Spotlight: Like Lena Zavaroni’s life, Stax was a tale of triumph & tragedy
It may not quite rank as the greatest commercial mistake of all time – Decca turning down the Beatles takes the title – but the coolest and most influential record label, Stax, knocking back Aretha Franklin for 10-year-old Lena Zavaroni is right up there.
It was in 1974 and the Memphis-based label was in its death throes, with songs like Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay – which celebrates the 52nd anniversary of its release this week – a thing of the past. Indeed, death had been its constant backbeat. Stax didn’t just lose what was left of its soul signing Zavaroni and putting out her risible album Ma He’s Makin’ Eyes At Me, but also its commercial pulse as its R’n’B following walked away.
This had been the home of WiIson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, house band Booker T & The MGs and, pre-eminently, Otis Redding. Taking on Zavaroni, in a desperate attempt at mainstream success, seemed to defile its past. Zavaroni, from Rothesay, died at the shockingly-young age of 35 after a troubled life of depression and anorexia. But it was the death of Redding, aged 26, a former oil well driller from Macon, Georgia in 1967, in a plane crashing into a freezing lake in Wisconsin, which set Stax on its way to inevitable bankruptcy eight years later…
Readers have not let the Herald get away with their fictional story which is what the above article is.
If you go and read the comments left by readers you will see that they are willing to call the Newapaper out for this work of fiction.
The fact that readers commented gives me hope for the fact that Lena Zavaroni’s large body of work will live on and that someday the truth will become known.