikovsky's Marche Slave and Ketèlbey's In a Persian Market.)

In 1950, realizing that Columbia's LP format had become successful and fearful that RCA was losing market share, RCA Victor began issuing LPs themselves. Among the first RCA LPs released was a performance of Gaîté Parisienne by Jacques Offenbach, played by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra, which had actually been recorded in Boston's Symphony Hall on June 20, 1947; it was given the catalogue number LM- 1001. Non-classical albums were issued with the prefix "LPM." When RCA later issued classical stereo albums (in 1958), they used the prefix "LSC." Non-classical stereo albums were issued with the prefix "LSP." In the 1950s, RCA had three subsidiary or specialty labels: Groove, Vik and "X". Label "X" was founded in 1953 and renamed Vik in 1955. Groove was an R&B specialty label founded in 1954.

Through the 1940s and 1950s, RCA was in competition with Columbia Records. A number of recordings were made with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, usually conducted by Arturo Toscanini; sometimes RCA utilized recordings of broadcast concerts (Toscanini had been recording for the label since the days of acoustic recordings, and the label had been recording the NBC Symphony since the late 1930s). When the NBC Symphony was reorganized in the fall of 1954 as the Symphony of the Air, it continued to record for RCA, as well as other labels, usually with Leopold Stokowski. RCA also released a number of recordings with the Victor Symphony Orchestra, later renamed the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra, which was usually drawn from either Philadelphia or New York musicians, as well as members of the Symphony of the Air. By the late 1950s RCA had fewer high prestige orchestras under contract than Columbia had: RCA recorded the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Pops, whereas Columbia had the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

On October 6, 1953, RCA held experimental stereophonic sessions in New York's Manhattan Center with Leopold Stokowski conducting a group of New York musicians in performances of Enesco's Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1 and the waltz from Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin. There were additional stereo tests in December, again in the Manhattan Center, this time with Pierre Monteux conducting members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In February 1954, RCA made its first commercial stereophonic recordings, taping the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Charles Münch, in a performance of The Damnation of Faust by Hector Berlioz. This began a practice of simultaneously taping orchestras with both stereophonic and monaural equipment. Other early stereo recordings were made by Toscanini and Guido Cantelli respectively, with the NBC Symphony Orchestra; the Boston Pops Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler; and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner. Initially, RCA used RT-1¼inch tape recorders (which ran at 30inches per second), wired to mono mixers, with Neumann U-47 cardioid and M-49/50 omnidirectional microphones. Then they switched to an Ampex 300-3½inch machine, running at 15inches per second (which was later increased to 30inches per second). These recordings were initially issued in 1955 on special stereophonic reel-to-reel tapes and then, beginning in 1958, on vinyl LPs with the logo "Living Stereo." Sony Music and predecessor companies have continued to reissue these recordings on CD.

In September 1954, RCA introduced 'Gruve-Gard' where the center and edge of a disc are thicker than the playing area, reducing scuff marks during handling and when used on a turntable with a record changer. Most of RCA Victor Records' competitors quickly adopted the raised label and edges.

The Toscanini stereo albums, however, were never issued by RCA (they were the last two concerts he conducted with the NBC Symphony Orchestra). They were not issued until 1987 and 2007 respectively, when they appeared on compact disc on the Music and Arts label, and betrayed no sign whatsoever of the Maestro's apparent memory loss in the last concert, probably because the rehearsals had also been taped in stereo and portions of them were included in the final edit.

In 1955, RCA purchased the recording contract of Elvis Presley from Sun Records for the then astronomical sum of $35,000. Elvis Presley would become RCA's and world's biggest selling recording artist. His first gold record was Heartbreak Hotel, recorded in January 1956.

In 1957, RCA ended its 55-year association with EMI and signed a distribution deal with Decca Records, which caused EMI to purchase Capitol Records. Capitol then became the main distributor for EMI recordings in North and South America, with RCA distributing its recordings through Decca in the United Kingdom on the RCA (later RCA Victor) label. This had the lightning bolt logo instead of the His Master's Voice Nipper logo (now owned by HMV Group in the UK as EMI transferred trademark ownership in 2003). RCA set up its own British distribution in 1971. Also in 1957, RCA opened a state-of-the-art recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee which recorded hit after hit for RCA and other labels for 20 years and is now open for tours as RCA Studio B. Elvis Presley made most of his recordings in this studio.

In 1960, RCA announced the Compact 33 double and singles. In January 1961, these discs hit the market. The Compact 33 discs were released simultaneously with their 45 rpm counterparts. The long-term goal was to phase out the 45 rpm. This campaign eventually failed by early 1962.

In 1963, RCA introduced Dynagroove which added computer technology to the disc cutting process, ostensibly to improve sound reproduction. Whether it was actually an improvement or not is still debated among audiophiles.

In September 1965, RCA & Lear Jet Corp. teamed up to release the first Stereo 8-Track Tape Music Cartridges (Stereo 8) which were first used in the 1966 line of Ford Automobiles and were popular throughout the late 1960s and 1970s. (The initial release comprised 175 titles from RCA Victor and RCA Camden's catalog of artists.) In late 1968, RCA modernized its image with a new futuristic-looking logo (the letters RCA in block modernized form), replacing the old lightning bolt logo, and the virtual retirement of both the Victor and Nipper trademarks. The background of the labels, which had always been black for its regular series (as opposed to its Red Seal line), switched to bright orange (becoming tan later in the early 1970s). Possibly in response to customers' complaints, RCA Records reinstated Nipper to most of its record labels beginning in 1976 in countries where RCA had the rights to the Nipper trademark. The famous "shaded" label used on RCA's "Living Stereo" albums was revived in the 1990s for a series of CDs devoted to the historic tripletrack stereophonic recordings.

