Fred Foster


Fred Foster

Fred Luther Foster (born July 26, 1931) is an American songwriter, record producer, and founder of Monument Records.

Born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, he struggled to help look after his family when his father died. At age 17, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he eventually worked for Mercury Records and then in 1955 went to ABC-Paramount.

Using his life savings, in March of 1958, he started the Monument Record Company (so named after the Washington Monument in DC) where he remained active until 1983. Foster is credited with the development of Rock and Roll legend Roy Orbison's career, producing his major hits, including "Oh, Pretty Woman," "Only the Lonely," "Running Scared," "In Dreams," and "Crying," "It's Over," "Mean Woman Blues," "Candy Man," and "Blue Bayou."

Foster played a significant role in Dolly Parton's early career, signing her to Monument in 1964, shortly after her arrival in Nashville, when no other record companies were interested. While at Monument he worked with Bob Moore, Billy Grammer, Ray Stevens, Kris Kristofferson, Tony Joe White, Larry Gatlin, Charlie McCoy, Al Hirt, Boots Randolph, Jerry Byrd, Billy Joe Shaver, Grandpa Jones, The Velvets and movie great, Robert Mitchum.

Amongst the songs for which he is noted, Fred Foster co-wrote (with Kris Kristofferson) "Me and Bobby McGee" which was a very big hit, both for Kristofferson, as well as for Janis Joplin.

Fred Foster also started a soul/R&B label called 'Sound Stage 7' in the 1960s. Its roster of artists included Arthur Alexander, Joe Simon, Joe Perkins, Alvin Cash, Allen Toussaint (recording under another name), Ivory Joe Hunter and the O'Jays. Tracks by artists on this label, often produced by Foster with arrangements by Bill Justis (famous in rock history for his hit "Raunchy"), were generally only available as singles.

Most recently Foster produced Willie Nelson's 2006 Grammy-nominated "You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker" and Nelson's two-disc collaboration with Merle Haggard and Ray Price, "Last of the Breed" (released in 2007).


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