Shelby Singleton Jr.
(courtesy Dave Penny - firstname.lastname@example.org - May 24, 2005).
There is a very interesting interview
with SS in this month's Country Music People from his marriage to (and
management of) Margie Singleton when she was just 13, through his
association with Starday/Mercury and Smash and characters like Roger
Miller and Jerry Kennedy.
Of particular interest is the account of his purchase of the Sun
catalogue in 1969. It seems that Sam Phillips was then busy with Holiday
Inn and had no interest in his old label - indeed everybody including
Singleton's bank manager tried to persuade SS not to waste his money on
it - nevertheless he bought it for a steal (SS doesn't divulge exactly
how much - does anyone know?), but the canny Shelby was aware of a new
ABC-TV series from Johnny Cash and within weeks after the purchase he
had compiled and released Johnny Cash's "Original Golden Hits" volumes
one and two, had made licensing deals with interested record companies
all around the globe, and "had made back ALL the money I had paid within
Then when Elvis died in 1977 he rushed out the various bits and pieces
that he had found in the purchase as the LP "Interviews and Memories of
the Sun Years With Elvis" ("I had album covers ready within 24 hours of
his death...we sold 600,000...then RCA got an injunction against me to
stop sales. I agreed with them and paid a fee of $4000 and they went
The Million Dollar Quartet release worked out even better; RCA again
brought an injunction against SS, but this time he fought it - for 15
years - and finally made a deal that the now BMG could manufacture it
and market it, but they had to pay *him* a royalty because, in his
words, "I proved to them that I clearly owned 3/4 of it and the most
they could own was Elvis' part".
A good read with some nice old photos of him in the studio with the
likes of Margie, Ivory Joe Hunter, Jerry Kennedy and Patti Page.
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