Jim Stewart, Founding father of Stax Records, Dies at 92

Stax Records founder Jim Stewart

Jim Stewart

Concord Stax API Carrier Collection

Jim Stewart, the founding father of Stax Records, the enduring Memphis, TN label that launched the careers of Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, the Bar-Kays and lots of others, and formed the sound of soul music, died Monday (Dec. 5) on the age of 92.

Stax Records (previously Satellite) was based in 1957 by sibling Stewart and Estelle Axton, and would go on to set off the “Soul Explosion,” a motion that rumbles on to at the present time.

Born July 29, 1930, in Middletown, TN, Stewart relocated to Memphis as a younger man. He served for 2 years within the armed forces, then tried his hand at music.

Playing in a band wasn’t his sturdy go well with, however Stewart would forge a house and profession with music. An allrounder, he was a producer and engineer within the studio, a file label govt, a promotions man on the go, and, importantly, a crew participant.

As a producer, he oversaw classes for Carla Thomas’ “Gee Whiz” (1961), Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin’” (1966) and Rufus Thomas’ “Walking the Dog” (1963), and labored on such albums as Booker T. & The M.G.’s Green Onions (1962), Redding’s Pain in My Heart and Albert King’s Born Under a Bad Sign (1967).

Stax Records — a mixture of the primary two letters of the house owners’ final names — would lease the deserted Capitol Theater on McLemore Avenue and, from there, make music historical past.

“Today we lost an important piece of American music history,” feedback Michele Smith, vp of property & legacy model administration at Craft Recordings and Stax Records.

Stewart’s legacy “will live on through the Stax Records label that he founded, and the artists, musicians, and fans worldwide that love Stax music. I’m not sure if he ever realized the immense impact that he had on soul music across the globe, and he will be sorely missed. Our condolences go out to his friends and family, especially his children and grandchildren.”

The “Soul Explosion” and the Stax philosophy “wasn’t just about penetrating the market with as much music as possible, it was also about releasing the best music possible,” wrote Billboard in 2019, as Stax celebrated a milestone anniversary.

In the segregated south, Stax was one thing of a creative oasis, an area for musicians to come back collectively and create.

Among the numerous artists who bagged hits on Stax and its Volt subsidiary in the course of the Sixties have been Rufus and Carla Thomas, Booker T. & the MGs, Sam and Dave, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, and Redding.

Following the premature demise of Redding in 1967, Stax would recalibrate and unearth a brand new recent crop of stars, together with Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, and the Dramatics.

Financial troubles would see Stax enter into involuntary chapter in 1975. Its output throughout a 15-year golden interval, nevertheless, would see Stax set up its popularity as a “critical” piece of “American music history,” reads a press release from the label, as “one of the most popular soul music record labels of all time – second only to Motown in sales and influence, but first in gritty, raw, stripped-down soul music.”

During that interval, Stax positioned greater than 167 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and 243 hits on the R&B chart, reads an official assertion from the label.

Today, the unique Stax property at East McClemore is dwelling to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, with the Stax Music Academy and Soulsville Charter School shut by, and lots of of its basic recordings stay on widespread tradition as samples.

In 2002, the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame celebrated Stewart’s profession with the Ahmet Ertegun Award. Also, HBO Documentary Films is claimed to be in manufacturing on STAX, a multiple-part documentary sequence exploring the legendary label.

Stewart is survived by his spouse Evelyn Stewart, sisters Estelle Axton and Mary Lucille McAlpin, three kids — Lori Stewart, Shannon Stewart and Jeff Stewart — and by grandchildren Alyssa Luibel and Jennifer Stewart.

Plans for a memorial are pending. In lieu of flowers, the household asks that donations be made to the Stax Music Academy, which goals to encourage younger individuals and improve their tutorial, cognitive, efficiency, and management expertise by using music.

Source: billboard.com

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