In the seventies and eighties, regional concert promoters handled all the fine details necessary to put on a good show. This industry has been consolidated to the point that the regional concert promoter is fairly extinct. Inside the Concert Files, we found letterheads from many concert promoters and other businesses. Learn more about this aspect of the business and appreciate another item lost to history: the artwork of the business letterhead.
Visit the Coliseum Collection in Dig Memphis to view all of the nearly 60 letterheads we have preserved, along with a brief synopsis of the company. Here are a few highlights.
Mid-South Coliseum Sky Blue
Letterhead from the Mid-South Coliseum regarding the upcoming concerts for the 1972 Mid-South Fair. Acts included Burl Ives, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, and Sonny and Cher. Also, this letterhead was used in the early years of the Mid-South Coliseum's operation and it immediately caught our eyes, so we used it for the overall design of our site.
Letterhead from Star Entertainment regarding an upcoming Pre-Labor Day Jam concert scheduled for September 2, 1979 in the Mid-South Coliseum. Star Entertainment promoted such acts as the Bar kays, the Commodores, Gap Band, the Jacksons, L.T.D., O’Jays, and Parliament. Star Entertainment was launched by Memphian Fred Jones, Jr. He also launched and promoted several concerts with Summitt Management. Fred Jones, Jr. served as a Board member for the Mid-South Coliseum and was the founder of the Southern Heritage Classic football game.
Sound Seventy Productions
Letterhead from Sound Seventy Productions regarding an upcoming Ike and Tina Turner concert scheduled for February 3, 1974 in the Mid-South Coliseum. Sound Seventy Productions was started by Joe Sullivan (signature included) in 1970. Prior to that, Joe Sullivan was a rock and roll disc jockey in the fifties and sixties in the Nashville area. Many rock concerts would bypass Nashville’s country-heavy scene. Joe Sullivan saw the opportunity and drew top acts to Nashville, eventually becoming a regional concert promoter and establishing a multi-armed Sound Seventy Corporation that included song publishing, record promotion, and merchandising.
Soul and Style Enterprises
Letterhead from Soul and Style Enterprises regarding an upcoming Isley Brothers concert scheduled for September 3, 1978 in the Mid-South Coliseum. Soul and Style Enterprises was an internal promotional company for the Isley Brothers. This letter references Memphian Fred Jones, founder of the Southern Heritage Classic football game, who promoted many concerts in the Coliseum over the years and eventually became a board member of the Coliseum.
Letterhead from Mid-South Concerts regarding an upcoming George Harrison concert scheduled for November 27, 1974 in the Mid-South Coliseum. Bob Kelley launched Mid-South Concerts in 1974 and promoted most concerts held in the Coliseum. In this letter, Bob Kelley is backing out of promoting the George Harrison concert in order to avoid conflict with San Francisco concert promoter, Bill Graham.
Letterhead from FM Productions regarding an upcoming George Harrison concert scheduled for November 27, 1974 in the Mid-South Coliseum. Legendary concert promoter Bill Graham launched FM Productions, a leading technical tour support company. While FM Productions provided technical support, it is also apparent that they would handle all promotions from time to time. Based on a letter from Bob Kelley of Mid-South Concerts dated September 30, 1974, it appears that Bob Kelley backed off of promoting this concert due to difficulties with Bill Graham. FM Productions then stepped in and managed the entire show. Dave Furano (signature included) managed Bill Graham’s Winterland Arena concert venue in San Francisco. Dave's brother, Dell, realized the merchandising capabilities surrounding concerts and they launched Winterland Productions. Dell Furano has been involved in concert merchandising ever since and essentially created the model.
Letterhead from Country Shindig regarding an upcoming Oak Ridge Boys concert scheduled for January 25, 1980 in the Mid-South Coliseum. Country Shindig was a concert promotion firm launched by C.K. Spurlock (signature included), who was a 2019 inductee into the National Sprintcar Hall of Fame. Spurlock used his connections in both NASCAR and country music to cross promote both industries. He brought such acts as Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, Oak Ridge Boys, and Kenny Rogers to the Coliseum.
Letterhead from Concert Express regarding an upcoming Merle Haggard concert scheduled for March 20, 1976 in the Mid-South Coliseum. Bob Eubanks of The Newlywed Game fame started Concert Express in 1972 and opted to focus solely on country acts, bringing Merle Haggard to the Coliseum on several occasions. This was not Bob Eubanks’ first foray into concert promoting. In 1967, Bob Eubanks along with Jim Rissmiller and Steve Wolf started Concert Associates and they promoted the first Beatles US tour.
Visit the Coliseum Collection in Dig Memphis to view all of the nearly 60 letterheads we have preserved, along with a brief synopsis of the company.