In late 1969 RCA introduced a very thin, lightweight vinyl LP known as DynaFlex (the name has nothing to do with the gyroscope). This type of pressing claimed to overcome warping and other problems in conventional thicker pressings, but it had a controversial reputation in the industry. At about the same time John Denver recorded his first RCA LP: Rhymes and Reasons.

In April 1970 RCA announced the first Quadraphonic 4-Channel 8-Track Tape Cartridges (Quad-8, later called just Q8). RCA then began releasing quadraphonic vinyl recordings in 1971, primarily of classical music, in the CD-4 format developed by Japan Victor Corporation (JVC), and made commercially practical by Quadracast Systems Inc. (QSI). RCA's trade name became Quadradisc. The CD-4 format required a special cartridge that had a +/- 1db frequency response out to 50kHz, a CD-4 demodulator which decoded the difference between the front and rear channels from a 30kHz subcarrier, four separate amplifier channels, and four separate speakers for the left and right front and left and right rear. Both the CD-4 Quadradisc and Quad-8 tape cartridge systems were true discrete 4-4-4 quadraphonic systems. Columbia introduced a Pseudo quadraphonic matrix system, SQ, which also required a "decoder", 4 channel amplifier and the four speakers. The SQ system was not true Quadraphonic because it only had 2 channels and was referred to as a 4-2-4 matrix system. The Warner Music labels also adopted the Quadradisc format, but they, RCA and Columbia abandoned quadraphonic recording within a few years; some of the RCA sessions were later remastered for Dolby encoding (same as Peter Schieber's original matrix system) and released on CD. This included Charles Gerhardt 's series of albums devoted to classic film scores by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Alfred Newman, Dimitri Tiomkin, Max Steiner, Franz Waxman, and others, performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra in London's Kingsway Hall.

In 1983, Arista Records owner Bertelsmann sold 50% of Arista to RCA. In 1985, Bertelsmann and RCA formed a joint venture called RCA/Ariola International.

When General Electric acquired RCA in 1986, the company sold its 50% interest in RCA/Ariola International to its partner Bertelsmann and the company was renamed BMG Music for Bertelsmann Music Group. BMG brought back the lightning bolt logo that was last used in 1967 to make clear that RCA Records was no longer co-owned with the other RCA entities which GE sold or closed. The only RCA unit GE kept was the National Broadcasting Company. BMG also revived the "RCA Victor" label for musical genres outside of country, pop and rock music.

Many artists such as Eurythmics, indie-popsters The Bongos, and Rick Astley recorded with RCA in the 80s. Charlie Rich had several recordings produced by RCA as well as Charley Pride. Co-writer Marvin Walters worked closely with both artists producing hit songs such as "Set Me Free" for Rich and "Pretty Girl" for Pride. Walters left RCA when it sold its interest to BMG.

In the 1990s, RCA's corporate structure basically remained the same. Also, RCA had an explosion of urban talent, such as Tyrese, SWV, Chantay Savage, and others. Some of these artists, such as Mobb Deep, recorded for the RCA label via a distribution deal with Loud Records, which remained distributed by RCA until 1999.Many of these artists have since left RCA for a number of reasons, such as SWV's breakup and Tyrese's move to J Records. Also, artist of other genres, such as Christina Aguilera and The Dave Matthews Band were launched by the RCA label in the 1990s.

RCA has produced several notable Broadway cast albums as well, among them the original Broadway recordings of Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, the Mary Martin Peter Pan, Damn Yankees, Hello, Dolly!, Oliver!, and Fiddler on the Roof. RCA has also recorded and released recordings of revival stagings of musicals. These include the musical productions staged at Lincoln Center such as the 1966 revivals of Show Boat and Annie Get Your Gun, the 1987 revival of Anything Goes and the 1998 Broadway revivals of Cabaret and The Sound of Music. Call Me Madam was recorded by RCA Victor with all of its original cast except for its star Ethel Merman, who, due to contractual obligations, could not be released from her American Decca Records contract. She was replaced on the RCA album by Dinah Shore. RCA was also responsible for the film soundtrack albums of Damn Yankees, South Pacific, Exodus, and The Sound of Music. The album made from the 1965 hit Julie Andrews film was (and is) one of the best selling soundtracks of all time. RCA also released the original American cast album of Hair.

RCA Victor made several studio cast recording albums as well, included a Lerner and Loewe series with Jan Peerce, Jane Powell, and Robert Merrill, as well as a 1963 album of excerpts from George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, with its 1952 revival leads, Leontyne Price and William Warfield, but a different supporting cast. They also issued two earlier versions of Show Boat, one with Robert Merrill, Patrice Munsel, and Rise Stevens and the other with Howard Keel, Anne Jeffreys, and Gogi Grant.

RCA Victor also issued several spoken word albums in the 1950s and 60s, notably the soundtracks of the films Richard III, A Man for All Seasons and The Taming of the Shrew, as well as complete versions of the National Theatre of Great Britain stage productions of Othello (starring Laurence Olivier) and Much Ado About Nothing (starring Maggie Smith, who also played Desdemona in the Olivier Othello). None of these albums have appeared on compact disc, but the films of Richard III, A Man For All Seasons, The Taming of the Shrew and the Olivier Othello have all been issued on DVD.

In 2004, BMG and Sony merged their music holdings into a joint venture called Sony BMG. Because Sony Music was the successor to the old CBS record division, this merger meant that RCA Records, once owned by parent RCA, was now under the same umbrella as the label once owned by RCA's rival, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), Columbia Records.

In 2006, Sony BMG merged its Broadway music labels, including RCA Victor to the new Masterworks Broadway Records.

