Quinton Claunch


Oral History Information

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Hi Records

Quinton Claunch was a musical innovator who formed Hi Records in Memphis as well as the Goldwax label. He played guitar and bass professionally beginning in 1943 and can be heard on a number of recordings on the Sun label in the early to mid 1950s, including those by Carl Perkins and Wanda Jackson. When Quinton established Hi Records in 1957 he often played the role of producer, arranger, songwriter and bassist. The label’s first big hit, “Smokie Part 2” by Elvis Presley’s former bassist Bill Black was a milestone for Hi.  In 1964, Quinton started Goldwax, which specialized in soul and gospel music. In fact many music critics and historians have listed the James Carr single “The Dark End of the Street” as one of the best examples of early soul music. Quinton not only produced that song, but can also be heard playing bass. Over his career Quinton played a role in several artists first or biggest hits including O.V. Wright (“There Goes My Used To Be”), Syl Johnson (“Any Way The Wind Blows”), Ace Cannon (“Tuff”), Willie Mitchell (“Soul Serenade” and “20 75”), The Ovations (“Me and My Imagination”) and a then unknown singer named Al Green (“Tomorrow Dream” (which he co-wrote with Al). Quinton passed away in April 2021 at the age of 99.