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How To Work In A Music Store

Hello friends,
Carolyn recently reached out to us exploring ways to improve our role at Music and Arts. I felt I would do better organizing my thoughts in print than I would talking to you. First, I commend Carolyn for communicating with us. I have been with MA more than 5 years and it is the first time management has asked for my opinion regarding the store. I would like to give you my thoughts about how to work in a music store. Please understand I am not saying you are or are not doing the things I will mention. In fact, I am only at the store two days a week and I am teaching in the back room usually so I don’t observe your interaction very much. These are simply my ideas, nothing more.

First, I would like to say a few words about how I got where I am today. I graduated high school in May of 1973. In July I got a job at Armco Steel as a laborer. I also started taking guitar lessons and studying music at the local college. About a year later I joined an apprenticeship program at Armco Steel to become a motor inspector (electrician) at Armco. I graduated the program in 78 but the entire time I was still taking guitar lessons and studying music. I did not like working at Armco and I wanted to have a career in music. In 1979 I answered an ad in the Greensheet, a local newspaper, (no internet in those days) for a music store needing a part time guitar teacher. I answered the ad and got the job. The store was Garlands Music on I45 next to a new small furniture store called Gallery Furniture. It was a family business owned by Elaine and Gene Garland, a brother and sister team. After a few months of teaching Elaine asked me to work for her full time as a salesman. I accepted the position. There was an economic bust in the early 80s and many businesses folded, including ours. I was laid off, but I got a job as a salesman at another music store. In 1984 Elaine and Gene opened the store again but this time in Humble. Elaine offered me a sales position again but I told her I wanted to teach instead. She hired me as a teacher. I have been doing that full time since then. I said all that just to say I have been in a music store most of my life.

The following is what I have learned. I don’t claim that I do these things perfectly, but I know I should.

Communication: We need to communicate with people. Something that Elaine taught me is people love to talk about themselves. If someone plays guitar they love talking about the guitar they own or want to own. They love talking about their passions. We need to try our best to know our customers. Learn their names. How do we do this? If a young man or woman walks up to the counter with guitar strings you know they or someone in their family plays guitar. That gives you the opportunity to get to know them. Here are some questions you may ask. Do you play guitar or are these for someone else? How long have you been playing? What style of music do you like? Are you in a band? Do you take lessons? We have teachers here if you need lessons. Carolyn does repairs if you need help. What is your name? My name is Brian. Get to know your customers. Most of my best friends are people I have met in the music store.

Create an atmosphere: When I was young, I bought my first good guitar at Parker’s Music in Pasadena. There was a young man about my age that was a salesman. When I came in there he knew me by name. He was hip. He always knew about the newest hot song and he knew about old hot songs also. He kept a record player going and the record that was playing would be propped up on the counter so you knew what was playing. He was an authority to me and his love for music inspired me. When I needed picks or strings I was going to go to him because I liked him. I remember once I had a gig with a band and he came to see us and visit with us afterward.

If I were in charge of music at the store I would attempt to have quality music playing constantly. It may be Django Reinhardt from the 30s, Chet Atkins from the 50s, The Beatles from the 60s, Bruno Mars, or something current. Try to have historically significant and interesting music playing continually.

Know your products: The history of Gibson and Fender is amazing. There is a great book called The Birth of Loud that discusses the rise of Fender and Gibson. They started the guitar craze. Understanding the history gives you talking points with your customers. I recently made a list of 15 great movies relating to music. I can share those with you if you like. Here it is: 15 great movies.

First impression: When someone is shopping for a guitar and the salesman picks up a guitar, and strums a chord, that is the most important moment. It can mean a sale or a lost sale. If the guitar is out of tune the customer is not impressed. I can’t over emphasize how important it is to have the guitars always in tune and clean. When there are no customers in the store we should be cleaning and tuning all of the instruments. You only get one first impression! If the customer hears music coming from the instrument instantly that is likely to make the sale.

Being available: Typically, our interaction with a new customer may be something like this: (me) Can I help you? (customer) No thanks, I am just looking. He may just be looking but you still need to be available. If you resume looking at your cell phone, that sends a message that you are preoccupied and a discussion probably won’t occur. But if you are close by cleaning or arranging guitars you can strike up a conversation and may even make a new friend.

The cell phone: The cell phone really changed everything drastically. If you are going to look at the cell phone while you are on the clock, it really should be kept to a minimum.

