I’m about halfway through Jon Hartley Fox’s forthcoming book on the King record label titled King of the Queen City. In one of the chapters on King’s country artists there’s a great anecdote that illustrates the mistrust that some artists had for label head Syd Nathan.
King recording artist and “piano-pounding wild man” Moon Mullican co-wrote a song with Grand Ole Opry buddy Hank Williams titled “Jambalaya (on the Bayou),” which was a top ten hit for Williams in 1952.
“The song was published with Williams listed as the sole writer because Mullican reportedly didn’t trust King to pay royalties fairly and preferred to receive his share of the money under the table from Williams in a gentlemen’s agreement.* That worked until Williams’s death on January 1, 1953; after that, it probably cost Mullican at least a million dollars in lost income.”
*Escott, Hank Williams, 196