Patsy sledd - we got a lotta love - see saw
Wynette's a striking woman, with an elegant neck, beautiful lips, and a stunning profile, but one with an extreme, elongated face set beneath feline, close-set eyes. Unimaginative types who don't savor esoteric looks might be dim-witted enough to consider her a tad homely. Hell, head-on Wynette looks like a Siamese cat in a wig hat. Not that Tammy was particularly vain. As she told Alanna Nash, "my neck's too long, my nose has a hump in it, my boobs are too saggy and the kids call me 'weenie butt' 'cause I have no rear end."
Home; Adam smith; capital asset; depreciation; durable ; economics; s; non-renewable resource; physical capital ; production; service; stock
Mega Records was founded in 1970 by Brad McCuen and Harry Pratt. McCuen had
worked for RCA since 1948 as a producer, A&R director, writer of liner notes, jazz coordinator, and
whatever else needed to be done at the time. He worked with many country artists and stars such as
Chet Atkins and Elvis Presley. In fact, he was instrumental in getting Elvis signed to RCA. McCuen was
surprisingly dismissed by RCA in 1969 and moved to Nashville, where he and Pratt set up Mega
Records and Tapes with financial backing from RPM, Inc., a diversified conglomerate. Originally, Bruce
Davidson was Vice President.
Mega's biggest splash came early in the label's history. McCuen signed a singer who had been recording for Columbia, but who had only moderate success. Her name was Jewel Fay "Sammi" Smith, a California native. She had started performing in clubs by the time she was 12. By the time she was 25 in 1968, she had her first chart hit, "So Long Charlie Brown, Don't Look For Me Around" [Columbia 44370], which reached #69 on the country charts. Two more singles reached the top-60, but she wasn't making much progress. McCuen and Harry Pratt, figuring they could use her smoky voice in a more commercial way, contacted her several times and finally persuaded her to sign with the fledgling Mega label.
Her first single for Mega was also the label's debut single, "He's Everywhere" [Mega 0001], released in August, 1970. It was her most successful single yet, reaching #25, and Mega put together an album of the same name. For her next single, McCuen chose "Help Me Make It Through the Night" [Mega 0015], a Kris Kristofferson song that had been recorded by several male artists, to little success. Smith had recorded it because she had met Kristofferson while at Columbia while he was working as a janitor. It proved to be a monster hit, reaching #1 on the country charts and #8 on the pop side. The song won Grammys for best song and best female vocal. Mega quickly renamed her first album for the bigger hit.
Sammi Smith turned out to be the mainstay of Mega Records, with fourteen more country chart records between 1971 and 1976. By 1973, she had relocated to the Dallas area, where she became part of the Willie Nelson-Waylon Jennings "Outlaw" movement. A lifetime smoker, she died of emphysema in 2005.
By 1971, Mega had signed country singer Mack Vickery, and his first album for the label was memorable, if for no other reason than the cover. Mack Vickery Live! At the Alabama Women's Prison was recorded at the Julia Tutweiler Prison for Women in Alabama, a nod to a minor trend started by Johnny Cash a few years earlier when he recorded albums at Folsom Prison and San Quenton. The cover, obviously posed with actresses, looks like the cover of some tawdry "Bad Women" book. Vickery had been recording for years to no avail when this album came out, and not surprisingly it didn't prove to be the turning point, either. A few years later, he finally made the country charts under a pseudonym, Atlanta James, with "That Kind of Fool" [MCA 40233], which reached #95. A couple of singles under his own name on Playboy records charted in 1977, but it was really his songwriting that set Mack Vickery apart. He wrote hits for many country stars, including George Strait's #1 hit "The Fireman." Mack died of a heart attack in 2004.
Mega signed several more acts of note in mid-1971. Bill Black's Combo, which had been without the late leader since 1965, produced several albums for Mega but no hits. More successful was the duo of Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan, who put five singles on the charts for Mega starting in the summer of 1971, the biggest hit being "Somewhere in Virginia in the Rain" [Mega 0046], which reached #15 on the country charts. Henson Cargill, who had earlier posted a #1 song with "Skip a Rope" for Monument, placed four singles on the country charts starting in July.
Near the end of the year, Mega signed a British instrumental group called Apollo 100, and released their techno version of Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring", titled simply "Joy" [Mega 0050] in December. It jumped on the pop charts on New Year's Day, 1972, and rode all the way to #6. Apollo 100 was made up of leader Tom Parker, Clem Cattini, Vic Flick, Jim Lawless, and Brian Odgers. By the time the second album came out later that year, Tom Parker was still featured, but the rest of the band was nowhere in sight.
