Even if you've never heard of Muscle Shoals, FAME Recording Studios, or Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, you've undeniably heard the hits that have come out of this small town in northern Alabama. After watching the Muscle Shoals documentary that came out in 2013, and after exploring iconic studios in Nashville, Memphis, and Detroit, I specifically took a detour on my road trip through the American South to see this place in person.
From Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, and Aretha Franklin to Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Paul Simon, there's some incredible music history in this unassuming town. FAME (Florence Alabama Music Enterprises) Studios was founded in the late 1950s, followed by Muscle Shoals Sound Studio which broke away from FAME in 1969. Both of these studios brought the Muscle Shoals sound - a mix of soul, R&B, blues, and southern rock - to the forefront of popular music.
To truly recognize the significance of Muscle Shoals, in addition to the hours of music you'll likely get lost in if you look it up, I highly recommend checking out the Muscle Shoals documentary. Check out the trailer below to get a taste.