Doing your very best: Working for MA is different than being self-employed. We rarely meet the people that are in upper management. It may feel like we are just here to get a check but the truth is that this kind of thinking has the potential of ruining our whole career. Conversely, doing our very best has an array of benefits to us.

First, when we care for what we do, we also get to enjoy what we do and our life becomes more pleasant. When we try to get better at what we do, our job turns into a personal training course where we learn from our own experience as well as from what others do and from our interaction with them. We’re not burning time but we’re using it for our own personal growth and benefit.

If we pay close attention to what we are doing, we get to know who is who, and we develop relationships that may become important to us and might last forever. And foremost, when we do our best, we create a reputation that is going to be with us wherever we go. Not only our former boss can give us a future recommendation, but random people who observe what we do may also give information about us or even may come to us with unexpected offers. When new opportunities arrive, the people in charge of filling up positions think first of those they know or may ask their friends if they know someone with such characteristics. And if we have made an impression on our clients, and we have developed a relationship with them, they may come back to us and take us to higher levels in our career. So, when we are helping a costumer or even a random shopper, we never know if that interaction could eventually be considered an interview.

Your word: Make sure your word is good as gold. If you tell someone you are going to call them, make sure you do that. Make people know they can count on you. You will do very well if you always keep your word.

Exceeding expectations: If you are ordering something for someone and it takes three days but sometimes five, tell the customer you can have it in five days. If it comes in three days they are happy because it came early. But if it is late they will be annoyed. Try to exceed their expectations.

Knowing your products: You can find reviews of everything on YouTube etc. You need to be an authority on your products. Customers need someone to help them selecting the correct product to fit their needs. If they see that you are knowledgeable they will come to you, a trusted source. They want someone to help them make the correct choice. If they don’t find that resource in you, they may go somewhere else to find it.

Talking points: WHEN A CUSTOMER LEAVES THEY SHOULD KNOW ABOUT EVERYTHING WE HAVE TO OFFER. This is the biggest thing I learned from Elaine. She had a list of talking points every customer heard when they walked in the door. When you left you knew everything the store had to offer.

Here is a checklist of few things we offer, and we need to tell every costumer:

One free trial lesson
Lessons for every instrument: Elaine also talked about the teachers and their experience. (Of course, I loved that).
Band rentals
Discount offers
Upcoming sales
Upcoming events

Manners and appreciation: Good manners are essential. When someone makes a purchase, always say thank you, at least. It is nice to add “We appreciate your business.” I am old enough to remember when it was considered rude if you didn’t do this. It feels awkward to me when I buy something from someone and they don’t express gratitude for doing business with them. Here is a short story for you. One day I was in my yard when the garbage truck drove up to pick up my garbage. One of the workers jumped out of the truck and walked over to me and said, “I just want to thank you for doing business with us. If it weren’t for you we wouldn’t have a job”. I shook his hand and thanked him. I was so impressed by him. When I am in the yard and they pass we always wave to each other. I like doing business with him. I feel I am doing business with a friend.

Stress and insecurity: When business is not going well people become stressed about their finances. Stress makes us irritable. We may become irritable with people around us and be easily annoyed. I remember one day I was driving on the freeway in route to see someone close to me in the hospital. My mind was occupied with that and I changed lanes in front of a car accidentally. The driver was very irate and shouted a few choice words my direction. I thought to myself you never know what someone is going through. So always be kind to people regardless of how they treat you. If you are kind you may diffuse a tense situation. If someone is cranky it is most likely not something you have done. It is something in their life not relating to you at all, so don’t read into it as something you have or haven’t done.

Music Students: Students come in once per week. They should get to know the staff and become friends. They might come to you to ask questions or buy accessories. Try to get to know them well and use those opportunities to become a trusted source, so when they need help, they will want to come to you.

Summary: Communicate. Know your customers. Make friends with them. Know your products. Be a reliable source. Keep your word always. Have good manners. Express appreciation. HAVE TALKING POINTS CONVEYING EVERYTHING WE HAVE TO OFFER TO EVERY ONE THAT WALKS THROUGH THE DOOR.

Thanks for taking time to read this, Brian Turner


Ok, I admit it… I used AI to help me with the following part. Nevertheless, it is accurate and if we know it well, we could use it as a subject of conversation with costumers. It would make them reflect about the benefits of taking music lessons, and feel the need for it. Then, we have to make sure to offer the service in order to fulfill that need.

