Written and recorded by R. B. Greaves, the American soul song “Take A Letter Maria” was released in September 1969 and sold 2.5 million copies. The song was recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio on August 19, 1969 using the house studio musicians. This and other hit records to come out of the studios at FAME and Muscle Shoals is why the area was named “Hit Recording Capital of the World.”
The studio turned out hits with the Rolling Stones, Cher, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Rod Stewart, the Oak Ridge Boys and dozens more music legends.
Visitors can tour both FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio which are still active studios.
Muscle Shoals Sound Studio reopens after $1 million renovation
The newly restored Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, where the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Paul Simon recorded major hits in the late sixties and seventies, was selected as the Alabama Tourism Department’s attraction of the year in 2017.
The studio, reopening in January 2017 after being closed for decades, benefitted from nearly a million-dollar-gift from Beats Electronics producer Dr Dre who was inspired by the 2013 documentary Muscle Shoals.
The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, aka the Swampers, opened the studio in 1969. Jimmy Johnson, David Hood, Roger Hawkins and Barry Beckett dubbed the building “Muscle Shoals Sound” and attracted some of the biggest names in the business. The Rolling Stones recorded “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” for their “Sticky Fingers” album at the studio. The Staple Singers cut “I’ll Take You There” and the studio rhythm section backed Bob Seger on “Old Time Rock ‘n Roll.” Other artists who recorded there included Cher, Steve Winwood, Linda Rondstadt, Rod Stewart and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Restored to the way it looked in the early ‘70’s, the non-profit studio is open for daytime tours and nighttime recording sessions.