Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hits from Muscle Shoals Sound Studios

Selected Hits from
Muscle Shoals Sound Studio
3614 Jackson Highway
Sheffield, Alabama

During the used-appliance years, the 1990s.

Selected Hit Singles
“Take a Letter, Maria,” R.B. Greaves, 1969
“Oh Me Oh My (I’m a Fool for You Baby),” 1969
“Always Something There to Remind Me,” R.B Greaves, 1970
“Brown Sugar,” Rolling Stones, 1971
“Wild Horses,” Rolling Stones, 1971
“It Hurts So Good,” Katie Love, 1971
“Heavy Makes You Happy,” the Staple Singers, 1971
“Don’t Knock My Love,” Wilson Pickett, 1971
“A Very Lovely Lady,” Linda Ronstadt, 1971
“Dinah Flo,” Boz Scaggs, 1972
“Tightrope,” Leon Russell, 1972
“Starting All Over Again,” Mel and Tim, 1972
“If Loving You Is Right (I Don’t Want to be Wrong),” Luther Ingram, 1972
“Kodachrome,” Paul Simon, 1973
“Loves Me Like a Rock,” Paul Simon, 1973
“I Believe In You (You Believe in Me),” Johnny Taylor, 1973
“Lookin’ for a Love,” Bobby Womack, 1973
“Still Crazy After All These Years,” Paul Simon, 1974
“I’ll Be Your Everything,” Percy Sledge, 1974
“Beautiful Loser,” Bob Seger, 1974
“My Little Town,” Simon and Garfunkel, 1975
“Left Overs,” Millie Jackson, 1975
“Touch Me Baby,” Tamiko Jones, 1975
“Night Moves,” Bob Seger, 1976
“Main Street,” Bob Seger, 1977

The Story
The original Muscle Shoals Sound Studio (1969-1978) and its successor (1978-1990s) turned out hundreds of nationally charted singles. They included the records listed above, which also share something else in common: they aren’t generally recognized as being a product of the Alabama studios. (Note: In a few cases, additional overdubbing and/or mixing could have been done in other studios.)

Forgotten Facts

Founded by independent musicians bassist David Hood, guitarist Jimmy Johnson, pianist Barry Beckett, and drummer Roger Hawkins. The band nicknamed itself the Swampers, but it was better known as the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section because it had played on hits at Fame Recording and other studios in northern Alabama.

Studio Quirks

 1. When the musician-owners bought the old Fred Bevis Studio in the late 1960s, they mortgaged their homes to pay for it. The roof leaked. They didn’t have enough money to repair it, so they tucked tampons in the ceiling. They worked.
2. The restroom walls are covered with autographs of stars.
3. By the 1990s, the studio was used as a used appliance store.
4. The studio was rare in that its owners were big-name musicians who worked in their own place as well as in other studios.
5. The studio was actually in neighboring Sheffield, not Muscle Shoals. Formerly, the building had been used as a small venetian blind factory.


Selected Hit Singles from

  Muscle Shoals Sound Studios
1000 Alabama Avenue
 Sheffield, Alabama

“Sharing the Night Together,” Dr. Hook, 1978
“We’ve Got Tonight,” Bob Seger, 1979
"Old-Time Rock ’n’ Roll,” Bog Seger, 1979
“When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman,” Dr. Hook, 1979
“Gotta Serve Somebody,” Bob Dylan, 1979
“Giving It Up for Your Love,” Delbert McClinton, 1980
“Ozark Mountain Jubilee,” the Oak Ridge Boys, 1983
“I Guess It Never Hurts,” the Oak Ridge Boys, 1983
“Sexy Girl,” Glenn Frey, 1983
“Valotte,” Julian Lennon, 1984
“Too Late for Gooodbyes,” Julian Lennon, 1984
“I Will Never Be the Same,” Melissa Etheridge, 1993
“Shaky Ground,” Melissa Etheridge, 1993

Plain From the Heart, Delbert McClinton, 1981
Billy Vera, Billy Vera, 1982
Comin’ Home, Bob Seger, 1982
No Fun Aloud, Glenn Frey, 1983
Deliver, the Oak Ridge Boys, 1983
The Allnighter, Glenn Frey, 1984
Havanna Moon, Carlos Santana, 1984

Studio Quirk
1. The building, along the Tennessee River, was once a navy reserve center. It offered 31,000 square feet.

For additional information on the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, see Randy McNutt’s Guitar Towns: A Journey to the Crossroads of Rock ’n’ Roll and Too Hot to Handle: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of America Recording Studios of the Twentieth Century. Both books are available through

Bassist David Hood stands in front of the second MSSS
in the late 1990s.  

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