Thursday, February 26, 2004

STAXOBIT: Estelle Axton, co-founder of Stax Records, has died at the age of 85. Known to artists on the label as Lady A, Estelle founded the label with her brother Jimmy Stewart, taking out a second mortgage to help fund the creation of what was originally called Satellite Records in 1957. A name change was forced by the existence of a California label of the same name, so STewart and AXton combined their names to create the brand that would launch Booker T and The MGs, Otis Reading, Sam and Dave and many others. The label was royally shafted by Atlantic who claimed ownership of all Stax's masters prior to the label's 1968 sale to Gulf and Western. Stax eventually closed in 1976, following a buy back lead by Stewart and a further piece of Major Label chicanery. Columbia Records reneged on a verbal agreement with the then head of Stax, Al Bell, regarding payment for distribution rights, which drove the label into bankruptcy.

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