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History

The Past

Historic RCA Studio B-once the recording home of popular music titans such as Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, and the Everly Brothers is both a classroom for Nashville area students and a popular cultural attraction.

Following the Mike Curb Family Foundation’s philanthropic 2002 purchase and subsequent lease in perpetuity to the non-profit Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, the storied studio’s exterior has been renovated and the interior has been returned to its 1970s-era prime as an analog “temple of sound.”

Built by Dan Maddox in 1957, RCA Studio B first became known as one of the cradles of the “Nashville Sound” in the 1960s. A sophisticated style characterized by background vocals and strings, the Nashville Sound both revived the popularity of country music and helped establish Nashville as an international recording center.

Hitmakers in Studio B have included Eddy Arnold, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, Dolly Parton, Jim Reeves, Willie Nelson, and Floyd Cramer, among others. For many years, Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Chet Atkins managed RCA’s Nashville operation and produced hundreds of hits in Studio B.

Studio B has also been home to numerous innovations in recording practices, including the development of the “Nashville number system,” a musician’s shorthand for notating a song’s chord structure, which facilitates the creation of individual parts while retaining the integrity of the song.

First made available to Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum visitors in 1977, RCA Studio B was donated to the Museum by the late Dan and Margaret Maddox in 1992. It was operated as an attraction until shortly before the opening of the Museum’s new downtown facility in 2001.

The Present

The studio has begun a new life as a:

  • Cultural attraction for visitors, who can become acquainted with the studio's place in the evolution of Nashville as the Music City.
  • Classroom for Nashville-area middle and high school students, learning the science of sound and recording technology;

Partners

Preservation of Historic RCA Studio B is made possible through a partnership between the Mike Curb Family Foundation and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. In 2002, the foundation philanthropically purchased Historic RCA Studio B, making it possible for the Museum to provide Studio tours in support of its educational mission.

Historic RCA Studio B is supported, in part, by City National Bank, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, Sally Friedman, Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, Rupert Neve Designs, Clarence and Ann Spalding, Chris and Maggie Stewart, Tennessee Arts Commission, and Jonathan and Elizabeth Weiswasser.

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