Historic RCA Studio B

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Fred Foster, Roy Orbison, and a Coat Rack

February 15, 2017

RCA Victor opened a studio in 1957 as a recording home for the company’s Nashville artists, but from day one it also was rented out to producers and artists from other record companies. Fred Foster, a young, ambitious producer, launched Monument records in 1958 and began booking sessions at RCA Studio B for Monument artists including Billy Grammer and Jerry Byrd. Roy Orbison, a soft-voiced rockabilly singer from Wink, Texas, had made records for Sam Phillips’s Sun label in Memphis and for Chet Atkins at RCA Victor in Nashville, where he recorded at Studio B, but the songs were not…

Pretty Paper

November 09, 2016

Willie Nelson was not yet a star in 1963, when he signed a recording contract with Fred Foster’s Monument Records, but he had written hit songs, including “Hello Walls” by Faron Young, “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, and “Night Life” by Ray Price. During a meeting with Foster, Nelson sang a sad song he had written, called “Pretty Paper,” about a crippled beggar seeking money on a busy street during the Christmas rush. Foster liked the song and passed it on immediately to Roy Orbison, a Monument recording artist, who was having a string of hit records. Orbison’s version of “Pretty…

Dub Steps: How Elvis Recorded “It’s Now Or Never”

August 16, 2016

When Elvis Presley first recorded at the RCA studio in Nashville that would later be known as RCA Studio B, in June 1958, he was already in the army. In October he would leave for Germany and he would not return until his discharge in March of 1960. The goal of the June ’58 session was to stockpile recordings that could be released while Presley was in the army and  unable to record. In the late 1950s, vocalists and musicians recorded live, in the same room, and at the same time. Getting a perfect take often required multiple attempts. Songs…

Museum Publishes New Book on RCA Studio B

August 01, 2016

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum announces the publication of Home of 1,000 Hits: Nashville’s Historic RCA Studio B. The first major treatment focusing on this Music City landmark, the book provides an insightful overview of Nashville’s rich history as a major recording center. Throughout, artists, producers, engineers, studio musicians, and label executives tell fascinating stories about some of American music’s greatest artists, including Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, and dozens more. Presley cut more than two hundred sides in this magical space, including songs for movie soundtracks, and three albums of critically acclaimed gospel material.  Although…

Chet Atkins’s Lost Album

June 23, 2016

In mid-1958 Chet Atkins was multitasking. He was producing records for big-name acts such as Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Don Gibson, and many other RCA Victor artists. He was also busy making records of his own as an artist. On weekends he appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and occasionally made concert appearances outside of Nashville. He also had been named head of RCA Victor’s Nashville office and had recently opened an RCA studio. While fishing for ideas for his next album, Atkins thought of his brother Jim, who had been a guitarist and vocalist in the Les Paul Trio…

A Visit To Historic RCA Studio B

May 31, 2016

In August 1977, RCA Studio B closed its doors after nearly twenty years as an active recording studio. In the same month, Elvis Presley, one of the studio’s chief clients, died. He recorded 230 songs at the studio, including big hits like “Little Sister” and “It’s Now or Never.” Soon, curious tourists began to seek out the studio where many famous artists recorded. Building owner Dan Maddox allowed the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to give tours of Studio B, and visitors can still tour the studio today. Historic RCA Studio B is one of Nashville’s top attractions. Fans…

Rosemary Clooney Makes a Country Record at RCA’s Nashville Studio

April 26, 2016

Rosemary Clooney was a chart-topping pop singer in the early 1950s. Her recordings ran the gamut, from gentle love ballads to Latin-flavored mambo tunes and even country favorites. Clooney’s hits include “Come On-a My House,” “Tenderly,” “Hey There,” and “This Old House.” In 1951, she had a #1 pop hit with a cover of Hank Williams’s “Half as Much.” Clooney grew up in Maysville, Kentucky, where she heard all types of music, including country. The singer once wrote, “I honestly do like all kinds of songs, but I can’t fight the fact that I grew up in country music country.…

Elvis Presley and “How Great Thou Art”

March 24, 2016

“How Great Thou Art” is a Swedish hymn, translated into English in 1949 by Stuart K. Hine. The song gained notoriety when it was performed by George Beverly Shea on a Billy Graham crusade in 1957, and it eventually found its way into hymnals and onto recordings. Accounts vary as to whether Elvis Presley knew the hymn when he chose songs for his second full-length gospel album. One story goes that his friends Charlie Hodge and Red West auditioned a version for Presley by western harmony specialists the Sons of the Pioneers. Though known as the “king of rock &…

A Gift From Zac Brown

November 23, 2015

In September 2015, RCA Studio B received a special gift from Zac Brown and his Southern Ground Studio, located just up the street from Studio B. The gift was a Neve recording console. This is very exciting, because Neve makes some of the best recording consoles in the world, and its expense would make it difficult for Studio B to purchase. In addition, the console greatly enhances our current work in rebuilding and restoring the Studio B control room, with the goal of making it a fully functional studio—a status it has not enjoyed since Belmont University stopped using the…

Grand Ole Opry Star And Country Music Hall Of Fame Inductee Jim Ed Brown Has Died

June 12, 2015

Jim Ed Brown, a star of the Grand Ole Opry for more than fifty years and a newly elected member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, died June 11, 2015, at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, TN, after battling cancer. Mr. Brown scored major country hits as a solo artist, as a duet singer, and as a member of the Browns with his sisters Maxine and Bonnie. The Browns’ 1959 crossover smash, “The Three Bells,” topped Billboard’s country chart for ten consecutive weeks, and it spent four weeks atop Billboard’s all-genre singles chart. “If you listen to the Browns,…