Shelby Singleton – Country Music Producer

Shelby Singleton

Shelby Singleton was a Country record producer and record label owner. In 1989 I sent him a demo tape of several songs I had written. .I had picked his name out of the Songwriter’s Market and didn’t really know who he was at the time. He was kind enough to personally write me back with comments and encouragement. I didn’t realize at the time that he was truly a player in the Country Music Industry. He invited me to stop in if I ever made it to Nashville. I wish I had. Thanks Shelby. Here’s his writeup from Wikipedia

Shelby Singleton was hired by the Shreveport, Louisiana branch of Mercury Records doing promotional work. He rose in the company until he was a record producer and executive. In 1960 he achieved first hit single, Brook Benton’s recording of “The Boll Weevil Song”, which became a #2 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the following year.[2] Singleton spent nine years at Mercury and its sister label Smash Records during which he was involved in producing many hit records, including “Walk On By”, Leroy Van Dyke; “Ahab the Arab”, Ray Stevens; “Wooden Heart”, Joe Dowell; and producing acts such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Roger Miller, Charlie Rich, Dave Dudley, and Brook Benton.[3]

In 1962 Singleton bought the master recording of “Hey Paula” by Jill and Ray, originally released on LeCam Records. He changed the duo’s names to Paul & Paula and issued the song on Mercury’s newly acquired label, Philips. The song spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1966, Singleton resigned from Mercury and formed several music labels, including SSS International and Plantation Records,[3] achieving his first #1 hit in 1968 with “Harper Valley PTA“. The following year he purchased Sun Records from Sam Phillips, including its rock and roll catalog. Singleton was on the nominating committee of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

Singleton was known to find talent in all parts of the country. For example, The Flatlanders were brought to his attention by freelance producer Royce Clark. In 1972 the Flatlanders traveled from Lubbock to Nashville to record with Clark for Singleton’s Plantation label. Singleton and Clark went on to work closely together in later years finding and recording undiscovered talent such as Ron.Daisley and The County Fair from New York, among others, for Singleton’s Plantation label.

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