Stax Records Logo T-Shirt

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Stax Records is an American record label founded in 1957, originally based in Memphis, Tennessee. It was a major factor in the creation of Southern soul and Memphis soul music. Stax also released gospel, funk, jazz, and blues recordings. While renowned for its output of African-American music, the label was founded by two Caucasian siblings and business partners, Jim Stewart and his sister Estelle Axton. It featured several popular ethnically integrated bands (including the label's house band, Booker T. & the M.G.'s) and a racially integrated team of staff and artists unprecedented in that time of racial strife and tension in Memphis and the South.

Following the death of Stax's biggest star, Otis Redding, in 1967, and the severance of the label's distribution deal with Atlantic Records in 1968, Stax continued primarily under the supervision of a new co-owner, Al Bell. Over the next five years, Bell expanded the label's operations significantly, in order to compete with Stax's main rival, Motown Records in Detroit. During the mid-1970s, a number of factors, including a problematic distribution deal with CBS Records, caused the label to slide into insolvency, resulting in its forced closure in late 1975.

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