Your next stop offers another opportunity to celebrate Alabama's Year of Music as you travel to the northwest corner of Alabama to the four adjacent cities of Florence, Sheffield, Tuscumbia and Muscles Shoals. Starting in the 1960s, top artists from around the world including Aretha Franklin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rod Stewart and the Rolling Stones recorded their music in Alabama making Muscle Shoals the "Hit Recording Capital of the World." You can tour the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the historic recording studios of FAME and the Jackson Highway location of Muscle Shoals Sound.
The most complete understanding of music in Alabama can be found at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia where memorabilia from careers of Alabamians such as Lionel Richie, Emmylou Harris, the group ALABAMA, The Commodores, Nat King Cole, W.C. Handy, Hank Williams and others are found. The Hall of Fame has its own small recording studio where you can sing over pre recorded songs from the Muscles Shoals Sound era. The Muscle Shoals area had its first international smash with Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves A Woman" recorded at Quin Ivy's Studios in Sheffield. Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield is also a part of the music history of the area.
Born in Florence, Sam Phillips became a producer, record label owner and the talent scout who is credited with discovering both Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Phillips is also regarded as the Founding Father of Rock 'n Roll. Be sure to check out The Swampers Lounge at the Marriot Shoals Hotel & Spa.
The Father of the Blues, W.C.Handy, was also born in Florence. Handy's birthplace, a simple log cabin, is part of the W.C. Handy Home and Museum. Each year, the Shoals area hosts music festivals honoring both Phillips and Handy.