FAME Studios

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FAME Studios
FAME Recording Studios Muscle Shoals.jpg
FAME Recording Studios in 2010
Location Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Coordinates 34°44′42″N 87°40′00″W / 34.74506°N 87.66667°W / 34.74506; -87.66667Coordinates: 34°44′42″N 87°40′00″W / 34.74506°N 87.66667°W / 34.74506; -87.66667
Official name: FAME Recording Studio
Designated Dec 15, 1997[1]
FAME Studios is located in Alabama
FAME Studios
Location of FAME Studios in Alabama

FAME (Florence Alabama Music Enterprises) Studios are located at 603 East Avalon in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, an area of northern Alabama known as The Shoals. They have been an integral part of American popular music from the late 1950s to the present. Artists who recorded there included Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Joe Tex, Duane Allman, The Hour Glass, Clarence Carter, Candi Staton, Mac Davis, Paul Anka, Tom Jones, Etta James, Andy Williams, The Osmonds, Shenandoah, and many others. The studio was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on December 15, 1997.[1]

History[edit]

Rick Hall at FAME Studios in 2010 by Carol M. Highsmith

Founded by Rick Hall, Billy Sherrill and Tom Stafford in the late 1950s, the studio was first located above the City Drug Store in Florence, Alabama. The facility was moved to a former tobacco warehouse on Wilson Dam Road in Muscle Shoals in the early 1960s, when Hall split from Sherrill and Stafford. Hall soon recorded the first hit record from the Muscle Shoals area, Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On". [2]

Hall took the proceeds from that recording to build the current facility on Avalon Avenue in Muscle Shoals, and in 1963, Hall recorded the first hit produced in that building, Jimmy Hughes' "Steal Away."

As the word about Muscle Shoals began to spread other acts began coming to the location to record. Nashville producer Felton Jarvis brought Tommy Roe and recorded Roe's song "Everybody". Atlanta Music Publisher Bill Lowery, who had mentored Hall through his early days, sent The Tams. Nashville Publisher/Producer Buddy Killen brought Joe Tex, while Atlantic Records' Jerry Wexler brought Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett to record.

The session musicians who worked at the studio became known as the "Muscle Shoals Horns" and the "Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section". In 1969, members of the rhythm section left to found a rival studio, the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.

As the hits kept coming, Hall expanded into the area of teen pop hits with The Osmonds, a vocal group from Utah, featuring the younger brother Donny Osmond. The collaboration resulted in the hit "One Bad Apple," among others, and helped Hall to become named "Producer of the Year" in 1971.

As the decade of the 70s rolled in, Hall began moving into country music, first with vocalist Bobbie Gentry who recorded the album Fancy, and then with singer/songwriter Mac Davis, who topped both the Pop and Country charts with "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me". Davis recorded four gold albums at FAME, with the singles "Texas In My Rear View Mirror" and "Hooked On Music" becoming hits on both the country and pop charts.

Hall continued producing country hits in the 1980s, including Jerry Reed's #1 records, "She Got The Goldmine" and "The Bird". He also started Gus Hardin's career with the popular "After The Last Good-bye" and had a smash album with Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers, Houston To Denver. Hall's productions on T.G. Sheppard's LPs include Livin' On The Edge, It Still Rains In Memphis and One For The Money. Top 20 singles during included "Fooled Around And Fell In Love". Top 10 singles included "In Over My Heart" and "Doncha?". Top 5 singles include "Strong Heart", "One For The Money" and a #1 single, "You're My First Lady".

Hall then returned to the way he did it in the beginning, developing new artists. A local country band that was playing in a club down the street from FAME Studios came to his attention and he and Robert Byrne co-produced an LP on the group Shenandoah. Hall made a record deal with CBS Records and the group thereafter had top 10 singles with "She Doesn't Cry Anymore" and "See If I Care", top 5 singles with "Mama Knows" and "The Moon Over Georgia", and six number 1 singles with "The Church On Cumberland Road", "Sunday In The South", "Two Dozen Roses", "Next To You, Next To Me", "Ghost In This House" and "I Got You".

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Properties on the Alabama Register of Landmarks & Heritage". Alabama Historical Commission. www.preserveala.org. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  2. ^ ‘’Muscle Shoals Sound’’, Rhino Records Inc. R2 71517, liner notes, 1993