Rick Hall—producer, songwriter, and co-founder of FAME publishing and studios—has passed away at the age of 85.
The site of legendary songs by by Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Joe Tex, Etta James, Tom Jones, Mac Davis and many more, FAME has remained a vital hub for music makers for nearly 60 years, and Hall is considered to be one of the architects of the Muscle Shoals sound. Numerous tracks recorded at FAME featured guitarist Duane Allman, who famously camped outside the studio until Rick Hall invited him in and the two began a long-term musical friendship.
Hall helped to launch the careers of other great producers and studio owners, as well as artists. As a case in point, the first house rhythm section at FAME included Norbert Putnam, Peanut Montgomery, Jerry Carrigan and David Briggs. And the second rhythm section to be hired by Hall moved on to open Muscle Shoals Sound.
Over the years, Hall divested himself of the FAME publishing catalog, but later started a new publishing company with his sons while continuing to own and operate the studio
More recent notable sessions at FAME include Jason Isbell’s debut and Bettye Lavette’s Grammy-nominated album Scene of the Crime.
Hall, who was nominated for the Producer of the Year Grammy in 1970, received the Academy’s Trustees Award in 2014.
Rick Hall was on hand when Gregg Allman recorded his final album, Southern Blood, at FAME. Hall is survived by his wife; sons Rick Jr., Rodney and Mark; and a lifetime of great songs and recordings.