MGM South was a short-lived subsidiary label of MGM, primarily directed toward country and
western music. There were about 34 singles issued on MGM South, and two albums.
The artist roster included Tommy Roe, Dennis Yost & the Classics IV, Billy Joe Royal, Sami Jo, Christopher Paul, Us, Shawn, Glen Wood, and a few others.
The first two singles on the label, released in the fall of 1972, both charted. Tommy Roe's "Mean Little Woman, Rosalie" [MGM South 7001] made #92, while Dennis Yost and the Classic IV's "What Am I Crying For" cracked the top 40. Each artist had a followup single on the charts also, Roe with "Working Class Hero" [MGM South 7013, #97 pop and #73 country in May, 1973], and Yost with "Rosanna" [MGM South 7012, #95 in March, 1973]. A planned Tommy Roe album was canceled, and the Dennis Yost album was issued, but didn't chart. Singles by Billy Joe Royal didn't chart at all.
Part of the problem of MGM South was identity. Rock and Roll/Pop retreads like Tommy Roe, Billy Joe Royal, or the Classics IV were not received as country acts, no matter how hard MGM pushed them. Royal would later find a home in the country charts, but that was over a decade in the future.
It wasn't until MGM signed Sami Jo Cole, a sultry country singer from Arkansas, that they at last had a legitimate country artist. Surprisingly, her "Tell Me A Lie" (as Sami Jo) hit #21 pop and only #52 country. Same story for her followup, "It Could Have Been Me," which reached #46 pop but only #61 country. After nearly two years of trying to crack Nashville, MGM made the decision that it wasn't working, and folded MGM South back into the parent label. Sami Jo Cole continued to have mid-chart success on the country charts until 1981.
The MGM South label was green and white with black printing. The MGM lion logo was at the top in aqua color, with MGM SOUTH in aqua and green just to the right of the lion logo.
We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail. Both Sides Now Publications is an information web page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no association with MGM South or MGM Records, which are currently owned by Universal Music Group. Should you be interested in acquiring albums listed in this discography (which are all out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and follow the instructions found there. This story and discography are copyright 2000 by Mike Callahan.