Muscle Shoals Pioneer and FAME Recording Studios Founder Rick Hall Dead at 85
Hall first gained success as a songwriter, penning hits for George Jones, Brenda Lee and Roy Orbison. He founded FAME in the 1950s, and worked with soul and rhythm and blues artists like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. Later in his career, Hall collaborated with mainstream pop acts like the Osmonds, Paul Anka and Tom Jones.
Hall also originally orchestrated the studio's house band, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (also affectionately known as the Swampers). The Swampers eventually went on to found their own competing business with the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, recording with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynrd and Joe Cocker.
In more recent years, FAME served as the creative home to records like the Drive-By Truckers-produced Bettye LaVette album The Scene of the Crime (2007) and Gregg Allman's final album Southern Blood (2017).
Hall's work was profiled in the acclaimed 2013 documentary Muscle Shoals. Prior to that, he was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1985 and dubbed the "Father of Muscle Shoals Music."
See some of the music world's reaction to Hall's death below.
Rick Hall and his family gave me my first job in the music business, and nobody in the industry ever worked harder than Rick. Nobody. American music wouldn't be the same without his contributions. His death is a huge loss to those of us who knew him and those who didn't.— Jason Isbellgrande (@JasonIsbell) January 2, 2018
RIP the great Rick Hall of Muscle Shoals, without whom a hell of a lot of great music would either not have got made or not been so good. https://t.co/bUPfZgUCQp— Mike Scott (@MickPuck) January 2, 2018
The Music world changed today with The passing of the great Rick Hall. Rick was The Godfather of Muscle Shoals Music.— Mac McAnally (@macmcanally) January 2, 2018
I am blessed to have learned at his feet and happy we have so much fine work to remember him by. Godspeed my friend! pic.twitter.com/GLiKO4Nqkz
RIP to the great Rick Hall :(— william tyler (@williamtylertn) January 2, 2018