When Atlantic Records took an interest in what was happening in Memphis at Stax, an intriguing comparison of the greenness of grasses took place. When it came to making records, there was a New York way, and there was a Memphis way.
You could probably fill the Mid-South Coliseum with the folks who say they saw Jimi Hendrix play the Ellis Auditorium in April, 1969. The spectacle of the left-handed guitarist who played an upside-down right-handed guitar did not disappoint the folks who plunked down their 3, 4, 5, or 6 dollars for a seat in one of the two
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.
In 1960, after three years of trying, Satellite Records finally launched a release that hit the charts, the single “Cause I Love You.“ Everyone was giddy with success. The world’s oldest teenager, Rufus Thomas, was back on the charts again, wailing the smash tune as a duet with his daughter Carla. Satellite owner Jim Stewart’s wild idea of running a recording studio and starting a record label seemed to be paying off. Jim’s sister, Estelle Axton, was happy because there was cash to make those second-mortgage payments for the loan she took out to put her bank-teller brother in business.