Brad McCuen had much respect in the record business, including in the area of promotion. In January, 1972, McCuen signed a five-album deal with Bob Thiele, President of Flying Dutchman Records. Thiele was amicably taking his labels out from under the distribution of Atlantic Records in favor of independent distribution. The five albums would be part of the "Flying Dutchman Series" on Mega, and Mega started the M51-5000 series for these albums. The five "Flying Dutchman Series" albums were M51-5000-3 (by Larry Coryell, Pretty Purdie and the Playboys, Benny Goodman and Leon Thomas) and M31-1012 (by Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson). Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, a session drummer who in 1967 had a minor hit called "Funky Donkey," was at the time leading the band backing Aretha Franklin. The five albums were seen as an interim move by Thiele, and indeed after the five, Mega got no more Flying Dutchman product. Perhaps that was also because none of the five albums charted.
By April, 1972, Mega Records became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zemarc, Ltd., a Pennsylvania-based holding company with offices in Nashville. In new elections, Brad McCuen was elected label President with Bruce Davidson executive producer and A&R Director. Harry Pratt was elected Chairman of the Board. The Board of Directors also included Billy Walker and Ralph Emery. Lee Trimble was the National Sales Manager.
Mega signed a number of country artists in 1972. Ray Pillow chalked up three chart singles starting in February, 1972. Don Bowman, on the other hand, did not have chart success with Mega. Singer/pianist Patsy Sledd ( nee Patsy Randolph) had four country charters between 1972 and 1976, the highest charting being a remake of the Gene McDaniels tune "Chip, Chip" [Mega 1203], which made #33 in 1974. McCuen also signed a former pop top-10 artist, British vocalist Julie Rogers, but her comeback fizzled. An album of remakes by 1940s/1950s artist Phil Harris likewise failed to chart.
In August, 1972, Bruce Davidson left Mega to start his own company, Music Media. This didn't keep him far away, though, as he still was designing covers and writing liner notes for Mega. One of Davidson's brain children was the amusing cover of the second Apollo 100 album, wryly titled Master Pieces, which showed a framed painting of Rembrandt's "Man in a Gold Helmet" opposite a sitting nude. The eyes of the "man in the helmet" were retouched to show the man staring in shock at the woman's body.
In September, 1973, Mega Records broke ties with Zemarc and was sold to Zodiac Records of Torrance, California. Dave Bell took over the management of the company as President and Brad McCuen left. The distribution network set up by Mega was continued for a short time, but soon a new deal was struck with Pickwick. Not only did Pickwick distribute the label through . Records, but Pickwick bought in and Mega became "a Division of Pickwick International, Inc. of Woodbury, NY." A new series was started (the MLPS-600 Series) for this purpose. Albums that were still showing some sales action were reissued on the new series.
Brad McCuen certainly found other things to do. In fact, McCuen was a giant of the record industry. He was a founding member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, a charter member of the Country Music Association, and President of the Country Music Foundation (which operates the Country Music Hall of Fame). He donated his sound recording collection of over 25,000 recordings and numerous industry-related personal papers to the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University in 1997. He died in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 9, 2002.
Meanwhile, Mega Records under the Zodiac/Pickwick management team underachieved impressively, but managed to stay just afloat on the basis of a string of moderate hits by Sammi Smith. Her late-1975 top-10 country hit "Today I Started Loving You Again" resulted in the first album to make the charts in over two years. But it wasn't enough. In early 1976, Mega ran out of cash and the Mega imprint was discontinued. Sammi Smith signed with Elektra. Back-catalog material was released on Zodiac or Pickwick. Master tapes from Mega appeared on a number of reissue labels, including Pickwick and Springboard.
The Mega label throughout its life was yellow and red, with black print, although there were several variations. Early labels (far left) had the label name in red block letters under a red parabola with a full- color building in it. Around the bottom of the label was "A DIVISION OF RPM, INC." Promotional labels were white with black print (near left). Some early promo labels had the label name in red print instead of black. During the days when Mega was run by Zemarc, Inc., the notation about RPM, Inc. disappeared and "MEGA RECORDS AND TAPES INC. USA" appeared in small letters under the label name (far left). Production logos, including one for the Flying Dutchman albums, would also sometimes appear on the label (Young Blood is shown on the label at far left). After the switch to Zodiac/Pickwick, the label design changed to have the label name in red in a black field at the left side of the label for the 600 series (near left). These labels noted that the label was a Division of Pickwick International, Inc.
We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail . Both Sides Now Publications is an information web page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no association with Mega Records. Should you be interested in acquiring albums listed in this discography (which are all out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and follow the instructions found there. This story and discography are copyright 2010 by Mike Callahan.
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