Shelby Singleton was the man behind many careers. He signed Roger Miller to Smash after Miller's failed tenure on Starday and RCA. The next thing everyone knew, Miller was a multi-Grammy winner and king of everything (including the road). Singleton signed Jeannie C. Riley and gave her a Tom T. Hall song, "Harper Valley P.T.A.," that became part of American culture to the point where the song spawned a television series that starred Barbara Eden. He also ran Sun Records from 1969.
Shelby Singleton died Wednesday, October 7, after a brief battle with brain cancer.
Singleton had been one of the panelists at the 26th annual International Country Music Conference in May (along with his longtime friend Jerry Kennedy) at the Quonset Hut, where he regaled the attendees with stories of his career and the numerous acts he had produced over his long career. Singleton also thought nothing of bringing black artists to Nashville and recording them with a mixed session of white and black performers -- at a time when the nation outside the studio walls was in the midst of turmoil over racial division.
Shelby Singleton at the Quonset
Hut at ICMC, May 22, 2009
Shelby Singleton was 77.