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Muscle Shoals: A piece of FAME

Many legendary Black artists recorded songs at FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. — Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Alicia Keys, and the list continues. Legendary artists have come from around the country to record hits at FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals. 

In a time full of controversy and hardship for many Black Americans, music is a language that everyone understood. At the heart of Black music history is FAME studios. 

FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals was founded almost sixty years ago by Rick Hall in the 1950's. 

Rick Hall - The Father of Muscle Shoals 

Hall is an Alabama native that worked his way up to the top. He helped produce music for some of the world's best artists while also juggling husband and fatherly duties.

Hall passed away in January of 2018, and FAME is now owned by his wife Linda Hall and operated by his son.

"Music is a language that is pervasive amongst all human beings," FAME employee Spencer Coats explained. "It is elastic. Its for everybody its not just for a kind of person or a color of person or anything like that. it is for all of us." 

Hall recruited legendary talent to record hit records in Muscle Shoals. 

FOX54's Aiyana Willoughby had the privilege to stand in the same spot as Etta James when she recorded her hit "I'd Rather Go Blind' sixty years ago. 

Credit: TEGNA
FOX54's Aiyana Willoughby at FAME Studios

The same instruments that artists used over six decades ago are still sitting at FAME Studios in studio A. Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson are both notable black singers that have visited FAME over the past few years. 

Rick Hall welcomed artists with open arms and provided a space for creatives to feel comfortable and bare their souls on a record. 

Linda Hall explains, "He never had the racial problems here that they were having in Birmingham and elsewhere. It just didn't happen here." 

Hall left a legacy behind for his wife and sons. 

Candi Staton - An Alabama Legend 

Four time Grammy nominated Candi Staton is one of the artists that worked with Hall, and she started her career in Muscle Shoals at FAME. 

"It was great working with Rick but it was difficult at times," Staton says about her relationship with Rick Hall. "It was very difficult but he knew what he wanted. He knew what he wanted, and he got what he wanted if you work you all day." 

81-year-old Candi Staton is a member of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Christian Music Hall of Fame. She says she wouldn't be where she is today without the help of Rick Hall.  

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