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Muscle Shoals Sound Studios

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Title: Muscle Shoals Sound Studios  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Sheffield, Alabama, Jerry Wexler, Beautiful Loser, Night Moves (album), Against the Wind (album), Street Survivors, Phases and Stages, The Soul Children, Hot House (British band)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Muscle Shoals Sound Studios

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio
Original studios at 3614 Jackson Highway, Sheffield
Location 3614 Jackson Hwy., Sheffield, Alabama

34°46′4″N 87°40′26″W / 34.76778°N 87.67389°W / 34.76778; -87.67389Coordinates: 34°46′4″N 87°40′26″W / 34.76778°N 87.67389°W / 34.76778; -87.67389

Architectural style Early Commercial
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 06000437[1]
Added to NRHP June 02, 2006

The Muscle Shoals Sound Studio was formed in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, in 1969 when musicians Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), Jimmy Johnson (guitar) and David Hood (bass) (called The Swampers) left FAME Studios to create their own studio. The Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section, as they became known, was the first rhythm section to own its own studio and, eventually, its own publishing and production companies. The distinctive accompaniment and arrangements have been heard on a tremendous number of legendary recordings, including those from Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, and the Staple Singers amongst others. Many artists have recorded hit songs and complete albums at the studio.

The original rhythm section that broke away to create these studios first formed in 1967 and initially played sessions in New York and Nashville as well as on the famous FAME recordings. The initial successes led to the arrival of more mainstream rock and pop performers among them The Rolling Stones, Traffic, Elton John, Boz Scaggs, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Dr. Hook, Elkie Brooks, Millie Jackson and Julian Lennon.

Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, along with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, moved to new facilities off Alabama Avenue in Sheffield in the late 1970s.

The Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section, who owned the original Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, are referred to as "the Swampers" in the lyrics of Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The original Muscle Shoals Sound Studios building is located at 3614 Jackson Highway and is listed on The National Register of Historic Places.[1]

Although the original Muscle Shoals Sound Studios relocated from 3614 Jackson Highway to an updated and larger facility on Alabama Avenue in Sheffield, the building still sees occasional use as a recording studio. The Black Keys album Brothers, recorded there in 2009 achieved Grammy Award success in 2011 in the building formerly occupied by Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.

Filmmaker Greg Camalier premiered his documentary Muscle Shoals, about Rick Hall, FAME, and the departure of the Swampers who formed Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013. The film includes interviews with Bono, Alicia Keys, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards.

In June of 2013, the original building was sold by Noel Webster, who kept the building maintained, to the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation. Their goal is to eventually make the historic building a music museum.[2]

Selected recordings

Album or song Artist Date US Pop chart[3] Notes
3614 Jackson Highway Cher 1969
Boz Scaggs (album) Boz Scaggs 1969
"Take a Letter, Maria" R.B. Greaves August 19, 1969 #2
Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty Herbie Mann (Released 1970)
"Brown Sugar" The Rolling Stones December 2-4 1969 (Released 1971) #1
"Wild Horses" The Rolling Stones December 2-4 1969 (Released 1971) #28
"I'll Take You There" The Staple Singers 1972 #1
Kodachrome Paul Simon 1973 #2
"Loves Me Like a Rock" Paul Simon 1973 #2
One More River to Cross Canned Heat 1973
Atlantic Crossing Rod Stewart 1974-1975 (Released 1975)
Breakaway Art Garfunkel 1975
"Katmandu" Bob Seger 1975 #43
No Reservations Blackfoot 1975
Flyin' High Blackfoot 1976
"Night Moves" Bob Seger 1976 #8
"Mainstreet" Bob Seger 1976 #24 (in 1977)
izitso Cat Stevens 1976 #7 (in 1977)
Street Survivors Lynyrd Skynyrd 1977
"Old Time Rock and Roll" Bob Seger 1978 #28 (in 1979)
Skynyrd's First: The Complete Muscle Shoals Album Lynyrd Skynyrd 1971-1972 (Released 1978)
"Gotta Serve Somebody" Bob Dylan 1979 #24 1980 Grammy winner
Pleasure And Pain Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show 1978
Sometimes You Win Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show 1979
Valotte Julian Lennon 1984 #9
Brothers The Black Keys 2009 (Released 2010) 2011 Grammy winner


External links

  • Muscle Shoals Sound Studio
  • Cher 3614 Jackson Highway Home Page
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