Muscle Shoals, Ala., wouldn’t be famous for its musical influences without FAME Studios — and FAME Studios wouldn’t have become what it is without Rick Hall. Hall — born Roe Erister Hall on Jan. 31, 1932 – co-founded FAME Studios in 1959 … and the rest, as they say, is history.
Hall began his career as a musician, then moved on to songwriting, producing and music publishing. FAME (Florence Alabama Music Enterprises) Studios was first a partnership between Hall, Billy Sherrill and Tom Stafford; however, by 1960, after Sherrill and Stafford dissolved the partnership, it was all Hall’s.
Over the years, FAME Studios grew, both in size and in prominence, and Hall — known as the “Father of Muscle Shoals Music” — played a role in the careers of Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Jerry Reed and many, many more. Artists from numerous genres headed to Muscle Shoals in search of inspiration and to work with the area’s famed session musicians.
Hall died in January of 2018, at the age of 85, following a battle with cancer. He remained active within the music industry until his death, and was a 1985 Alabama Music Hall of Fame inductee and a Grammy Trustees Award winner (2014).
A number of country and Americana artists’ careers and records have been influenced by the Muscle Shoals sound. Flip through the gallery below to learn more about eight albums recorded at FAME Studios.