Standing in front of 3614 Jackson Highway, it’s easy to believe that this small brick building was once a coffin factory. It’s a little harder to imagine that it was once one of the most important and prolific recording studios in the world.
“We thought it was an urban myth,” said Judy Hood, chairman of the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation. “During the heyday, I was in junior high and high school and people would come into home room and say ‘Aw, man, Rod Stewart was down in Sheffield at that studio last night!’ and I was like, ‘No he wasn’t!’”
Except, he was. Stewart and just about everybody else – the Rolling Stones, Cher, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, Paul Simon, the Staples Singers, Bob Seger, to name a few – thanks to David Hood, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Beckett and Roger Hawkins, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. By now, you may have seen the 2013 documentary that tells their full story. At the very least, you’ve heard Lynyrd Skynyrd (yes, they recorded here, too) name check them as the Swampers in “Sweet Home Alabama.”