The Starday StoryThe House That Country Music Built

The Starday StoryThe House That Country Music Built

Nathan D. Gibson and Don Pierce

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9781604738308

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


This book is entirely dedicated to one of the most influential music labels of the twentieth century. In addition to creating the largest bluegrass catalog throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Starday was also known for its legendary rockabilly catalog, an extensive Texas honky-tonk outpouring, classic gospel and sacred recordings, and as a Nashville independent powerhouse studio and label. Written with the label president and co-founder, it traces the label’s origins in 1953 through the 1968 Starday–King merger. Interviews with artists and their families, employees, and the label’s president contribute to the stories behind famous hit songs, including “Y’all Come,” “A Satisfied Mind,” “Why Baby Why,” “Giddy-up Go,” “Alabama,” and many others. The book’s author’s research and interviews also shed new light on the musical careers of George Jones, Arlie Duff, Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, the Stanley Brothers, Cowboy Copas, Red Sovine, and countless other Starday artists. Conversations with the children of Pappy Daily and Jack Starns provide a unique perspective on the early days of Starday, and extensive interviews with the label’s president offer an insider glance at the country music industry during its golden era. Weathering the storm of rock and roll and, later, the Nashville Sound, Starday was a home to traditional country musicians and became one of the most successful independent labels in American history. Ultimately, this book is the record of a country music label that played an integral role in preserving America’s musical heritage.