Rick Hall

(Jan. 31, 1932- )

Lived in Phil Campbell, AL

1985 Inductee (John Herbert Orr Pioneer Award)

Recognized as the “Father of Muscle Shoals Music,” maverick producer, publisher, songwriter, musician and studio owner Rick Hall founded FAME Recording Studios and produced the Muscle Shoals music industry’s first national hits.  He went on to record artists ranging from Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Clarence Carter, Etta James and Candi Staton to Mac Davis, Bobbie Gentry, the Osmonds, Paul Anka and Shenandoah.

Born in Tishomingo County, Mississippi, and raised in the Freedom Hills region of Franklin County, Hall began his professional career playing fiddle with the Country Pals.  The popular group performed at square dances and hosted their own weekly regional radio show in Hamilton.  Hall scored his first songwriting successes when George Jones recorded his song “Aching Breaking Heart” and Brenda Lee cut the Hall composition “She’ll Never Know.”

While they were both living in Phil Campbell, Hall and fellow musician Billy Sherrill became songwriting partners and later formed their own rock ’n’ roll and R&B band, the Fairlanes.  After Roy Orbison cut the Hall/Sherrill composition “Sweet and Innocent” in 1959,  the duo accepted an invitation from music enthusiast Tom Stafford to move to the Muscle Shoals area and launch a new publishing company – Florence Alabama Music Enterprises (FAME) – above the City Drug Store in downtown Florence.  In 1960, the partnership dissolved and Hall took the publishing company to Muscle Shoals, where he established his own studio in a candy-and-tobacco warehouse on Wilson Dam Road.

A year later, Hall produced “You Better Move On,” written and recorded by Sheffield singer and hotel bellhop Arthur Alexander.  The single climbed to No. 24 on the pop charts in 1962, giving Hall the proceeds to custom build his all-new FAME Recording Studios on Avalon Avenue in Muscle Shoals.  From there, his national success continued with Tommy Rowe’s “Everybody,” the Tams’ “What Kind of a Fool Do You Think I Am?,” Jimmy Hughes’ “Steal Away,” Joe Simon’s “Let’s Do It Over” and Joe Tex’s “Hold What You’ve Got.”

Forging an alliance with Atlantic Records in 1966, Hall further enhanced his reputation as a white Southern producer who could produce and engineer hits with black Southern soul singers.  The long list of Southern soul classics recorded at FAME includes Wilson Pickett’s “Land of a Thousand Dances,” “Mustang Sally” and “Funky Broadway,” James and Bobby Purify’s “I’m Your Puppet,” Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You)” and “Do Right Woman (Do Right Man),” Clarence Carter’s “Slip Away” and “Patches,” Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music” and Otis Redding’s “You Left the Water Running.”  Hall also produced Etta James’ signature tune, “Tell Mama,” for the Chicago-based Chess Records.

In the 1970s, Hall shifted into the lucrative world of mainstream pop, recording a long string of hits for the Osmonds (“One Bad Apple,” “Double Lovin,’ ” “Yo-Yo”) and Donny Osmond (“Go Away, Little Girl”).  He also produced Bobbie Gentry’s “Fancy,” Mac Davis’ “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me” and Paul Anka’s comeback record, the No. 1 smash “You’re Having My Baby.” Billboard named him Producer of the Year for the World in 1971.

Reuniting with Davis, Hall produced the country-pop crossover hits “Texas in My Rear-View Mirror” and “Hooked on Music” before full embracing his country roots with two back-to-back No. 1 hits on Jerry Reed, “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)” and “The Bird.”  Expanding his success in the country market, Hall produced hits for T.G. Sheppard (“You’re My First Lady”), Gus Hardin (“After the Last Goodbye”) and Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers (“What Are We Doin’ Lonesome?”).

Working with songwriter and co-producer Robert Byrne, Hall developed the Muscle Shoals bar band Shenandoah into one of the most successful country acts of the 1980s.  The group topped the charts with “Mama Knows,” “The Church on Cumberland Road,” “Sunday in the South,” “Moon Over Georgia” and “Ghost in This House.”  Meanwhile, Hall’s publishing company became a dominant force in country music with some of the era’s biggest hits, from Ronnie Milsap’s “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me” and Ricky Van Shelton’s “(I Am) A Simple Man” to the country-pop crossover smash “I Swear” (recorded by John Michael Montgomery and All 4-One) and Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It.”

Moving into the 21st century, Hall recorded three songs with the country supergroup Alabama for their When It All Goes South anniversary album.  In 2007, he reactivated his FAME Records label through a distribution deal with EMI that combined new material by FAME artists with reissues of classic recordings from Muscle Shoals’ Southern soul heyday.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Portrait by Ronald McDowell

Roe Erister "Rick" Hall[1] (b. 31 January 1932) is an American record producer, songwriter, music publisher and musician who is best known as the owner and proprietor of the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Hall was born to a family of sharecroppers in Tishomingo County, Mississippi, and was raised in Franklin County, Alabama.[2] He moved to Rockford, Illinois as a teenager, working as an apprentice tool maker, and began playing in local bar bands. When he was drafted for the Korean War, he declared himself a conscientious objector, joined the honor guard of the Fourth United States Army, and played in a band which also included Faron Young and fiddler Gordon Terry. He later returned to Alabama to work, but, after both his young wife and father died in quick succession, he decided to support himself by playing music, and joined Carmol Taylor and the Country Pals, a group who appeared on a weekly regional radio show in Hamilton.[3]

