While the legacy of Stax Records rests heavily on the nearly 300 LPs and over 900 singles released, produced, or distributed by the label between 1957 and 1975, the company's graphic identity provides insight to the label's mission, music, politics, and personalities. After the Stax Records severed its business relationship with Atlantic Records in 1968, the label established itself as one of the most diverse, influential, and successful independent record labels of the 1960s and 1970s. From Isaac Hayes and the Staple Singers to the Goodees and O.B. McClinton, the Stax sound encompassed everything from Southern soul and R&B, to pop, country, jazz, blues, and psychedelia. Stax's talented group of art directors, marketers, and public relations staff designed, wrote, and sold it all through a variety of mediums. Taken as a whole, this collection of printed materials portrays a label growing from its simple, backstreet Memphis roots, to an international recording and marketing force.
This project, generously supported by the Grammy Museum Foundation, shares a portion of the vast archival holdings of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, located on the original site of Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Included in this collection are album cover artwork, concert posters, trade advertisements, and rare items from the archives that have yet to be shared with the public. Additionally, a complete run of the label's newsletter, Stax Fax, is presented here for the very first time, a critical guide to the political and cultural evolution that occurred at Stax after 1968.