In 2008, Sony acquired Bertelsmann's interest in the record company which was officially renamed Sony Music Entertainment at the start of 2009. RCA became part of the newly formed RCA/Jive Label Group as a result RCA Victor decided to demolish their Camden warehouse in the early 1960s. This warehouse held four floors' worth of catalog and vault masters (most of them were pre-tape wax and metal discs), test pressings, lacquer discs, matrix ledgers, and rehearsal recordings.

A few days before the demolition took place, some collectors from the USA and Europe were allowed to go through the warehouse and salvage whatever they could take with them for their personal collections.

Soon after, collectors and RCA Records officials watched from a nearby bridge as the warehouse was demolished, with many studio masters still intact in the building. The remnants were bulldozed into the Delaware River and a pier was built on top of them. In 1973, when the company decided to release all of Rachmaninoff's recordings on LPs (to celebrate the centennial of the composer's birth), RCA was forced to go to record collectors for materials, as documented by Time.

In the early 1920s, Victor was extremely slow about getting deeply involved in recording and marketing black jazz and vocal blues. By the mid to late 1920s, Victor had signed Jelly Roll Morton, Bennie Moten, Duke Ellington and other black bands and were becoming very competitive with Columbia and Brunswick, even starting their own V-38000 "Hot Dance" series that was marketing to all Victor dealers. They also had a V- 38500 "race" series, as well. However, throughout the 1930s, Victor's involvement in jazz and blues slowed down and by the time of the musicians' strike and the end of the war, Victor was neglecting the R&B (race) scene, which is one of the reasons so many independent companies sprang up so successfully.

In the 1970s the label let much of its catalog go out of print. This pattern affected its jazz catalog most greatly, followed by its classical music catalog.

In the compact disc era a small proportion of its jazz catalog has been reissued. (For example, Jelly Roll Morton albums were reissued; but they were removed from circulation in less than ten years.) Similarly, only a fraction of its vast classical catalog has remained available on compact disc.

Canadian rockers Triumph were practically all but ignored by the label. When the band wanted out of their deal with RCA, the label refused. Then MCA Records executive Irving Azoff demonstrated his faith in the trio by co-opting their debts and buying the band out of their RCA contract and signed them for five albums. After singer Kenny Rogers left the label, RCA was accused of trying to ruin his career. Rogers signed to RCA in 1983 for an advance sum of $20 million (the largest deal ever in country music at that time) when Bob Summers was head of the label. Shortly after Rogers' first album for the label Summers was fired (for unrelated reasons) by RCA. Deciding it would make the label look bad for firing Summer if Rogers continued to be a major success - his duet with Dolly Parton, "Islands in the Stream", had been one of the biggest hits of 1983 - Rogers received very little support from the label during the next several years he was with them. Although Rogers and RCA parted ways many years ago the results of the conflict can still be seen today. In 1989, RCA deleted all of Rogers' solo albums soon after he signed back to Reprise, where he used to record when he was a rock artist with his former group, The First Edition. Rogers, in turn, took the rights to those albums with him as RCA refused to keep them), with only Once Upon A Christmas (a 1984 album of seasonal duets with Parton) remaining in print. Recent CD reissues of that album have omitted the tracks on which Rogers sang solo.

The most recent controversy surrounded RCA Records and Kelly Clarkson. Reports said that many RCA workers including mogul Clive Davis were unhappy with her album My December. Davis was even said to offer Clarkson $10 million to scrap five of her songs, but she refused. Months of controversy concluded with Clarkson's tour being rescheduled, My December becoming the lowest-selling album of her career, and Clarkson joining Starstruck Entertainment.

RCA Music Group: In 2002, BMG was reorganized in the United States, creating the RCA Music Group, which combined RCA Records, Arista Records and J Records, with Clive Davis heading the reorganized unit.

After BMG was fully merged into Sony Music Entertainment, BMG sister group the Zomba Label Group was renamed to Jive Label Group and was brought together with RCA Music Group to form the RCA/Jive Label Group; however, both groups continue to operate as standalone division under the greater RCA/Jive Label Group umbrella.

RCA Label Group (UK): a division of Sony Music UK, since 2006, which acts as an import label of American and multinational Sony Music artists, and also signs UK artists. Head of the department was Craig Logan, manager of Pink and former band member of Bros.

RCA Records Nashville: a division of Sony Music Nashville.

RCA Red Seal Records: The prestigious RCA Red Seal classical music label is now part of Sony Masterworks.

RCA Music Group (France): a division of Sony Music France.

RCA Label Group Nashville: Based in Nashville, Tennessee, it consisted of the country music operations of the RCA, Arista, known as RCA Records Nashville and Arista Nashville respectively, and BNA Records record labels. With the Sony BMG merger, the group was merged with Columbia Nashville to form Sony Music Nashville. RCA Records Nashville remains an active imprint of Sony Music Nashville.

RCA Victor Label Group: The RCA Victor label group consisted of the RCA Victor, Windham Hill and Bluebird labels.

Other RCA associated labels: Colgems, Calendar/Kirshner, Metromedia, Chelsea, Midland/Midsong International, Windstar, Wooden Nickel, and Millennium.

NIPPER - (1884–1895) was a dog that served as the model for a painting titled His Late Master's Voice. This image was the basis for the dog and trumpet logo used by several audio recording and associated brands: His Master's Voice, HMV, RCA, Victor Talking Machine Company, RCA Victor and JVC.

Nipper was born in 1884 in Bristol, England, and died in September 1895. It has been claimed in various sources that he was a Jack Russell Terrier, a Fox Terrier. He was named Nipper because he tried to bite visitors in the leg.

