Loss of a Legend
Legendary producer, studio owner and music master Rick Hall passed away Tuesday due to a protracted illness that had caused his health to decline over recent months. He was 85 years old. This saddening news was first reported (fittingly) by the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. It was later confirmed by Judy Hood, Chairperson for the Muscle Shoals Music Association, who is also married to renowned bass player David Hood whom recorded for decades with Rick. Founder, Engineer, and Producer of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Rick Hall and the incredible amount of talent he hired as his session bands over the years
have a credits list that gives even Motown a run for its money. Making sterling contributions to RnB/Soul, Country, and Rock. Rick produced, engineered and often discovered groundbreaking acts such as Aretha Franklin, Arthur Alexander, Otis Redding, and Etta James, as well as cut tracks with The Rolling Stones (so they could hone the “Muscle Shoals Sound”) and The Allman Brothers Band. Rick Hall was equally skilled when not behind the desk, with songs written by him being cut by George Jones, Roy Orbison, and Brenda Lee early in his career, in addition to composition credits including Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Gov’t Mule.
"Where it All Started"
He was also an extremely talented publisher, starting off on the almost unfathomably positive note of licensing “When a Man Loves a Woman” to Atlantic Records in 1966. In 2014, Rick Hall was presented the Grammy Trustees Award for his contribution to the field of recording and he was the 1971 Billboard Magazine Producer of the Year. The credits and accomplishments go on and on and on. Coming from extremely humble beginnings and using a combination of “golden ears” and an unbreakable work ethic, there are a precious few to look up to with as worthy an eye as Rick Hall. The contributions he made to the industry as a whole, specifically to RnB/Soul, will live on eternally. The Story of FAME Studios and the “Muscle Shoals Sound” was brilliantly documented in the 2013 film simply titled Muscle Shoals, and focuses heavily on Rick’s life. If you record, play, engineer, produce or even just regularly listen to music I highly recommend checking it out.