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Joe Johnson

June 16, 1992 OHC168 136 min.


Music industry executive. Born 1927. Started career in promotion for Columbia Records during the early 1950s. Worked for Gene Autry Enterprises and managed Gene Autry’s Golden West Melodies publishing firm during the mid-1950s. In 1957 co-founded Challenge Records with Autry, which Johnson later purchased. Chief Operating Officer and Chairman of the Board for Challenge/Four Star Record Company and Four Star Publishing Company.

Interview Summary

1992 June 16
(2 hours, 16 minutes)
Music industry executive Joe Johnson discusses the changes and continuities he has witnessed in the music industry during his long career. Discussion includes the country music audience; the growth of the country music industry; the country music star structure; the story behind “Here Comes Santa Claus”; the impact of Gene Autry on later performers; the evolving role of the producer; the role of independent labels; and comments on technological developments.

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