Nipper’s original owner, Mark Henry Barraud, died in 1887, leaving his brothers Philip and Francis to care for the dog. Nipper himself died in 1895 and was buried in Kingston upon Thames in a small park surrounded by magnolia trees.

As time progressed the area was built upon, a branch of Lloyds TSB now occupies the site. On the wall of the bank, just inside the entrance, a brass plaque is displayed commemorating the terrier that lies beneath the building. On 10 March 2010 a small road near to the dog's resting place in Kingston-upon-Thames was named Nipper Alley in commemoration of this resident.

Nipper used to live with his owner in the Prince's Theatre in Bristol. There is a small model of Nipper above a doorway of a building at the junction of Park Row and Woodland Road in Bristol, opposite where the theatre stood.

In 1898, three years after Nipper’s death, Francis painted a picture based on a photograph of Nipper listening intently to a wind-up Edison-Bell cylinder phonogram. In the painting, Francis substituted a disc gramophone for the phonograph shown in the earlier photograph. On February 11, 1899, Francis filed an application for copyricht of his picture “Dog Looking At and Listening to a Phonograph''. Thinking the Edison-Bell Company might find it useful, he presented it to James E. Hough who, in a move that would eventually result in Edison exiting the record business altogether, promptly said, “Dogs don’t listen to phonographs.” On May 31, 1899, Francis went to the Maiden Lane offices of The Gramophone Company with the intention of borrowing a brass horn to replace the original black horn on the painting.

Manager, William Barry Owen suggested that if the artist replaced the entire machine with a Berliner disc gramophone, the Company would buy the painting. A modified form of the painting became the successful trademark of Victor and HMV records, HMV music stores, and RCA. The trademark itself was registered by Berliner on July 10, 1900.

The slogan ''His Master's Voice'' along with the painting was sold to The Gramophone Company for 100 pounds sterling. As Francis Barraud stated about this painting: ''It is difficult to say how the idea came to me beyond that fact that it suddenly occurred to me that to have my dog listening to the Phonograph, with an intelligent and rather puzzled expression, and call it ''His Master’s Voice'' would make an excellent subject. We had a phonograph and I often noticed how puzzled he was to make out where the voice came from. It certainly was the happiest thought I ever had.

Nipper lives on through the brand names; he even appeared in ads on television with his "son", a puppy named Chipper who was added to the RCA family in 1991. Real dogs continue to play the roles of Nipper and Chipper, but Chipper has to be replaced much more frequently, since his character is a puppy.

Nipper continues to be the mascot of HMV Group stores in countries where the entertainment retailer has the rights to him. Both RCA Records and EMI have deemphasized Nipper in the global music market due to the fragmented ownership of the trademark.


RHINO RECORDS - Rhino Entertainment Company is an American specialty record label and production company. It is owned by Warner Music Group. Rhino was originally a novelty song and reissue company during the 1970s and 1980s, releasing compilation albums of pop, rock and roll, and rhythm and blues successes from the 1950s through the 1980s. They were also known for releasing retrospectives of famous comedy performers, including Richard Pryor, Stan Freberg, Tom Lehrer, and Spike Jones.

Starting during the late 1980s, Rhino transitioned into a complete entertainment company specializing in home video/DVD re-issues of television programs such as The Transformers. Also programs such as G.I. Joe, Jem, The Lone Ranger, My Favorite Martian, The World of Sid & Marty Krofft collection and Mystery Science Theater 3000, and compact disc releases of select artists and movie soundtracks.

Rhino started as a record shop on 1720 Westwood Boulevard, Los Angeles, during 1973, run by collectors Richard Foos and Harold Bronson. It became a record distributor five years later thanks to the effort of thenstore manager Harold Bronson.

Their early releases were mostly novelty records (with their first single being Wild Man Fischer's "Go To Rhino Records") and some punk rock singles; the difficulties involved in getting airplay and distribution for such material eventually caused Foos and Bronson to take the label in other directions. One of their earliest reissues was achieved by acquiring the rights to the White Whale label. By the mid-1980s most of their releases were reissues of previously released recordings licensed from other companies. Superior sound quality (remastering of the original tapes was done under the direction of Bill Inglot) and creative packaging made Rhino one of the most respected reissue record labels, receiving rave reviews from music collectors, fans, and historians. Rhino was quick to get into the compact disc market, releasing dozens of oldies CDs at the dawn of the CD age in 1984. Their retrospective compact disc releases are often remastered to restore or improve upon the original analog release's audio quality.

The company also continued to produce new music, with releases on subsidiary labels such as RNA (Rhino New Artists) and Forward, as well as the main Rhino label. However, the company's entertainers tended to generate more critical acclaim than public interest. One of Rhino's early artists was The Twisters whose Los Angeles popularity far exceeded their album sales. For the most part, sales totals in the low five figures or less were routine for Rhino-produced albums, and the less costly, less risky reissue business remained the company’s primary revenue stream. One exception was the late-1986 success "At This Moment" by Billy Vera & the Beaters, a 1981 song that unexpectedly made it to the top of the U.S. Billboard charts after being featured in a 1986 episode of the hit NBC series Family Ties.

During 1986, Rhino signed a six-year distribution agreement with Capitol Records. During 1989 Rhino and Capitol’s parent EMI made a deal to jointly acquire Roulette Records; Rhino received the US rights to Roulette's catalog, excluding jazz. When the distribution deal with Capitol ended in 1992, Rhino signed a new distribution deal with Atlantic Records, and in turn Time Warner bought a 50% stake in the record company. In 1998, Time Warner bought the other half of Rhino; thus the company became a wholly owned unit of Time Warner. The Rhino Records retail store, which was not part of the sale, closed in 2005.

