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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 come from all over the world, and often book their Historic RCA Studio B tours well in advance of their visits. Many arrive knowing already about the studio’s history. They are eager to stand where Floyd Cramer recorded “Last Date” or where Jim Reeves sang “He’ll Have to Go.” They know that Elvis Presley recorded his Grammy-winning performance of “How Great Thou Art,” and Porter and Dolly’s harmonies rang out in Studio B.

Some visitors, however, tour Historic RCA Studio B with little or no knowledge of the studio or its history. They book a tour because it is a key Nashville attraction or they have heard or read about the tour. Once they have taken the tour, they often feel overwhelmed by the breadth of recordings that came out of the small but important studio.

Visitors love to take pictures throughout the studio, and especially in front of the Steinway piano. They post their memories on Twitter and Instagram along with comments about how special they thought the tour was. Many become emotional near the end of the tour, when the lights are lowered and Elvis Presley’s voice comes through the studio’s sound system. A recent reviewer on the website www.tripadvisor.com stated “I was moved to tears when we heard ‘ Are You Lonesome Tonight?’ in the dark just as Elvis had stood there and recorded it.”

Tours run daily and can be purchased as part of the Platinum Package at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. 

—Michael Manning

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