Record Executive, Producer, Performer, Educator
Born James Staton Foglesong, Lundale, West Virginia. Attended public schools, South Charleston, W.Va. Veteran, World War II: 3 years, 4 months with 10th Armored Division, U. S. and Europe. Bachelor of Music, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York. Voice Major. Graduated "With Distinction", Class of 1950.
As a professional singer, performed in most types of music as a soloist, chorister or background singer. With wife, Toni, also a singer, toured six months with Fred Waring's Festival of Song (1952-53). Worked with such names as Arturo Toscanini, Robert Shaw, Walter Schumann, Ray Charles, and Howard Barlow in concerts, television and Broadway. As a background (studio) singer, appeared on hit records with such artists as Neil Sedaka, Connie Francis, Al Martino, Dion and the Belmonts, Connie Francis, the Four Lads, Bobby Scott, Timi Yuro, Guy Mitchell, Rosemary Clooney and Art Mooney.
Joined Columbia Records in New York City, September, 1951, as a Musical Assistant in the Engineering Department to assist in the transfer of Columbia's massive library of 78 rpm discs to tape and the 3-year-old long playing record. Started producing records in 1953, working with such artists as the Cleveland Symphony, Roy Hamilton, Robert Goulet, Julie Andrews, Lester Lanin and his Orchestra, Al Hirt, Ed Ames, Sergio Franchi, Bobby Vinton, Ames Brothers, Joe Williams, Miriam Makeba and the Norman Luboff Choir.
Produced for RCA Records in New York from 1964 - 1970, working under the legendary record executive, Steve Sholes. Moved to Nashville, December, 1970, to head Gulf and Western Industries' Dot Records. Named President in 1973 after resurrecting label to its prestige of earlier years with artists such as Roy Clark, Donna Fargo and Hank Thompson. After American Broadcasting Corporation's purchase of Dot in 1974, signed Barbara Mandrell, the Oak Ridge Boys, Freddy Fender, Don Williams and John Conlee. ABC/Dot became one of country music's most successful independent labels of all time, challenging the "Big Four" (RCA, CBS, Capitol and MCA), often, for an equal portion of the charts. MCA Records purchased ABC labels in 1979. Became first "President" of major label in Nashville. Merger linked ABC roster with country stalwarts Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and Conway Twitty.
Significant signings at MCA were George Strait, Reba McEntire, Terri Gibbs and Lee Greenwood. Joined Capitol Records as President of Nashville Division in 1984. Signings at Capitol included Garth Brooks, Sawyer Brown, Tanya Tucker, Suzy Bogguss, T. Graham Brown and Marie Osmond. Presented the Nashville Entertainment Association's "Master Award" which recognizes "those individuals who pioneered the "Nashville Sound" and who brought Nashville international acclaim, prestige and respect as an entertainment center." Presented the "Bridge Award" by Leadership Music for "outstanding commitment and leadership in connecting Nashville's business and music communities."
Recipient of Country Music Association's Founding President's Award. Former Chairman, Board of Directors, Country Music Association (two terms). Former Chairman, Board of Directors, Country Music Foundation (two terms). Board member and former President, W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School. Board member, Leadership Music. Currently: Director, Music Business, Trevecca Nazarene University since 1999. Adjunct Professor, Blair School of Music (Vanderbilt University) since 1991.