In 1999, Rhino started the Rhino Handmade division of limited edition releases available primarily from their website. All of these Handmade reissues are limited to about 3000 copies or less and once sold out are not repressed.

It is through this merger that the label has released remastered editions of collections from such musicians as Eric Burdon, Fanny, Dannii Minogue, The Ramones, The Grateful Dead, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Beach Boys, Yes, The Doobie Brothers, The Cars, Chicago, Tom Paxton, Third Eye Blind, The Doors, War, Spirit of the West and most recently The Bee Gees; as well as soundtracks spanning the Turner-owned pre- 1986 MGM and pre-1950 Warner Bros. periods, in addition to WB's own post-1949 period. Rhino's soundtrack releases include Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Easter Parade, North by Northwest, Casablanca, King Kong, Doctor Zhivago, Superman, and Finian's Rainbow.

Rhino also owns the rights to The Monkees’ master tapes and film footage (which they acquired from Raybert Productions in 1994), and thus has released home videos and CDs from the group.

In 2003, co-founders and longtime executives Richard Foos and Harold Bronson left Rhino, reportedly due to frustration at being unable to release compilation albums in an increasingly competitive market. In fact, Time Warner's final vesting of its 100% ownership of the label, and its subsequent 'reorganization' of label staff, which did not stop at the former owners, were the major factors in their exits. Soon after, Foos inaugurated a new label, Shout! Factory, which began releasing dozens of CDs and videos mirroring the original early-1990s Rhino philosophy.

In 2004, Time Warner spun off its music divisions and today Rhino is part of the newly organized Warner Music Group. In addition to dealing with archive material, the label also manages the US distribution or worldwide production of compilations for more recent Warner acts, including still-active artists such as Enya, New Order, and Chicago.

In June 2006, Warner Strategic Marketing in the UK was dissolved and Rhino Records UK was formed. The division has two main factions - TV advertised compilations (for example Pure Garage Rewind Back to the Old School) and catalog material from the Warner vaults. Led Zeppelin's 2007 release Mothership and the soundtrack to the film Juno serve as the label's most recent successes.

Similar music companies include Collectables Records, Hip-O Records, One Way Records, Beat Goes On Records, Varèse Sarabande, and Sony Music's Legacy Recordings, as well as Ace Records of Britain and Bear Family of Germany.


RITA RECORDS - This label was formed by Roland Janes and Billy Lee Riley in the fall of 1959. They had a huge hit on their third release with Harold Dorman’s ''Mountain Of Love'', released February 1960 (Rita 1003) which reached number 21 on the charts. Dorman’s composition was eventually covered by Johnny Rivers in 1964 which reached number 9 and Ronnie Dove whose recording pegged out at number 67 in 1968. The actual recordings for the label took place in the Hi Records studio located at 1312 South Lauderdale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Rita Records folded in 1961 and Roland Janes eventually opened Sonic Sound located on 1692 Madison Avenue, Memphis in 1962. By the time Dorman's single was released, Riley had quit Rita Records, reportedly selling his share for $1000 just as ''Mountain Of Love'' was breaking.


SANTO RECORDS - was a record label based in Memphis, Tennessee. It was one of these small companies that popped up after Sun hit with Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and other rockabilly singers. It was started in the early 1960s by singer Wayne McGinnis, and that Santo Records was a subsidiary of Fernwood.

McGinnis was originally from Mississippi County, Arkansas, and moved to Memphis around 1953. There he performed in a band with guitarist Billy Joe Miller, playing a mixture between jazz and country. He later joined Slim Wallace's Dixie Ramblers along with Billy Lee Riley, Jack Clement, Bob Deckelman, and Ramon Maupin.

When Ronald ''Slim'' Wallace set up his label Fernwood Records in 1956, McGinnis was amongst those who recorded a couple of songs in Wallace's garage studio, which remained unissued. He then unsuccessfully auditioned at Sun Records before finally signing with Lester Bihari's Meteor record label, also based in Memphis. There he formed the Swing Teens with Billy Joe Miller on lead guitar and Curley Wilson on bass, recording "Rock, Roll And Rhythm" b/w "Lonesome Rhythm Blues''.

He continued to play with the Swing Teens for a while, before he moved into record production and promotion. The first record on his Santo Records label came out in the summer of 1961 by the Holidays with Darrell Tatum on guitar, who also recorded solo for Santo as well as for Fernwood Records later on. From the many recordings done for Santo, there were remarkable many artists of note. Anita Wood, who was at some point Elvis Presley's girl friend, recorded at least two records for Santo. Harold Dorman, who had a hit with "Mountain Of Love" on Billy Lee Riley's Rita Records, also recorded for the label as well as Thomas Wayne, who charted with "Tragedy" in the 1950s on Fernwood. Bobby Lee Trammell, famous for his wild stage appearances and songs like "Shirley Lee'', "You Mostest Girl" or "Arkansas Twist'', had one release on the label. Sylvia Mobley, a country singer, had also several records on small Memphis and Arkansas based labels in the 1960s and 1970s. Santo had also a sublabel called San Wayne Records.

Wayne McGinnis also had other business interests and eventually concentrated on his work as a business man, retiring from performing. What has happened to Santo and McGinnis? Well, one of those many questions in rockabilly history. The last known release on Santo Records was by David Wilson in 1964 or 1965. Discographical info came mostly from here. In fact, McGinnis bought Fernwood Records after the label's home on North Main Street was destroyed in 1968. Eventually, he sold the Fernwood and Santo master tapes to Dave Travis, owner of the reissue label Stomper Time Records. Concerning Santo recording artist Darrell Tatum and the label itself, Larry Manuel said: I've checked all my sources here in Memphis and have come up with almost nothing. Stan Kessler remembers a Santo label but never heard of Darrell Tatum.


