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Stax Records Founder Jim Stewart Dead at 92

Stax Records Founder Jim Stewart Dead at 92

Estelle Axton and Jim Stewart (Image: Charlie Gillett Collection)
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Jim Stewart (Image: Stax Museum)

MEMPHIS (CelebrityAccess) – Jim Stewart, the founder of STAX, the Memphis-based recording studio and record label, died Monday (December 5) while in hospice. His death was confirmed by his friend – Memphis Hall of Fame producer and songwriter David Porter. He was 92.

Stewart was born on July 29, 1930, in Middleton, TN, and founded Satellite Records in 1957. His sister Estelle Axton soon joined him, and the label was called STAX, a combination of their names. Stax introduced soul artists such as Otis Redding, Booker T. & the M.G.s, and Isaac Hayes.

The label produced such recordings as Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” and “Respect,” Sam and Dave’s “Soul Man” and “Hold On! I’m Comin’,” Eddie Floyd’s “Knock on Wood,” Booker T. & the MG’s’ “Green Onions,” the Bar-Kays’ “Soul Finger,” and Carla Thomas’ “B-A-B-Y.” He was inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, but in keeping with a low profile, he sent his granddaughter to accept the honor on his behalf.

“What he and his sister meant to American and Soul music that would be recorded is undeniable. Jim Stewart was a conduit for the music and culture that affected music all over the world,” said Porter.

The original Stax recording studio was torn down in 1989 after years of neglect. The not-for-profit Stax Museum of American Soul Music was opened on the original site in 2003. Estelle Axton died February 24, 2004, at age 85.

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