This Is Where Aretha Franklin Recorded Her First Hit


An unprepossessing two-story constructing with a gambrel roof alongside the aspect of a highway in Muscle Shoals, Alabama homes FAME Recording Studios (brief for Florence Alabama Music Enterprises.) Erected in 1961 from the proceeds of the corporate’s first hit, You Higher Transfer On, the peculiar constructing has had a unprecedented impact on the music world. The Muscle Shoals Sound, as it’s known as, turned one among rock and roll’s enduring voices.

An early triumph got here within the mid-Nineteen Sixties, when Jerry Wexler introduced his newly signed artist, Aretha Franklin, to FAME. Franklin had been signed to Columbia for 4 years with no success. Her first lower at FAME was the million-selling double-sided smash, I By no means Beloved A Man and Do Proper Lady. The album received a Grammy for Album of the Yr and catapulted Franklin from a struggling unknown artist to the Queen of Soul.

With the discharge of Respect, the Franklin bio-pic starring Jennifer Hudson, FAME is getting consideration from a brand new viewers. Hudson herself toured the recording studio, a worshipful go to prayerfully adopted by information cameras. As she sat on the piano utilized in Aretha’s recording, Hudson gave the impression to be overcome with emotion.

Her response is just not uncommon: so many greats of rock have recorded right here, from Otis Redding to Etta James to Lynyrd Skynrd to the Allman Brothers, the Rolling Stones, the Dixie Chicks, Bob Dylan, Alicia Keyes and extra, that it’s simple to imagine that the partitions are exuding ambiance, recollections and historical echoes of genius. Any devoted rock fan who walks into Studio A in all probability will get a robust case of the goose bumps.

The studio was based by Rick Corridor, who owned and operated it till his demise in 2018. It’s nonetheless actively working and was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on December 15, 1997 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016. 

In response to Corridor, a chief purpose for FAME’s success at a time of stiff competitors from recording studios in different cities was that he ignored the difficulty of race, a perspective he known as ‘colorblind’.

“It was a harmful time, however the studio was a secure haven the place blacks and whites might work collectively in musical concord,” Corridor wrote in his autobiography. Many years later, a publication in Malaysia referred to Corridor as a ‘white fiddler who turned an unlikely drive in soul music.’

With the waning of Covid, FAME has recommenced studio visits, and the goose bump expertise is offered to guests who join excursions. 

Corridor hung an indication above the entry to Studio A that reads, ‘Via these doorways stroll the best Musicians, Songwriters, Artists, and Producers within the World.’ The signal remains to be there, and it absolutely evokes musicians immediately as a lot because it will need to have impressed Aretha Franklin over 50 years in the past.



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