SELECT-O-HITS - is an independent label distributor of music based in Memphis, Tennessee. They have been in business for 50 years, and distribute artists that include Teflon Don (rapper), Johnnie Taylor, Jimmy Buffett, Three Six Mafia, Colt Ford, and Diana Reyes. Select-O-Hits, which is owned by Sam W. Phillips and John Phillips, was co-founded in 1960 by their father, Tom Phillips, and uncle, Sam C. Phillips, the legendary founder of Sun Records.

Tom Phillips began his career in music as Jerry Lee Lewis' road manager for a number of years. He had invested all of his savings into an upcoming 1958 European tour when news of Lewis' marriage to his 13 year-old cousin Myra hit the front pages. Lewis' career came to a sudden, although temporary, halt. The tour was cancelled, and Tom was broke. Sam Phillips of Sun Records helped by giving him a job in the Sun Records warehouse and allowing Tom to live with him while his family stayed behind in Mobile, Alabama. Eventually, Tom saved enough money to send for his family in 1960.

Tom was not satisfied with running the warehouse, so with the help of his wife, Lucille, he opened a small record store and one-stop that provided small, predominantly black-owned record stores with everything from phonograph needles to display racks.

In the mid-1970s, Select-O-Hits began to concentrate more on distributing and less on retail and one-stops. The retail store closed in the mid-1980s, and the one-stop followed a few years later. Select-O-Hits has formed a number of successful record labels, such as Avenue, Icehouse, SOH, Brutal Records, Basix Music, Blues Works and Prophet Entertainment. In 1997 half of the company was sold to Malaco Records of Jackson, Mississippi.

In 2005, Select-O-Hits and Malaco acquired Atlanta International Records of Atlanta, Georgia. While all genres of music are represented in the family of labels Select-O-Hits distributes, Rap, Blues, Soul and Gospel are still the largest portion of the business. Today with sales staff in Memphis, New York, Sacramento, Miami, and Dallas, Select-O-Hits is one of the largest independent record distributors in the country, providing services for over 300 independent vendors to all key US music traditional "brick and mortar" retailers, as well as digital media sites such as iTunes and eMusic.

In 2007, Select-O-Hits began distributing Latin and Regional Mexican music labels. Since then, the "Select-O-Latino" brand has grown to include multiple Latin Grammy nominated artists like Luis Enrique, Luz Rios, Diego Verdaguer, Los Invasores de Nuevo León, and Orestes Vilató.


STAX RECORDS - In the 1960s and early 1970s Stax defined the sound of Southern soul with a catalog that featured Wilson Picket, Isaac Hayes, Sam and Dave, and Booker T. and the MG's, plus Otis Redding on its Volt subsidiary.

Located at 926 East McLemore Avenue, headquarters was a disused movie theater, the Capitol, in a rough neighbourhood about a mile south of Beale Street. In 1960, owners Jim Stewart ("ST") and sister Estelle Axton ("AX") opened a small recording studio and retail record shop, and brought in guitarist Chip Moman to rebuild the place.

He ripped out the seats, built a control room on the stage, hung homemade drapes on the walls to help the acoustics, placed an echo chamber in the toilets, and began developing the Stax Sound.

The candy stand in the lobby was converted into a record store, giving the label a doorstep indicator of public tastes. When work was finished, they emblazoned the cinema awning with the title SOULSVILLE U.S.A., a Southern retort to the HITSVILLE U.S.A. banner that hung outside Motown's studio in Detroit.

Stax Records began developing its sound around a tightly knit mixed-race house band, the Mar-Keys, who later developed in the MG's (Memphis Group), featuring Booker T. Jones on organ, with Steve Cropper on guitar, Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass, and drummer Al Jackson, Jr. Disc jockey and performer Rufus Thomas brought in his teenage daughter Carla, and her songs became the first national hits for the Stax label.

In 1965 the label found its definitive sound, punchy horns, tight rhythms, suggestive lyrics, with Wilson Pickett's "In The Midnight Hour", Sam and Dave's "Hold On, I'm Comin'", and Otis Redding's "Otis Blue" album, cut in 24 hours that July. More standards poured out over the next few years, including Eddie Floyd's "Knock On Wood" and Redding's "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay", recorded three days before he died, in a plane crash on December 10, 1967.

The following April, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated at the nearby Lorraine Motel, where many Stax musicians stayed when in town. During the subsequent riots, Stax studio was one of the places where protestors grouped, and a cordon of Memphis' finest surrounded the building after rumours that white musicians such as Dunn and Cropper were going to be attacked by their black coworkers. Nevertheless, the hits continued, Isaac Hayes' triple-platinum "Hot Buttered Soul" and "Shaft" among them.

In the early 1970s, success went to Stax's head. In June and December 1973, Elvis Presley turns the spotlight at the famous Stax studio in Memphis. No Stax staff were allowed on the premises except the Stax musicians. Only Stax's Larry Nix was on-hand to make acetates from the tapes for Elvis. Although the first sessions were marred by both technical problems and the failure of Elvis' new publishing companies to deliver enough new quality material, several great recordings emerged. Over twelve days at Stax Records in the decaying midtown section of Memphis that he knew so well, Elvis Presley once again it all together, blues, rhythm and country.

Unfortunately, those feelings would not last. The more success the company earned, the more difficulty Stax seemed to have managing its business. Old partnerships dissolved, and many of the Stax people moved away from Memphis. Stax Records filed for bankruptcy in 1975.

