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About the song Sweet Home Alabama

The song SWEET HOME ALABAMA by Lynyrd Skynyrd is well-known and loved by many Alabamians. It has been used in movies, advertisements, and commercials concerning Alabama.


One verse in the lyrics refers to Muscle Shoals, a city in  northwest Alabama which in the 1960’s was known as “The Hit Recording Capital of the World,” Many famous bands and singers, “including Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seger the Osmonds, Mac Davis, Duane Allman.Wilson Pickett. Rod Stewart, Little Richard, and others came to Muscle Shoals to record hit songs.  “Muscle Shoals first came to the pop world’s attention in the spring of 1966 with the release of “When a Man Loves a Woman” by local R&B singer Percy Sledge.” (History of Rock and Roll By Thomas E. Larson 2004).

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Rick Hall’s Fame Recording Studio on Avalon Avenue was the first recording studio in Muscle Shoals.  In 1998, the building was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

muscle-shoals- music

Muscle Shoals Rick Hall, founder of FAME Recording Studios, sitting in the FAME studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama 2010 (Carol Highsmith - Library of Congress)Muscle Shoals Rick Hall, founder of FAME Recording Studios, sitting in the FAME studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama 2010 (Carol Highsmith – Library of Congress)

The verse in SWEET HOME ALABAMA continues “Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers/And they’ve been known to pick a song or two/Lord, they get me off so much/They pick me up when I’m feelin’ blue.”  The Swampers were studio musicians who locally available for backup if they were needed.

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio 2010 (Carol Highsmith, Library of Congress).jpg

“Although Muscle Shoals has receded somewhat from its 1960s and 1970s status as “Hit Recording Capital of the World,” (as a sign near the airport once read), there is a group of young, local musicians that are making waves again in the musical world. These include Drive-By Truckers, The Civil Wars, Dylan LeBlanc, Gary Nichols, Jason Isbell, State Line Mob, Eric “Red Mouth” Gebhardt, Fiddleworms, Jamie Barrier and The Pine Hill Haints, Sons of Roswell, Lauderdale, Barrelmouth, Angela Hacker, Zac Hacker, Mike Pyle, The Ugli Stick, Jami Grooms, James LeBlanc, Scufflegrit, and BoomBox. In 2006 the group Heartland recorded their number-one award-winning song “I Loved Her First,” produced and penned by Shoals legend Walt Aldridge.

In 2007 Bettye Lavette’s Grammy nominated CD “The Scene of the Crime” was recorded at FAME Recording Studios, produced by Patterson Hood and Drive-By Truckers. The Truckers also backed Lavette on the record, with contributions from David Hood and Spooner Oldham.

In 2010, two Grammy-nominated albums were recorded in the Shoals at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. Band Of Horses third CD, “Infinite Arms” was recorded in part at the legendary studio. The album has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Alternative Album category. Additionally, The Black Keys’ sixth album “Brothers” was also recorded at 3614 Jackson Highway. The album has been nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. Two songs from the album, “Tighten Up” and “Black Mud” have been nominated for two and one Grammys, respectively. “Tighten Up” has been nominated for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Best Rock Song. “Black Mud” has been nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Rolling Stone magazine placed the album at #2 on the Best Albums of 2010 and “Everlasting Light” at #11 on the Best Singles of 2010. The albums were also featured on Spin (magazine)’s Top 40 Albums of 2010.

The second Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, located at 1000 Alabama Avenue in Sheffield, closed its doors in 2005 and now houses a movie production company.

The original Muscle Shoals Sound Studios building at 3614 Jackson Highway is now open daily for tours as a historic museum. It has been restored to its 1970s state.” (wikipedia.com)

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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13 comments

  1. Amy Scarborough

    Shona CocoTommy Henderson This was the place I was talkin about that they did a movie/documentary about

  2. James Rowell

    The shoals made a name for it’s self in the 60’s and 70’s music scene. Some awesome stuff was recorded there.

  3. Barbara Hinote

    CS FUQUA has a book about this place…Alabama Musicians

  4. James H Stripling

    Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers

  5. Jerry Hopper

    I would like to see the list of the songs that was recorded at Muscle Shoals and the musicians that was there back in the day..

  6. Brenda Dee

    Just bought DVD of Muscle Shoals. So amazed by the music history from there. Wasn’t Hollis Dixon the band we had for so many dances?

  7. Brenda Dee

    Barnes and Noble sells the dvd

  8. Anne Cozart Thomas

    Interesting! not something I learned in Alabama History.

  9. Robert Prince

    Don’t waste your time there.

  10. Thanks to all who share with Muscle Shoals. When my mother was alive and I called her everyday in her nursing home bed, we visited events and travels in our lives together. I miss her. One day she asked my if I remember Muscle Shoals. Yes, I remember being there and she put a name and place to my memory. The pictures today aren’t the pictures of my memory. Does anyone have some very old pictures of swimming and playing there from the 1940’s? I would love to see them at this sight. Thank you. Judi Lichliter, Cortez, Colorado

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