Uncle Art Satherley, a pioneering record industry executive who helped launch the careers of major country music performers such as Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, Bob Wills and others, died Mondayat his Fountain Valley home of natural causes. He was 96.
Satherley had been in poor health in recent years but he was "still in good spirits and joking with his wife, Harriet, on Sunday," longtime friend Forrest White said.
Among the artists Satherley discovered, signed or recorded during his career as a recording director for Columbia Records were Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, the Carter Family, Roy Acuff, Gene Autry, the Sons of the Pioneers, Bill Monroe, Lefty Frizzell and Marty Robbins. Satherley was credited with naming Wills' signature tune "San Antonio Rose."
He also played a major role in Gene Autry's early career, White said, and recorded Autry's first big hit, "That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine," in 1930. "Uncle Art convinced Herbert Yates, the president of Republic Studios, that Gene would be great as a singing cowboy in motion pictures," White said.