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Starday Records was a record label producing traditional country music during the 1950s and 1960s.



The label was founded in Beaumont, Texas, by local businessmen Jack Starnes (Lefty Frizzell's manager) and Houston record distributor Harold W. Daily (better known as "Pappy"). The Starday name is a combination of Starnes' and Daily's names.[1]

Starday was the largest exclusively country label of the period and is renowned among record collectors for producing a level of pure, undiluted country music that was becoming increasingly rare on the major labels. Starday released the first major recordings of George Jones and country stars like the Willis Brothers, Dottie West, Dave Dudley, and Roger Miller. Comedienne Minnie Pearl released a number of records for the label. Several veteran country stars were also on Starday, including three former King Records artists: Cowboy Copas, Grandpa Jones, and longtime Gene Autry associate Johnny Bond. The label also featured several legendary country radio-based acts in the twilight of their careers, such as Lulu Belle and Scotty, Texas Ruby, and Moon Mullican, performers not likely of much interest to the big labels in the 1960s. The label may be best-known for the dozens of budget-priced compilation albums it released featuring artists on or at one time on the label.

Starday's most successful artist was perhaps Red Sovine, who scored a number of hits in the 1960s on the label. Starday also produced a series of classic anthologies of trucker records by various artists including Copas, Bond, Sovine, The Willis Brothers and bluegrass acts including Moore & Napier and Reno & Smiley. These LPs were renowned for their color covers shot at Nashville area truck stops with real rigs and shapely female models dressed as waitresses.

When Syd Nathan died in 1968, his label King Records was acquired by Hal Neely's Starday Company. Neely relaunched the label as Starday and King Records. The legendary songwriter duo Leiber and Stoller bought the label in 1970 but sold it soon afterwards to Lin Broadcasting, which in turn sold it to Tennessee Recording and Publishing Company, owned by Freddy Bienstock, Hal Neely, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who sold it in 1974 to Gusto Records.[2]

By the end of the 1960s, Starday's new product was limited and most of its recordings were reissues, many of them originally recorded or released on other small labels. The Starday label briefly made a strong comeback in the mid 1970s when Gusto Records' Red Sovine took his recitation song record "Teddy Bear" to number one on the Billboard country chart in 1976 using the Starday label, and even made the back of the pop chart. This record rose to #1 in seven weeks, the fastest rise to the #1 position for any 45rpm record released before or since.

Starday's greatest hits

Record Artist Year Billboard Country
"Why Baby Why" George Jones 1955 4
"What Am I Worth" George Jones 1956 7
"You Gotta Be My Baby" George Jones 1956 7
"Just One More" George Jones 1956 3
"Black Land Farmer" Frankie Miller 1959 5
"Family Man" Frankie Miller 1959 7
"Dear Mama" Merle Kilgore 1960 12
"Alabam" Cowboy Copas 1960 1
"Baby Rocked Her Dolly" Frankie Miller 1960 15
"Love Has Made You Beautiful" Merle Kilgore 1960 10
"Flat Top" Cowboy Copas 1961 9
"Sunny Tennessee" Cowboy Copas 1961 12
"Signed, Sealed, and Delivered" Cowboy Copas 1961 10
"Ragged But Right" Moon Mullican 1961 15
"10 Little Bottles" Johnny Bond 1963 2
"Goodbye Kisses" Cowboy Copas 1963 12
"Give Me 40 Acres" The Willis Brothers 1964 4
"Giddyup Go" Red Sovine 1966 1
"Giddyup Go Answer" Minnie Pearl 1966 9
"Phantom 309" Red Sovine 1967 9
"Bob" The Willis Brothers 1967 9
"Teddy Bear" Red Sovine 1976 1

See also


  1. ^ Tosches, Nick (2000). The Nick Tosches Reader, pp. 366-67. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306809699.
  2. ^ Kennedy, Rick, and McNutt, Randy (1999). Little Labels—Big Sound: Small Record Companies and the Rise of American Music, pp. 70-71. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253335485.

External links



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