Respect Yourself Stax Records and the Soul Explosion

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-11-12
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
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The story of Stax reads like a Greek tragedy-with a belated happy ending. A white brother and sister build a monument to racial harmony in blighted south Memphis during the Civil Rights Movement. The success they garner soon pits the siblings against each other, and the brother abandons his sister for an African-American partner. Under integrated leadership, Stax explodes as a national player until, like Icarus, the heights they achieve result in their tragic demise. They lose everything they've created. The sister bides her time, then quietly rises again. The sanctuary they all created-Stax Records-has since been erased from the earth, but the music has inspired countless others, and the original temple has been rebuilt as a museum. Set in the world of 1960s and '70s soul music, Respect Yourselfis a character-driven story of racial integration, and then of racial independence and black power. It's about music and musiciansIsaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, and Booker T. and the MG's, the label's interracial house band. It's about a small independent company's struggle to survive in an increasingly conglomerate-oriented world. And always at the center of the story is Memphis, Tennessee, an explosive city struggling through volatile years. Told by one of our leading music chroniclers, Respect Yourselfwill be the book to own about one of our most treasured cultural institutions and the city that created it.

Author Biography

Robert Gordon has been writing about Memphis music and history for thirty years and is the author of It Came from Memphis, Can’t Be Satisfied, The King on the Road, and The Elvis Treasures. He won a Grammy in 2011 for his liner notes to the Big Star box set Keep an Eye on the Sky. His film work includes producing and directing the documentary Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story for PBS’s Great Performances. Gordon lives in Memphis.

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