Description: Violinist, Record producer, USA

Known For: Record executive for “Stax Records” 1957 – 1975

Instruments: Violin

Music Styles: Rock

Location: United States of America

Date Born: 29th July 1930

Location Born: Middleton, Tennessee, United States of America

Web Site: Biography from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame web site

Other Links: See below:



Jim Stewart

An American record executive.

Jim Stewart and sister Estelle Axton were the co-founders of Memphis-based Stax Records.

Stax and Motown were the two most important record labels in America in terms of bringing black music into the mainstream during the Sixties and Seventies.

Stax recorded some of the greatest acts in the history of soul music with acts that included

Otis Redding
Sam and Dave
Booker T. & the MG’s
Eddie Floyd
Johnnie Taylor
Carla Thomas
Wilson Pickett

Jim, Estelle was brought up in the county of Middleton, Tennessee. Always strongly interested in music, as a teenager, she had been a fan of pop music, played the organ and sung soprano in the family gospel quartet.

In 1941 she married Everett and moved back to Memphis.By this time she was married and had school aged children of her own. Jim twelve years younger, would later joined her in Memphis, where Estelle worked as a teller at the Union Planter’s Bank in Memphis.

Jim Stewart was born July 29, 1930 in Middleton, Tennessee.
Many Saturday nights he would listen to the Grand Ole Opry and try to ply along with it. Constantly practicing Stewart learned by ear. Eventually he and a friend from a band that played at local square dances.

In the spring of 1959 Stewart recorded his first black group, the Veltones. The Veltones’ “Fool in Love”/”Someday” was released in in the summer of 1959.

Axton again refinanced her house to get another $4000 of badly needed operating capital. As luck would have it, their next recording would provide their first hit.

They recorded a local disc jockey named Rufus Thomas, who had had a minor hit with Sun Records earlier called “Bearcat”.

A young piano player named Booker T. Jones lived in the neighborhood near the Stax studio, and started hanging around. He joined up with Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn from the Mar-Keys and with Al Jackson and they became the backbone of the “Stax Sound”.

In 1962 a 21 year old driver, Otis Redding happened to be their at arecording session.

He recorded a ballad he had written called “These Arms of Mine”. “These Arms of Mine” was released in 1962.

It made the charts in March of 1963 and in September of 1963, Otis came back into the Stax studio and recorded “Pain In My Heart” which became an even bigger hit.

Stax was unable to meet it’s payroll and a bankruptcy judge ordered it’s closing on January 12, 1976.

The Stax masters prior to 1968 are owned by Atlantic Records, but the Stax masters produced after the split with Atlantic are now owned by Fantasy Records of San Francisco.

Life and career

Raised on a farm in Middleton, Tennessee, Stewart moved to Memphis in 1948, after graduating from high school. He worked at Sears, at First National Bank, and then was drafted into the United States Army. After serving for two years, Stewart returned to his job as a bank clerk in Memphis in 1953.[1]

Stewart was a part-time fiddle player and joined a local country music group called the Canyon Cowboys. He worked days as a banker at Union Planters Bank. In 1957, Stewart launched his own record label, then called Satellite Records, which issued country music records. His sister, Estelle Axton, mortgaged her home to invest in her brother’s venture by buying an Ampex 300 tape recorder. In 1959, the label moved into the former Capitol Theatre in Memphis. The auditorium was converted to studio space and the stage converted to a control room. To save money, Stewart did not level the floor. This created unique acoustics, which showed up in the recordings made there. After Stax went bankrupt in 1976, Stewart kept a low profile and intensely protected his privacy. When he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, he sent his two granddaughters to the induction ceremony to accept the award on his behalf.