Beats Electronics Revives Muscle Shoals Studios

Dr. Dre's headphones company will help renovate and restore legendary Alabama studios

Muscle Shoals Studios
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
November 26, 2013 2:30 PM ET

Dr. Dre's Beats Electronics will help renovate and revive the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and FAME Recording Studio. The deal is part of the company's new partnership with the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation.

The two Northern Alabama studios have hosted some of the greatest artists of all time – including Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon and Etta James – and their legacies were recently in explored in the documentary Muscle Shoals. According to a statement, the goal of the project will be "to preserve the rich history and culture of the iconic Muscle Shoals Sound."

Along with returning Muscle Shoals Sound Studio to a functioning recording space, Beats Electronics will also back an educational program that will allow young musicians, engineers and producers to learn the ins-and-outs of recording at both Muscle Shoals Sound and FAME. Beats will donate a portion of its holiday sales to the cause, and applicants who best meet the program's criteria will have the opportunity to work with experienced studiohands for free.

Find Out Where Aretha Franklin's FAME Session Ranks on Our List of the Greatest Breakthrough Moments for Women Who Rock

"Magic is a word that's too often misused in the record industry," Beats cofounder and Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman Jimmy Iovine said in a statement. "Muscle Shoals is different; it's one of the rare places where it really exists. Any time you can capture such a distinct and authentic sound over and over again, that's something worth protecting."

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio was started in 1969 by a group of FAME session musicians, known as the Swampers, who'd developed a style of Southern soul that defied of the region's often tumultuous race relations during the era. Despite hosting everyone from the Stones to Bob Seger to Cher to Lynyrd Skynyrd, the studio relocated to a more modern space in the late 1970s. The studio's initial home at 3614 Jackson Highway does remain standing, but it's been abandoned and unused ever since.

"The Muscle Shoals Sound is a funky, soulful music mash-up of great players, songs and singers, and just as with Beats, we are all about the magic of music," said Rodney Hall, chairman of the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation. "We think that Beats is the perfect partner for this project and we want to thank the entire Beats staff for helping to keep our sound alive."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

More Song Stories entries »