Stax Records: Soulsville USA

Stax Records founded in 1957 was a major factor in the creation of Soul music.  The legacy of Stax Records is a unique one that spans nearly half a century. Stax Records is critical in American music history as it’s 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. In 15 years, Stax placed more than 167 hit songs in the Top 100 on the pop charts, and a staggering 243 hits in the Top 100 R&B charts. As Rev. Jesse Jackson observed, “Stax was not just a record company, it was sound. It was a piece of culture. It was a moment of conscience and experience of mankind. At the right time, it meant a lot to us. People still borrow heavily on the tradition of Stax and the lineage laid down by the very special genius of Al Bell.”

Musically, the influence of Stax Records is still vivid today in R&B, soul, rock, pop, jazz, hip-hop, and gospel music. Stax songs have been covered by the likes of Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, the Black Crowes, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the Blues Brothers, Salt ‘N Peppa, En Vogue, R. Kelly, D’Angelo, Willie Nelson, Cream, and numerous other bands and artists.

Stax created music that has reverberated throughout the world in many ways, and continues to play a major role in the music industry. It helped usher in a genre that the world came to love, and had a major impact on generations of music fans and artists.

Source:  Rob Bowman Soulsville USA: The Story of Stax Records, (2006)

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