MEMPHIS, Tenn. In an unparalleled celebration of Stax Records’ 50th anniversary, the heart and soul of the legendary label’s lineup will reunite onstage for "50 Years of Stax: A Concert To Benefit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music." The event will be held Friday, June 22 at Memphis’ Orpheum Theater at the foot of Beale Street.
Early artist confirmations include Isaac Hayes, Booker T & the MGs (featuring Steve Cropper & Duck Dunn), Eddie Floyd, William Bell, Mavis Staples, the Soul Children, the Reddings (honoring the legacy of their father Otis Redding) and special guest star Angie Stone. Additional Stax stars and special guests will be announced shortly.
Founded by Jim Stewart (the "ST") in 1957, and co-owned by Estelle Axton (the "AX"), Stax’s contribution to popular music, both sonically and socially, continues to be felt to this day. Stax, a racially integrated label in a then notoriously segregated city, released hit after hit from such seminal soul artists as Otis Redding, Booker T & the MGs, the Bar-Kays, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, the Staple Singers, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, and William Bell amongst many, many others. The Stax studio, in a cavernous former theatre with a sloping floor, featured an atypical layout with no directly parallel surfaces where soundwaves would "ping pong" around the room, resulting in a very live, reverberant sound. The Stax studio sonics-- combined with the prominent use of horns, a heavy gospel influence, uniquely emotional vocal deliveries, and a delayed backbeat-- resulted in what came to be recognized as the "Stax Sound."
The Stax Sound defined such classic compositions as "(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay," "Respect Yourself," "Hold On I’m Comin’," "Mr. Big Stuff," "Soul Man," "Green Onions," "Knock on Wood" and "I’ll Take You There."
This year, on Stax’s 50th anniversary, Concord Music Group announced the relaunch of Stax Records as the creative home for present-day soul stars (Angie Stone, Soulive, Lalah Hathaway and Leon Ware), alongside heritage artists such as Isaac Hayes, who has now returned to the label home of his hits. Throughout the year Stax is participating in a reissue campaign that includes the just released "Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration" 2 CD Deluxe Box, new individual artist "Best Of" CDs, and many rare or currently unavailable Stax albums, from such artists as Carla Thomas, the Staples Singers, Booker T and the MGs, Isaac Hayes and much more.
Proceeds from the Orpheum show will benefit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the world’s only soul music museum, located at the site of the old Stax headquarters on Memphis’ historic McLemore Avenue. The museum’s labyrinth of exhibits-- including an award-winning introductory documentary film, an authentic 100-year-old Mississippi Delta church that was home to the gospel roots of soul music, original studio equipment, costumes, artwork and Isaac’s Hayes pea*****-blue Cadillac--promote and preserve the legacy of American soul music and its contributions internationally.
A limited number of Golden Circle tickets to the event will be available for $1,000 each. Golden Circle admission will include VIP orchestra seating at the Orpheum, VIP parking and shuttle service, a pre-show private party at the Orpheum Broadway Club, a gala after party at the Gibson Lounge featuring performances by Stax artists and friends, a private celebrity tour of the Museum, the 50th Anniversary Stax CD box set, a lithographed poster, and a commemorative Stax T-shirt.
According to Deanie Parker, former president of the Soulsville Foundation as well as an employee of Stax Records from 1963-75: "These masterful performers are legendary, and they found their fame in Soulsville USA - Memphis. I’ve got an intuition that Memphis is going to celebrate Stax Records this June 22nd like there’s no tomorrow."
Isaac Hayes, a key artist both in Stax’s past and future, adds: "I am excited to be part of this concert . . .it will be like old times!""
Tickets for the "50 Years of Stax" show go on sale on Monday, May 7, and may be purchased at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com).
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