Famed Muscle Shoals record producer Rick Hall dies at 85

Birmingham, Rick Hall, Muscle Shoals
Birmingham, Rick Hall, Muscle Shoals
Rick Hall. Photo via http://wyep.org.

Famed Muscle Shoals record producer and founder of FAME Recording Studios, Rick Hall, died today at the age of 85. His death occurred at his home in Muscle Shoals following a battle with cancer.

“It’s a very, very sad day for Muscle Shoals and music in general,” said Judy Hood, Alabama Music Hall of Fame board member and friend of Hall.

Birmingham, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, FAME, FAME Recording Studios
Rick Hall at FAME Recording Studios. Photo via

Hall founded FAME Recording Studios in northwestern Alabama in 1959 and recorded some of the biggest musical acts of the 1960s and ’70s. He is also responsible for the “Muscle Shoals Sound”.

During his time at FAME, Hall worked with soul and rhythm and blues artists like Arthur Alexander, Jimmy Hughes, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Clarence Carter and Otis Redding. Later in his career, Hall collaborated with mainstream pop acts like the Osmonds, Paul Anka and Tom Jones and country artists like Mac Davis, Jerry Reed, Barbara Mandrell, Shenandoah and Ronnie Milsap.

Birmingham, Muscle Shoals
Rick Hall and Etta James with musicians Gene ‘Bowlegs’ Miller and Billy Foster. Photo via The Telegraph.

Hall was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1985 and dubbed the “Father of Muscle Shoals Music”.

In 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 became well known to a new generation of listeners via his 2013 documentary “Muscle Shoals”, which tells the story of Hall, the region’s musicians and their distinctive, soulful sound that is known for heavy bass, guitar and electronic organ and piano.

Birmingham, Muscle Shoals
Muscle Shoals documentary (2013). Photo via Pinterest.

As news of Hall’s death continues to break, performers and fans have taken to social media to praise Hall and his legacy.

Share your thoughts about the passing of the legendary Rick Hall.