When The Swampers, Florence Alabama Music Enterprises (FAME)'s house band, founded Muscle Shoals Sound Studios at 3614 Jackson Highway in 1969, the Muscle Shoals Sound evolved as a style of Southern soul that defied the era's tumultuous race relations. In this unlikely breeding ground, some of America's most creative and defiant music was recorded.
Icons like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, Bono, Alicia Keys, Percy Sledge and Etta James came to Muscle Shoals in the 1960s and '70s to record such hits as "I'll Take You There," "Brown Sugar," "When a Man Loves a Woman," "I Never Loved A Man the Way That I Loved You," "Mustang Sally," "Tell Mama" and "Kodachrome."
When Muscle Shoals Sound Studios relocated in the late '70s, 3614 Jackson Highway was left vacant. A recent renovation effort backed by Dr. Dre's Beats Electronics aims to return it to a functioning recording space. Beats also will sponsor a program for young musicians, engineers and producers focused on the business of recording at both Muscle Shoals Sound and FAME.