In 1964, as the nation’s record charts were awash with British product ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, the Memphis recording scene was hanging in there. When you look at the Billboard chart from April 4, 1964, The Beatles had the top five songs in the US. The following week, the 11th, 14 of the 100 spots were taken up with Beatle songs released on five different labels. But a closer look at that chart brings up some old familiar names.
Flush with the success of their first top-ten single, “Gee Whiz” by Carla Thomas, the focus of Jim Stewart and the folks at Satellite Records was on cashing in with a follow-up album. Carla was off attending Tennessee State, so there was much back-and-forth between Memphis and Nashville as Carla learned to juggle Freshman English 1010 with a non-credit hands-on lab in applied pop star studies. In the background of this flurry of activity lurked the single which would not only set the direction of the emerging label’s sound, but also force it to change its name.