Singleton joined the Marine Corps, and after his military discharge he was hired by the Shreveport, Louisiana branch of Mercury Records doing promotional work. He rose in the company until he was a record producer and executive. In 1960 he achieved first hit single, Brook Benton's recording of "The Boll Weevil Song", which became a #2 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the following year. Singleton spent nine years at Mercury and its sister label Smash Records during which he was involved in producing many hit records, including "Walk On By", Leroy Van Dyke; "Ahab the Arab", Ray Stevens; "Wooden Heart", Joe Dowell; and producing acts such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Roger Miller, Charlie Rich, Dave Dudley, and Brook Benton.
In 1962 Singleton bought the master recording of "Hey Paula" by Jill and Ray, originally released on LeCam Records. He changed the duo's names to Paul & Paula and issued the song on Mercury's newly acquired label, Philips. The song spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1966, Singleton resigned from Mercury, founded The Shelby Singleton Corp. and formed several subsidiary music labels, including SSS International and Plantation Records, achieving his first #1 hit in 1968 with "Harper Valley PTA". In July 1969 he purchased 80% of the Sun Record Company from Sam Phillips (2), including its rock and roll catalog.
Born: December 16, 1931, Waskom, TX, USA
Died: October 7, 2009, Nashville, TN, USA