Rick Hall: The Man From Muscle Shoals
On January 2nd, just days shy of the release of our SOUTHERN ROCK: Muscle Shoals catalog, the world lost the legendary Rick Hall, founder of FAME Studios, and the man often revered as the “Father of Muscle Shoals Music”. Having received so much inspiration from the artists that graced the booths of his studio, it felt appropriate that we should pay him tribute.
Rick Hall’s influence on the music industry was not only extraordinary, it was revolutionary. He lured mega-talents away from the established and enormous recording studios in bustling, dazzling cities, down to a minuscule town in northwest Alabama that had little to offer in the way of tourism, or even amenities. He transcended musical genres, melding country with R&B and rock’n’roll, and eventually, his studio became the unofficial birthplace of Southern Rock. And most remarkably, Hall was able to foster an attitude and environment of equality, acceptance, and integration among talents of different races in a time (and especially a place) of segregation and intense civil unrest. Hall himself said it best in his autobiography, The Man from Muscle Shoals: My Journey from Shame to Fame, "It was a dangerous time, but the studio was a safe haven where blacks and whites could work together in musical harmony.”
Rick Hall was a visionary and he is a legend; he bucked traditions, he defied odds, and he left the world a better place.
We feel that we would be remiss to neglect to also pay our respects to two other Southern Rock legends we lost last year: Gregg Allman (1947-2017) and Tom Petty (1950-2017), both of whom passed away last year while we were conceptualizing and creating the SOUTHERN ROCK collection of catalogs and both of whom had an influence on it.