Last month, Broadway.com reported that Concord Music Group and Stuart Benjamin intended to launch a musical about Stax Records, the Memphis record label that brought us the music of Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and more. Now, it looks as if th project is facing a setback. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Evergreen Media has announced plans to produce both a Stax film and a Broadway musical, based on Robert Gordon’s book Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion.
Evergreen has filed a lawsuit claiming that Concord has acquired the wrong rights to bring their project to the stage. They claim that Concord has the rights to the Stax sound recordings, but not the publishing rights. Evergreen, headed by Tony Deorsa-Grund, has partnered with Gordon and Rondor Music. The lawsuit also states that Rondor holds the exclusive rights to license publishing rights to the compositions in question.
In short, Concord would be unable to utilize the songs on stage, and Evergreen would be unable to use the original recordings. Evergreen intends to use new recordings with actors who can sing for both of their announced projects.
Stax Records was originally founded in 1957 under the name Satellite Records by Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton. Some of their greatest hits include Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” “Theme from Shaft” by Hayes, Shirley Brown’s “Woman to Woman” and Jean Knight’s “Mr. Big Stuff.”