A great indie label, and what Motown could have been. Stax was based out of a studio located in a record shop in Memphis. They
defined soul music in the 60's, with both their own releases and
several on Atlantic Records. Sam and Dave, Booker T. and the MG's,
Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding... The Big Chill
soundtrack for Southern yuppies? Maybe this, and beach music.

One of the most important record companies in history, Stax represented one of the two main strands in American black music (Motown was the other). Ironically but not untypically, the label was founded by a white guy, Jim Stewart, whose musical background was actually in country music.
Stewart originally came to Memphis when he was 18, entering the banking profession but also playing music in a local band. He made a couple of his own tape recordings, but got little or no interest from any of the local labels.
He formed his own label (Satellite) in 1957 and produced his own record and a couple of other releases. Stewart's sister, Estelle Axton, then took the brave step of mortgaging her home to help finance the purchase of an Amplex mono recorder and, after a one year stint in Brunswick, they set up operations in an old Memphis neighbourhood theatre - they rented the premises for $100 a month, pulled it apart and set up a control room on what used to be the stage area. They also divided the theatre in two, since the original building was too big to house the Amplex recorder. The front part of the building became the front of studio record shop, and Stax (Stewart and Axton) was born.

Stax artists:

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