The Man from Muscle Shoals: My Journey from Shame to Fame

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9781941437520: The Man from Muscle Shoals: My Journey from Shame to Fame

This is the story of legendary record producer Rick Hall and his historic role in the development of the world-famous Muscle Shoals sound.”

Rick Hall made music history when he founded FAME Recording Studios, the first professional recording studio in the entire state of Alabama. After producing and engineering the area’s first national hit on Arthur Alexander’s Southern Soul classic You Better Move On,” Rick went on to earn international fame and eventually a Grammy for a lifetime of achievements.

In the days when Martin Luther King Jr. was marching for freedom, Rick proved to be a civil rights pioneer through his music. His records helped introduce white audiences to the black music market and black audiences to the white music market.

From the moment You Better Move On” hit the charts, record executives literally flocked to Muscle Shoals for Rick to produce and engineer a mind-boggling array of major artists, from Aretha Franklin to Bobbie Gentry, from the Osmonds to Alabama. His astonishing production abilities were matched by his incredible versatility.

Music fans, history buffs, and others delight to these fascinating tales of how Rick Hall launched the music careers of so many famous artists.

Award-winning DVD, Muscle Shoals, included with every book.

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About the Author:

Rick Hall was born to a family of sharecroppers in Tishomingo County, MS, and was raised in Franklin County, AL. He moved to Rockford, IL, as a teenager and began playing in local bar bands. He went on to become a record producer, songwriter, music publisher, and musician who is best known as the owner and proprietor of the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL. FAME is the oldest studio in the world still operating under the same owner.

Rick won a trustees Grammy Award for lifetime achievement with his documentary Muscle Shoals. He lives in Muscle Shoals, AL.

Peter Guralnick has been called "a national resource" by critic Nat Hentoff for work that has argued passionately and persuasively for the vitality of this country’s intertwined black and white musical traditions. His books include the prize-winning two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis, Careless Love, Sweet Soul Music, and Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke. His biography of Sam Phillips is scheduled to be published in 2015.


If anyone were ever meant to write a book about music, it would be Rick Hall. If anyone were meant to write a book about Muscle Shoals, Alabama music, that too would be Rick Hall. You can’t be a music fan without being touched by the sounds that Rick has influenced. He has few, if any, equals. The music that Rick has been a part of will live and be played and be heard as long as there are speakers and radios, and as long as the Tennessee River flows. He has cotton field genius. You can’t teach it; you can’t learn it, and you can’t copy it. You have to live it. I wanna congratulate Rick and his beautiful wife Linda and thank them for sharing one of the greatest musical stories. I’m proud to know you, Rick.”
Randy Owen, Alabama
I’m grateful for my association with Rick. He was the one who inspired the creation and magic of many of my career’s early records. It’s fascinating for me to read his perspective on how it all began. I’ll always be appreciative to Rick for taking a chance, not just on the Osmonds, but on me particularly. I doubt I would have had the career I enjoy today without the genius of Rick Hall.”
Donnie Osmond

I’ve known Rick Hall for some fifty years now. It’s because of his indomitable spirit and old- fashioned work ethic that my biggest hits were recorded at his FAME studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. This wonderful book answers a lot of questions about the Muscle Shoals Mystique” and yes, there IS something in the water” down there ”
Mac Davis

Rick Hall’s The Man from Muscle Shoals” is a great read! The epitome of hard work, raw drive and belief in one’s self, Rick shows how he overcame personal tragedy, disappointment and powerful industry opposition to establish and transform the small country town of Muscle Shoals, Alabama into a world renown recording mecca.”
Larry King

The moment I stepped into Rick Hall’s Fame Recording Studios, I felt a buzz! I was giddy like a little girl with excitement! The history, fellowship and talent of the artists who’d come before enveloped and surrounded me and it was powerful. I tasted it on my lips, it sank down to my heart. I wanted to absorb and revel in the ambiance where the beautiful music was created and has gone on to move generations.”

There’s an unwritten mantra in the world and business of entertainment, which states that one never knows where and when extraordinary and unique talent may come from. Rick Hall is perhaps one of those who personifies that concept, coming from a town, and a time which never could have been predicted to yield such an iconic and game-changing creative force, who continues to influence creative musicians and please music-loving fans all around the globe.
Neal Portnow, President, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy’s).

I looked at him and said, so this is Rick Hall, this is FAME recording studios, and I’m in Alabama and I’m gonna get some of this Alabama mud. Rick Hall was the 1st white man I had seen that had that kind of soul; he was an engineer that was soulful. I would be so hard headed and say, don’t tell me nothing, but I finally realized that
everything he used to badger me about, he was always right.”
Etta James

I was there to make it work period. We would sit there and make that record together, I was singing along, Rick Hall stuck there every minute; we would all work it out together. Rick Hall was his own engineer; he built the studio he knew all the electric wiring in there. After my 1st night in that studio I was convinced that this could be my recording home. Rick Hall and I were the real nitty gritty right down in the cold nitty gritty.”
Wilson Pickett

Rick Hall is a classic American hero who denied being defeated or overcome by tragedy. Despite heart wrenching odds, he triumphed to birth the quintessential Muscle Shoals Sound’ known and revered by musicians while also helping to craft some of the world’s greatest rock, pop, country, and soul music ever.”
Stephen Badger, Producer, & Greg Freddy’ Camalier, Producer & Director, Muscle Shoals

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