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Fred Foster

November 15, 2000 OHC399 173 min.


Music industry executive. Born July 26, 1931. Founded Monument Records and Combine Music Publishing Company, 1958. Artists’ roster included Billy Grammer, Roy Orbison, and Dolly Parton. Songwriting credits include co-writer (with Kris Kristofferson) on “Me and Bobby McGee.”

Interview Summary

2000 November 15
(2 hours, 53 minutes)
Fred Foster, founder of Monument Records, recalls highlights from his career. Discussion includes his family history and childhood; memories of early country radio and attending a performance by Arthur Smith; early musical interests and influences; his start in the music business and his role in Jimmy Dean’s career; his early work as a record promoter for Schwartz Brothers; joining Mercury Records as a promoter and memories from a Patti Page promotion; his move from Mercury to J&F Distributors; the story behind Monument’s first hit, “Gotta Travel On” as recorded by Billy Grammer; experiences working in country promotion for Mercury during the mid-1950s; joining ABC Paramount as a record promoter; handling the distribution of “A Rose and a Baby Ruth”; signing Roy Orbison to Monument and recording some of his biggest hits, including “Only the Lonely” and “Running Scared”; and comments on issues related to getting records pressed and distributed.

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