Steve Sholes

Born: February 12, 1911
Washington, D.C., USA
Died: April 22, 1968

Sholes was a Jazz A&R man at RCA-Victor before WWII. He worked with Victory Records during the war, and helped redesign the V-Disc program for Armed Forces Radio, and he produced V-Disc sessions with Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, and possibly Sinatra.

PFC Sholes, and Lt. George Vincent (who helped Edison improve the phonograph in his early years) were greatly responsible for the 1943 development of records made from Union Carbide vinylite. This resin-based substance retained better sound quality than shellac, which had been used before the war. (Shellac records also were very brittle and cracked alot).

After the war, Sholes returned to RCA-Victor and was promoted to their hillbilly division, and worked hard for years to turn Nashville into a C&W city. In Nov. 1955, Steve Sholes met Elvis Presley at a DJ Convention in Nashville (where Elvis recieved 3 radio industry awards) and Sholes signed Presley to RCA a week later for an unprecendented $35,000. He produced Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" session in Nashville in Jan. 56, and many more Presley sessions including "Jailhouse Rock" in '57.

Elvis did not attend Sholes' funeral in Nashville in '68 (because he was in Hollywood making a movie) but he did send flowers. After Steve Sholes' death, his successor in the RCA executive hierarchy was guitarist/producer Chet Atkins.

  • Sholes holds 2nd place as the producer of the most #1 singles, and all 16 hits are Elvis recordings. George Martin,who produced The Beatles, holds 1st place with 23 #1 hits.
  • Sholes signed Chet Atkins to RCA in 1949.
  • Steve Sholes produced Henry Mancini's "Days of Wine and Roses" which won the 1963 Record of the Year Grammy.

This biographical information was provided by Aaron D. Webster, writer of "Tonight Memphis, Tomorrow the World."

Instruments Played / Skills:
Record Company Executive

Country Music Conventional Country

Steve Sholes Has Worked With:
Chet Atkins
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