Stax Records has revolutionized the music industry and its artists. Stax Records was a major factor in the making of southern soul music and created many of the sounds that we hear today. The artists that signed with Stax created albums with gospel, jazz, funk and blues influences that many people had never heard before. Without Stax, southern soul music might have never gotten to be as popular as it has.
The record company originally began in Memphis Tennessee by brother and sister, Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton. Estelle was born September 11, 1918 and was twelve years older than Jim. She was raised in Middleton, Tennessee. She had always been very passionate about music and in her teenage years she played the organ and sang the soprano parts in the family gospel quartet.[i] In 1935, she came to Memphis at the age of sixteen to get her teaching certificate. She went to Memphis State University and met the man who would later become her husband, Everett Axton. A year1ater, she came back to Middleton and started teaching there. She would eventually become her brother's first grade teacher.[ii] In 1941, she married Everett Axton and returned to Memphis. At this time, she had begun raising her own children and family. Estelle was working as a teller at the Union Planters Bank in Memphis. [iii]
She stayed at home for approximately ten years raising her two children before starting work at the Union Planters Bank in 1950.[iv] She continued to work at the Planters Bank until 1961 when she opened the Satellite Record Shop which is the original name of Stax Records. [v]
Jim Stewart was born on July 29, 1930 in Middleton, Tennessee, like his sister. His parents Ollie and Dexter Stewart were farmers and lived a rural life.[vi] Jim’s father bought him his first guitar at the age of ten and learned to play by ear.[vii] Later on, he and a friend created a small band that would perform at local events and dances.[viii]
After Jim graduated from...