MUSCLE SHOALS, ALA. (CelebrityAccess) Rick Hall, 85, Alabama record producer known for helping to develop the “Muscle Shoals sound,” died Dec. 2 after a long fight with cancer and a return from a nursing home. Hall was best known as the owner and proprietor of FAME studios in Muscle shoals, Ala., and, as “Father of Muscle Shoals Music,” recorded some of the biggest names in music like Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and Etta James.
Hall, a former factory worker and musician in the group The Fairlanes, began his successful recording career as a songwriter, with his songs recorded by George Jones, Brenda Lee and Roy Orbison. In 1959, Hall and Fairlanes saxophonist Billy Sherrill built a publishing company called Florence Alabama Music Enterprises, or FAME, with Hall eventually becoming sole owner. He built FAME Studios where he began recording hits for acts like Tommy Roe, Joe Tex, and The Tams.
In 1966, he helped license “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge, produced hit records for acts like Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, Redding, and Franklin, and produced many sessions using Duane Allman as guitarist, plus produced many recordings for Etta James. By 1969, he was producing pop hits for acts like Donny Osmond, Paul Anka, Mac Davis and Tom Jones. By the time it was all said and done, Hall had been named Producer of the Year by Billboard in 1971, had a Grammy nomination, and his publishing staff wrote some of the biggest country hits of the 1980s and 1990s.
His life and career were featured in the 2013 documentary “Muscle Shoals.”
Below are just a few of the tributes so far.
Rick Hall and his family gave me my first job in the music business, and nobody in the industry ever worked harder than Rick. Nobody. American music wouldn’t be the same without his contributions. His death is a huge loss to those of us who knew him and those who didn’t.
— Jason Isbellgrande (@JasonIsbell) January 2, 2018
We lost another great one … RIP Rick Hall, the owner of FAME Studios … you will be missed. pic.twitter.com/aaR71UcJ1q
— Allman Brothers Band (@allmanbrothers) January 3, 2018
Two giants. RIP musical ringmaster Rick Hall, who died today. Here he signs up the genius Duane Allman as a session musician. pic.twitter.com/gvgUzNQxUY
— Danny Kelly (@dannykellywords) January 2, 2018
Fitting that the loss of my hero and friend Rick Hall would finally galvanize this idea I’ve had for a while…I’m going to commit to recording a video each week all year of a song by a hero of mine that’s STILL WITH US. Some you’ll know, many you won’t – and that’s the idea
— John Paul White (@johnpaulwhite) January 2, 2018
— rosanne cash (@rosannecash) January 2, 2018
Deeply saddened by the passing of Rick Hall today. He helped shape the face of music forever & in doing so, helped shape me as a person & musician. My thoughts & gratitude are with Rodney & all the FAME Family. pic.twitter.com/MchHyP5kmX
— Anderson East (@Andersoneast) January 2, 2018
R.I.P. Fame Studios’ Rick Hall, the man who put Muscle Shoals on the map. His story has a lot to do with the development of soul, R&B and pop music in America. pic.twitter.com/HJgLbiG5LT
— Cary Baker/conqueroo (@Conqueroo1) January 2, 2018
— Americana Music (@AmericanaFest) January 2, 2018
Without Rick Hall, there would be no Candi Staton… He was not only my producer but one of my best friends and I’m going to miss him… pic.twitter.com/XkJKjde7rs
— Candi Staton (@IamCandiStaton) January 2, 2018
I am sorry to hear about the passing of the “Father of Muscle Shoals Music”, Rick Hall. He was truly a music legend and one of Alabama’s stars. He will surely be missed.
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) January 2, 2018
So sad to hear of the great #RickHall’s passing today. 😢 Champion of the #MuscleShoals sound and some of the greatest music ever made. It was an honor to work with him on some of my records, and to watch him work with my brothers as well. #RIP @Fame_Music pic.twitter.com/kMmsp6KFGD
— Marie Osmond (@marieosmond) January 3, 2018
Rick Hall: You will be missed, my friend. (Photo: Levi’s / Billy Reid collab 2010.) You had a vision and tenacity to make some of the best records of our lifetime, all from Muscle Shoals. With love and respect, you will live on. Peace. pic.twitter.com/SlFj2hMrz2
— Billy Reid (@billy_reid) January 2, 2018
RIP Rick Hall. Rick had a way of discovering and developing talent like no other and creating music that absolutely helped shape my musical taste & appreciation. I’m forever grateful to have grown up in the shadows of him and so many others who have left an incredible legacy! pic.twitter.com/hXwD37lvxl
— Shoalsville Music (@Shoalsville) January 2, 2018