Stax Records set its sights on the pop industry today (November 26, 1966), with the launch of Hip Records.
Hip Records was supposed to complement the already successful Stax Records and Volt Records labels, with the intention of carrying Memphis into the world of pop music.
Up until this point, Stax had focused solely for the black music market with artists like Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Booker T. and The MG’s, Johnnie Taylor and others.
Artists signed to the label included Tommy Burke and The Counts and English singer Sharon Tandy.
Stax Records launched the hit record label to be more competitive in England, where Stax releases were very popular.
“The European R&B fan has more than just that average listeners interest in the music. They want to know more about the artist in the sidemen on all the sessions,” Stax owner Jim Stewart said during an interview.
Unfortunately, Hip Records never had a chance to get off the ground, due to lack of leadership surrounding the label.
According to “Soulsville U.S.A.,” none of the artists on the label were affiliated with Stax and were simply experimental projects brought to the label.
“We were cutting The Goodies when there were groups like Led Zeppelin out there,” said Stax executive John Fry. “We were trying to cut hit singles when pop music was all in albums. I just don’t think we had a caliber act.”
In total, 12 sides were released by Hip Records.