Starday was the largest exclusively country label of the period and is renowned among record collectors for producing a level of pure, undiluted country music that was becoming increasingly rare on the major labels. Starday released the first major recordings of George Jones and country stars like the Willis Brothers, Dottie West, Dave Dudley, and Roger Miller. Comedienne Minnie Pearl released a number of records for the label. Several veteran country stars were also on Starday, including three former King Records artists: Cowboy Copas, Grandpa Jones, and longtime Gene Autry associate Johnny Bond. The label also featured several legendary country radio-based acts in the twilight of their careers, such as Lulu Belle and Scotty, Texas Ruby, and Moon Mullican, performers not likely of much interest to the big labels in the 1960s. The label may be best-known for the dozens of budget-priced compilation albums it released featuring artists on or at one time on the label.
Starday's most successful artist was perhaps Red Sovine, who scored a number of hits in the 1960s on the label. Starday also produced a series of classic anthologies of trucker records by various artists including Copas, Bond, Sovine, The Willis Brothers and bluegrass acts including Moore & Napier and Reno & Smiley. These LPs were renowned for their color covers shot at Nashville area truck stops with real rigs and shapely female models dressed as waitresses.
When Syd Nathan died in 1968, his label King Records was acquired by Hal Neely's Starday Company. Neely relaunched the label as Starday and King Records. The legendary songwriter duo Leiber and Stoller bought the label in 1970 but sold it soon afterwards to Lin Broadcasting, which in turn sold it to Tennessee Recording and Publishing Company, owned by Freddy Bienstock, Hal Neely, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who sold it in 1974 to Gusto Records.
By the end of the 1960s, Starday's new product was limited and most of its recordings were reissues, many of them originally recorded or released on other small labels. The Starday label briefly made a strong comeback in the mid 1970s when Gusto Records' Red Sovine took his recitation song record "Teddy Bear" to number one on the Billboard country chart in 1976 using the Starday label, and even made the back of the pop chart. This record rose to #1 in seven weeks, the fastest rise to the #1 position for any 45rpm record released before or since.
|"Why Baby Why"||George Jones||1955||4|
|"What Am I Worth"||George Jones||1956||7|
|"You Gotta Be My Baby"||George Jones||1956||7|
|"Just One More"||George Jones||1956||3|
|"Black Land Farmer"||Frankie Miller||1959||5|
|"Family Man"||Frankie Miller||1959||7|
|"Dear Mama"||Merle Kilgore||1960||12|
|"Baby Rocked Her Dolly"||Frankie Miller||1960||15|
|"Love Has Made You Beautiful"||Merle Kilgore||1960||10|
|"Flat Top"||Cowboy Copas||1961||9|
|"Sunny Tennessee"||Cowboy Copas||1961||12|
|"Signed, Sealed, and Delivered"||Cowboy Copas||1961||10|
|"Ragged But Right"||Moon Mullican||1961||15|
|"10 Little Bottles"||Johnny Bond||1963||2|
|"Goodbye Kisses"||Cowboy Copas||1963||12|
|"Give Me 40 Acres"||The Willis Brothers||1964||4|
|"Giddyup Go"||Red Sovine||1966||1|
|"Giddyup Go Answer"||Minnie Pearl||1966||9|
|"Phantom 309"||Red Sovine||1967||9|
|"Bob"||The Willis Brothers||1967||9|
|"Teddy Bear"||Red Sovine||1976||1|