Subliminal Seduction: How Two Memphis Soul Men Defined R&B in the 1960s and Beyond

www.katecauthen.com Isaac Hayes' gold-plated Cadillac on display at the Stax Museum. Photo by Kate Cauthen. /// The long story is very long, but the short story goes something like this: Atlantic Records had been distributing Stax since 1961, and when the larger label was sold to Warner in 1967, it allowed Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton, along with new partner Al Bell, to renegotiate the terms of the agreement. During that time they discovered that Atlantic owned the rights to all previous masters, which infuriated Stewart in particular. In response, they did not re-sign with Warner and sold the company to Paramount Pictures/Gulf+Western. In the deal, Stax lost its entire back catalog, along with its biggest act, Sam & Dave. The deal benefitted none of the artists. Sam & Dave soldiered on, but they would never have another hit even close to what they had enjoyed with Stax. They broke up and re-formed several times through the 1970s, before Prater died in 1987. Porter and Hayes, meanwhile, lost their primary outlet, their best act — the other two sides of the least square square. They wrote a few more hits for the Soul Children, the Emotions, and Homer Banks (better known as a songwriter than as a recording artist), but nothing quite burned up the charts. Who knows what they might have accomplished together in the 1970s if Isaac Hayes hadn’t become the biggest star in the world. In 1969 Hayes recorded a solo album called Hot Buttered Soul, tracking the sessions at Ardent Studios in Midtown Memphis with members of the Bar-Kays and string arrangements by Motown’s Johnny Allen. It was his second effort, after his underperforming debut Introducing Isaac Hayes the year before, and Stax had few plans for the record. Hot... Sign In to Keep Reading

To view this content,

Join Today

or Sign In

The Benefits of Membership:

  • Limited-time FREE Feature Magazine Content
  • Exclusive access to members-only contests and giveaways
Click to Join

We've started a free American Songwriter membership. Click here to learn more.

1 2 3