b. Shelby Sumpter Singleton, 16 December 1931, Waskom, Texas, USA. Based in Shreveport, Louisiana, Singleton, worked as a record plugger for the Mercury Records label before becoming sales manager. He began producing country acts in the late 50s, and was responsible for bringing the Big Bopper and Johnny Preston to the company. Singleton’s later productions included Brook Benton and Clyde McPhatter, and in 1961 he assumed responsibility for Smash, Mercury’s subsidiary pop outlet. James Brown, Charlie Rich and Jerry Lee Lewis were three of his most prestigious signings. Shelby left the label in 1967, purchased the extensive Sun Records catalogue, and inaugurated a series of new companies, including Plantation (for country) and SSS International (for soul). ‘Harper Valley PTA’, a massive international hit for Jeannie C. Riley, established the former outlet, while the latter enjoyed success with Peggy Scott And Jo Jo Benson and Johnny Adams. Singleton remains active in the music industry, administering his wide and varied catalogue.
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