Sunday, August 03, 2014

Gary Talley of the Box Tops

The Box Tops

The Box Tops

From the site:

“The Letter” is of course your best known song.  How’d you come to do it?

It was our first recording session. We had a manager who was a deejay, Roy Mack, and he wanted to cut some songs on us for regional distribution or to sell at gigs. We were called the DeVilles, the Box tops was a name our manager thought of. Wayne Carson, who wrote ”The Letter”  – it says Wayne Carson Thompson on the record, but he goes by Wayne Carson – he was a writer from St. Joe, Missouri. He was in his late twenties and we were all teenagers. He had come to the studio before and wanted to get his songs demoed. He had four songs on a tape and “The Letter” was just the one we liked the best. We didn’t have a record deal, we were just doing a little demo. And Roy Mack was probably thinking if it sounds good we could release it regionally.

We were expecting [producer and American Sound Studios owner] Chips Moman to be there, but Dan Penn showed up instead and it was a good thing he did. Chips was a great producer, but Dan was just a totally unique guy. Then Larry Uttal from Bell Records came to the studio a few weeks after “The Letter” was cut. I think he came to hear something Chips had on Sandy Posey. She’d had a couple of hits and was on Bell Records. Larry Uttal heard the tape of “The Letter” and he just flipped. And all of a sudden we had a record deal. We were still playing as the DeVilles, but after the record was released we changed the name to The Box Tops when the record started going up the charts. We were just dumbfounded.

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