After meeting saxophonist Billy Sherrill, the pair began writing songs together, and formed an R&B band, The Fairlanes, fronted by singer Dan Penn with Hall playing bass. Hall had his first songwriting successes in the late 1950s, when George Jones recorded his song "Aching Breaking Heart", Brenda Lee recorded "She’ll Never Know", and Roy Orbison recorded "Sweet and Innocent".[2] Hall and Sherrill then accepted an offer from recording studio owner Tom Stafford in 1959 to help set up a new music publishing company in the town of Florence, to be known as Florence Alabama Music Enterprises or FAME. However, in 1960, Sherrill and Stafford dissolved the partnership, leaving Hall with rights to the studio name. Hall then set up a studio at Muscle Shoals, where one of his first recordings was Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On". The commercial success of the record gave Hall the financial resources to establish a new, larger, FAME recording studio.[2][3][4]

Hall's successes continued after Atlanta-based agent Bill Lowery brought him acts to record, and the studio produced hits for Tommy Roe, Joe Tex, The Tams, and Jimmy Hughes. However, in 1964, Hall's regular session group, who included David Briggs, Norbert Putnam, Jerry Carrigan, Earl "Peanut" Montgomery, and Donnie Fritts, became frustrated at being paid minimum union-scale wages by Hall, and left Muscle Shoals to set up a studio of their own in Nashville.[3] Hall then pulled together a new studio band, including Spooner Oldham, Jimmy Johnson, David Hood and Roger Hawkins, and continued to produce hit records. In 1966, he helped license Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman", produced by Quin Ivy, to Atlantic Records, which then led to a regular arrangement under which Atlantic would send musicians to Hall's Muscle Shoals studio to record.[5] This resulted in further hits for Wilson Pickett, James and Bobby Purify, Aretha Franklin, Clarence Carter, Otis Redding and Arthur Conley, Hall further enhancing his reputation as a white Southern producer who could produce and engineer hits with black Southern soul singers.[2][3] He also produced for other artists, including Etta James. However, his fiery temperament led to the relationship with Atlantic ending after he got into a fist fight with Aretha Franklin's husband, Ted White in late 1967. The session group, by now generally known as the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, split up shortly afterwards, several of them establishing a new recording studio, Muscle Shoals Sound.[3] In 1969, FAME Records, with artists including Candi Staton, Clarence Carter and Arthur Conley, established a distribution deal with Capitol Records.[4]

Hall then turned his attention away from soul music towards mainstream pop, producing hits for The Osmonds, Paul Anka, Tom Jones, and Donny Osmond. In 1971, he was named Billboard Producer of the Year, the year after having been nominated for a Grammy in the same category. Later in the decade Hall moved back towards country music, producing hits for Mac Davis, Bobbie Gentry, Jerry Reed and the Gatlin Brothers.[3] He also worked with songwriter and producer Robert Byrne to help local bar band Shenandoah top the national country charts several times in the 1980s and 1990s. Hall's publishing company of in-house songwriters also became responsible for some of the biggest country hits in those decades, for artists including John Michael Montgomery and the Dixie Chicks.[2][4]

Awards

Hall was nominated for a Grammy in the Producer of the Year category in 1970.

Hall was named Billboard's Producer of the Year for the World in 1971.

Hall was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1985, his citation referring to him as the "Father of Muscle Shoals Music".[2]

References

1^ Copyright record: Pink high heel shoes

2^ a b c d e f Rick Hall at Alabama Music Hall of Fame

3^ a b c d e f Biography by Steve Kurutz at Allmusic

4^ a b c FAME Studios History

5^ Quin Ivy at Allmusic.com

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Hall

More info: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p83550/biography

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p154511/biography

Music Fell on Alabama: The Muscle Shoals Sound That Shook the World [Paperback]: http://www.amazon.com/Music-Fell-Alabama-Muscle-Shoals/dp/1588381579

RICK HALL DISCOGRAPHY: http://www.alamhof.org/halldisc.html

Greatest Hits - Clarence Carter, Clarence CarterLive With the DR., Clarence CarterSnatching It Back: The Best of Clarence Carter, Clarence CarterThe Soul Troubadors (Re-Recorded Versions), Clarence Carter

Listen: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/clarence-carter-gene-chandler/id2088579

Something Special, Jimmy HughesThe Best of Jimmy Hughes, Jimmy Hughes

Listen: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/jimmy-hughes/id3917270

In Soul, Wilson PickettDown To My Last Heartbreak, Wilson PickettThe Wicked Pickett, Wilson Pickett

Listen: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wilson-pickett/id577675

Memphis + Muscle Shoals = Travis Wammack, Travis WammackSnake, Rattle & Roll In Muscle Shoals, Travis WammackShotgun Woman, Travis Wammack

Listen: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/travis-wammack/id74576551

Product Details

Listen: http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&keywords=Arthur%20Alexander%20-%20You%20Better%20Move%20On&rh=n%3A5174%2Ck%3AArthur%20Alexander%20-%20You%20Better%20Move%20On&page=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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