Helping Pave the Road to FAME: Behind the Music of Muscle Shoals

FAME Recording Studios, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, by Carol M. Highsmith, 2010, Library of Congress.

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Helping Pave the Road to FAME: Behind the Music of Muscle Shoals

by Christopher Reali
Southern Cultures, Vol. 21, No. 3: Music

"'We took time, there was no set pattern to how we recorded. We might record all day, go eat a hamburger, and record 'til midnight. I mean we didn't have no three-hour sessions. No such thing.'"

During the mid-1950s, several amateur musicians living in and around the Muscle Shoals region of Alabama made a leap into the music industry. A few, no doubt, had ambitions fueled by dreams of stardom, while many were simply taken by the sounds of r &b and rock ’n’ roll broadcast over the radio, and others were interested in songwriting and publishing. After initially funneling songs through Nashville, the closest music scene and recording center some 125 miles away, the fledgling Muscle Shoals music industry gained national attention in 1962 after the song “You Better Move On” by Arthur Alexander charted in Billboard, and it continued to grow in prominence throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s.