Bizarre signing decisions were made, and in January 1976 the label went bust. Berkeley, California, based Fantasy Records, home of the Stax, influenced Creedence Clearwater Revival, bought the rights to the back catalog and kept the Memphis Sound alive for a new generation of soul fans, but in the 1980s Soulsville U.S.A. was torn down.

Through much of the 1980s and 1990s, Stax activities focused exclusively on re-issues. Because Atlantic owned (and still owns) most of the Atlantic-era Stax master recordings released up to May 1968, the Atlantic-controlled material has been reissued by co-owned Rhino Records or licensed to Collectables Records.

Fantasy, meanwhile, also repackaged and re-released the Stax catalogue it controlled, on the Stax label. Because Fantasy owned the non-master recordings of all Stax material, for several of its Stax compilations, Fantasy issued alternate takes of the Stax hit recordings in place of the master recordings owned by Atlantic.

In 1988, Fantasy issued the various artists album Top of the Stax, Vollume 1: Twenty Greatest Hits. This marked the first time an album was issued with both Atlantic-owned and Fantasy-owned Stax material; it was issued by arrangement with Atlantic Records. A second volume was released by Fantasy in 1991.

In 1991, Atlantic issued The Complete Stax/Volt Singles 1959-1968, a nine-disc compact disc boxed set containing all of the Atlantic-era Stax a-sides. This release earned Grammy Award nominations for boxed-set producer Steve Greenberg in the Best Historical Album category and for writer Rob Bowman in the Best Album Notes category. The boxed-set was certified gold in 2001, the largest collection of CDs ever to have earned that certification. Fantasy followed their lead and issued volumes two and three of the Complete Stax/Volt Soul Singles series in 1993 and 1994, respectively. Volume Two compiles the Stax/Volt singles from 1968 to 1971, while Volume Three completes the collection with the singles issued from 1972 to 1975. Volume Three earned a Best Album Notes Grammy Award for Rob Bowman. In 2000, Fantasy issued a boxed set titled The Stax Story, which includes pre-1968 material by arrangement with Atlantic.

After a decade of neglect, the Southside Church of God in Christ tore down the original Stax studio in 1989. Over a decade later the Stax Museum of American Soul Music was constructed at the site and opened in 2003. A replica of the original building, the Stax Museum features exhibits on the history of Stax and soul music in general, and hosts various music-related community programs and events.

JIM STEWART - is a former record company executive and producer who co-founded Stax Records. Born July 29, 1930 and on a farm in Middleton, Tennessee, Stewart moved to Memphis in 1948, after graduating from high school.

He worked at Sears, at First National Bank, and then was drafted into the United States Army. After serving for two years, Stewart returned to his job as a bank clerk in Memphis in 1953.

Stewart was a country fiddle player from Middleton, Tennessee. He moved to Memphis with musical ambition, joining the Canyon Cowboys while making his living as a bank employee.

His sister Estelle, who worked for another bank in Memphis, became an equal partner with Stewart in the Satellite label, launched in 1957 on the model of fellow Memphis label Sun Records. The fifth release on Satellite, ''Gee Whiz'' (1960) by Carla Thomas, became a huge national hit (number 5 rhythm and blues, number 10 pop) in 1961 after it was leased to Atlantic.

When the Mar-Keys’ instrumental “Last Night” became a national hit in 1961, it was discovered that there was another label with the same name in California. To avoid litigation, the Memphis-based Satellite became Stax (deriving from the names STewart and AXton).

By this time, after a tip from local producer Chips Moman, Stewart and Axton had taken over an old movie theater at East McLemore and College streets in Memphis. Neighborhood musicians began hanging around 932 East McLemore Avenue, including organist Booker T. Jones, guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald ''Duck'' Dunn and drummer Al Jackson, Jr. Thus, Stax acquired a peerless house band that also came to include the renowned Memphis Horns (Andrew Love, Wayne Jackson and Joe Arnold).

Stax signed such artists as Otis Redding, who recorded for the sister label Volt from 1962 until his death in 1967. A distribution deal with Atlantic Records resulted in the larger, New York-based company sending some of its premier soul acts to record at Stax. (That same deal also gave ownership of Stax’s master recordings to Atlantic, which became a sticking point when the deal came up for renewal in 1967.) Stewart, who was involved in many aspects of the company’s operation, also brought to the label local songwriters Isaac Hayes and David Porter. Hayes and Porter became Stax’s equivalent to Motown’s Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team. In 1965, Stewart made a key hire, appointing Al Bell - a popular black deejay from Washington, D.C. - Stax’s national sales director.

Stax thrived during the 1960s and early 1970s, generating an awesome string of soul and rhythm and blues hits with their bread-and-butter artists, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Carla Thomas, Booker T. and the MG’s, while breaking such acts as Eddie Floyd (''Knock On Wood'', ''Raise Your Hand''), Johnnie Taylor (''Who’s Making Love''), the Staple Singers (''I'll Take You There'', ''Respect Yourself''), Jean Knight (''Mr. Big Stuff''), the Emotions (''So I Can Love You''), Mel and Tim (''Starting All Over Again''”), the Soul Children ''I'll Be the Other Woman'') and William Bell (''I Forgot to Be Your Lover''. Even comedian Richard Pryor was a Stax artist, having been signed to the label’s Partee subsidiary. House songwriter and sideman Isaac Hayes became a star in his own right with a series of albums released on Stax’s Enterprise subsidiary, including the number 1 Shaft soundtrack.

Jim Stewart sold his interest in Stax to Al Bell in 1972, and the company continued until forced into bankruptcy in 1976. Interest in the label and its legacy were rekindled in the Nineties with the release of three massive box sets, comprising 28 CDs between them, that include every single released on Stax and its subsidiaries.

