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Jim Stewart


1930

Jim Stewart is born in Middleton, Tennessee.

1957

Jim Stewart borrows some recording equipment and learns the basics of running a small independent label from his barber, Erwin Ellis.

1958

Jim Stewart launches Satellite Records, the precursor of Stax Records, in Memphis. Satellite’s first release is “Blue Roses,” a country and western song by Fred Blyer.

1961

Jim Stewart’s Satellite label has its first hit with Carla Thomas’s “Gee Whiz” (#5 R&B, #10 pop), which is quickly picked up for national release by Atlantic Records.

1961

“Last Night,” by the Mar-Keys enters the national charts, where it will peak at #3 pop, #2 R&B. It is the last single released on Jim Stewart’s Satellite Records, which thereafter becomes Stax Records when it comes to light there is another Satellite Records in California.

1962

Stax Records has its first #1 hit with “Green Onions,” by Booker T. & the MG’s, which tops the R&B chart for four weeks. It peaks at #3 on the pop chart.

1962

The first album on Stax Records – ‘Green Onions,’ by Booker T. & the MG’s – is released.

1968

Memphis recording studios are generating $30 million a year. Two-thirds of the business is attributed to Stax Records.

1968

“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” by Otis Redding, reaches #1 for the first of four weeks. Recorded three days before Redding’s death in a plane crash, it is the biggest hit from the Stax Records label group, appearing on Volt.

1968

After unsuccessfully negotiating a new contract with Atlantic Records, Jim Stewart sells Stax Records to Gulf + Western.

1970

Jim Stewart and partner Al Bell purchase Stax Records back from Gulf + Western, determined to run it themselves.

1971

Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from ‘Shaft’” becomes the second Stax single to top the national charts.

1972

The Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” becomes the third Stax single to top the national charts.

1972

Jim Stewart sells his interest in Stax Records to Al Bell, the company’s national sales director and de facto chief.

1976

A bankruptcy judge orders the closing of Stax Records.

1977

Stax Records’ assets and master recordings are sold to the Berkeley, California-based Fantasy Records.

1978

The final single released on the Stax label, the Bar-Kays’ “Holy Ghost,” enters the R&B chart, where it will reach #9.

1991

The Complete Stax-Volt Singles, 1959-1968, a nine-CD box set, is released.

1993

The Complete Stax-Volt Singles, Vol. 2 is released

1995

The Complete Stax-Volt Singles, Vol. 3 is released

2001

Ground is broken on the Stax Museum of American Music in Memphis.

2002

Jim Stewart is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the seventeenth annual induction dinner. Sam Moore and Steve Cropper are his presenters.

Jim Stewart