In April 2001, further recognition of Stax’s legacy came in the form of a groundbreaking for the Stax Museum of American Music and the adjoining Stax Academy and Performing Arts Center on East McLemore Avenue in Memphis. “It’s been a long time coming,” guitarist Steve Cropper noted with understatement.

The label begun by Jim Stewart back in the late Fifties is finally being recognized as a priceless institution that contributed substantially to America’s musical culture.

When Jim Stewart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, he sent his two granddaughters to the induction ceremony to accept the award on his behalf.

ESTELLE AXTON - was the co-founder, with her brother Jim Stewart, of Stax Records. Born on September 11, 1918 in Middleton, Tennessee, Estelle Stewart grew up on a farm. She moved to Memphis as a school teacher, married Everett Axton, and was working in a bank when, in 1958, her brother Jim Stewart asked for help to develop Satellite Records, which he had set up to issue recordings of local country and rockabilly artists. She convinced her husband that they should remortgage their house and, in 1959, joined Satellite as an equal partner. The following year, Axton and Stewart turned the Capitol Theatre, in a black Memphis neighbourhood on McLemore Avenue, into a recording studio and record shop, and began making hit records with predominantly black artists.

Satellite was forced to change its name after it was discovered that a Los Angeles label already owned the title, and it changed its name to Stax, taking its name from Axton and Stewart's surnames. Axton was actively involved with selecting and developing the artists on the label, who included Rufus Thomas, Otis Redding, Booker T & the MGs, and Isaac Hayes.

She sold her interest in the company in 1970. After the non-compete agreement expired, Axton formed Fretone Records whose biggest hit, "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees was licensed for distribution to RSO Records. In December, 2006, The Recording Academy announced that Estelle Axton would be honored with a Trustee's Award as part of the upcoming Grammys.

Estelle was the founder of the Memphis Songwriters Association in 1973. The Memphis Songwriters Association was formed in order to foster the education and advancement of local area songwriters. There was a focus on the development of the songwriting craft with the intentions of producing commercially viable songs and improving performance skills.

MSA has consecutively maintained membership for over 35 years. Estelle's formation of the Memphis Songwriters Association led to the motivation of many local songwriters and singer/songwriters publishing their original material. Some of these songs and artists met with some surprising success. Unfortunately, historical records are fragmented and scarce, however, there is a number of MSA alumni that could still tell the stories.

Estelle went on, with friend and founder of Moon Records, Cordell Jackson to work with the Music Industries of Memphis, later named the Memphis Music Association to assist in the development of local Memphis music as a global force once again. Their collaboration and guidance helped launch the first Memphis Demo Derby, the brainchild of PR Director Brett Hamilton, which was designed to present and showcase any and all Memphis musical talent to A&R reps, studio heads, producers and the like. The event was such a huge success, it continued for several years. Joe Savarin, founder of the Handy Awards, and Wanda Freeman of Tenant Laboratories lent a hand in spite of public opposition. The MMA was the umbrella organization for all Memphis music and still exists today.

The Memphis Songwriters Association is still consistently holding meetings, songwriter workshops, open mics, song critiques, and singer/songwriter showcase events to this day. Estelle Axton died of natural causes on February 25, 2004 at the age of 85.


TRUMPET RECORDS - was the first record company in Mississippi to achieve national stature through its distribution, sales, radio airplay and promotion. Willard and Lillian McMurry launched the label from their retail store, the Record Mart, at 309 North Farish Street, Jackson, Mississippi in 1950, and later converted the back room into a recording studio. The first releases by Mississippi blues legends Sonny Boy Williamson II, Elmore James, and Willie Love appeared on Trumpet in 1951.

Willard and Lillian McMurry, who were furniture dealers by trade, entered the record business by chance, when they acquired a stock of blues and rhythm and blues 78 rpm discs with the inventory of a hardware store they purchased at this site in 1949. They turned the building into the Record Mart when they discovered they had a ready-made market for blues and gospel records on Farish Street, which was already home to much of Jackson’s African American music and commerce. The Record Mart also came to serve as the headquarters for Diamond Record Company, Trumpet Records, Globe Music, and Globe Records.

On April 3, 1950, the McMurrys brought the St. Andrews Gospelaires into a local radio station (WRBC) for Trumpet’s first recording session. During the next three years, Trumpet utilized sixteen different studios, in Jackson and other cities, before Lillian McMurry began in-house recording, first at the McMurrys’ State Furniture Company at 211 South State Street, and then at Diamond Studio in this building. The primary artist on the Trumpet label was Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller), who had eleven records released between 1951 and 1955, the label’s final year of operation. The McMurrys continued to record country artists for their Globe label until 1956.

''Dust My Broom'' by Elmo (Elmore) James was the only Trumpet record to reach the national rhythm and blues charts of Billboard magazine (in April 1952), but other records by Williamson and Willie Love appeared on regional charts as far away as California and Colorado. Among other artists who recorded for Trumpet were bluesmen Jerry McCain, Big Joe Williams, Tiny Kennedy, Luther Huff, Arthur Crudup, Clayton Love, Wally Mercer, and Sherman Johnson; gospel groups such as the Southern Sons Quartette and the Blue Jay Gospel Singers; and country singers, including Lucky Joe Almond and Jimmy Swan.

Lillian McMurry, the creative force behind the label, was known for her sense of fairness and her meticulous accounting. For decades after the last Trumpet record was released, she continued to administer the company’s musical rights, taking legal action when necessary to hold other companies accountable for reissues and recordings of Trumpet material, and paying royalties to the original artists, songwriters, and their heirs. Lillian McMurry was elected to the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame in 1998. She died on March 18, 1999. Her husband Willard, who provided the backbone of support for their business ventures, died on June 7, 1996.

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