The Benefits of Music Lessons
Music lessons can significantly accelerate your learning rate. Also, music instruction guides you to learn the right way so that you don’t have to go back and re-learn.

Here are some great reasons why music education is beneficial for you or your child:

Cognitive Benefits:

Improved Memory: Learning and playing music involves memorizing patterns, notes, and rhythms, which can enhance overall memory skills.
Enhanced Brain Function: Playing an instrument engages multiple areas of the brain, promoting neural connections and cognitive development.

Emotional Benefits:

Stress Reduction: Music has the power to evoke emotions and can serve as a therapeutic outlet, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
Expression of Creativity: Learning an instrument allows individuals to express themselves creatively, fostering a sense of accomplishment and self-discovery.

Motor Skills Development:

Fine Motor Skills: Playing instruments involves precise finger movements and coordination, contributing to the development of fine motor skills.

Discipline and Patience:

Practice and Persistence: Learning to play an instrument requires consistent practice, teaching discipline and patience as students work towards mastery over time.

Social Benefits:

Collaboration: Group lessons or ensemble performances provide opportunities for collaboration and teamwork.
Communication Skills: Music often involves communication through non-verbal cues, contributing to improved communication skills.

Academic Improvement:

Enhanced Academic Performance: Some studies suggest a positive correlation between music education and academic achievement, particularly in areas such as math and language.

Boosted Self-Esteem:

Sense of Achievement: Mastering a musical piece or skill provides a sense of accomplishment, boosting self-esteem and confidence.

Cultural Awareness:

Exposure to Diversity: Learning different styles of music exposes individuals to diverse cultures and traditions, fostering cultural awareness.

Lifelong Learning:

Continuous Growth: Music is a lifelong learning journey that encourages individuals to continue learning and growing throughout their lives.

Enjoyment and Recreation:

Personal Fulfillment: Playing music can be a source of joy and personal fulfillment, contributing to overall well-being.

In summary, music lessons offer a holistic approach to personal development, encompassing cognitive, emotional, and social aspects of well-being. Whether for personal enjoyment or pursuing a professional career in music, the benefits of music education can extend far beyond the music itself.

15 Great Movies For The Music Lover

I am a big fan of the music from the 20th century. From the swing era of the early years to the progressive rock of later years. It may be because I was born in the middle of the century (1954) and growing up with this music made me a bit biased. But for me, the 20th century was the golden era of music.

I have created a list with brief summaries called 15 Movies For The Music Lover. If you have favorite movies, books, or documentaries, I would love to hear from you. You can email me at Enjoy!

1. The Wrecking Crew

“The Wrecking Crew” is a documentary film released in 2008 that explores the work of a group of session musicians in Los Angeles during the 1960s. These musicians, known as “The Wrecking Crew,” played on numerous hit songs and albums by popular artists of the time, including The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, The Byrds, and many others. The documentary highlights their contribution to the music industry, shedding light on the uncredited studio musicians who played a significant role in shaping the sound of the era. The film features interviews with some of the original Wrecking Crew members and showcases their remarkable musical talents and impact on the music of the 1960s. There is also a book by the same name that is even better!

2. Standing In The Shadows Of Motown

“Standing in the Shadows of Motown” is a documentary film released in 2002. The film pays tribute to The Funk Brothers, a group of uncredited musicians who played the instrumental background music for most of Motown Records’ 1960s hits. The documentary combines interviews with surviving Funk Brothers, re-enactments, and archival footage to tell the story of these talented musicians. It explores their significant contributions to the Motown sound, highlighting their creativity and influence on popular music. The film also features contemporary artists performing classic Motown songs, showcasing the timeless appeal of the Funk Brothers’ music. “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” celebrates the unsung heroes behind some of the greatest hits in the history of soul and R&B music.

3. Muscle Shoals

“Muscle Shoals” is a documentary film released in 2013 that explores the rich musical history of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a small town on the banks of the Tennessee River. The film delves into the story of FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, two recording studios that became legendary for producing some of the most iconic songs and albums in the history of American music. The documentary features interviews with renowned artists, producers, and studio musicians, including Aretha Franklin, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Bono, among others. It highlights the unique sound and creative energy of Muscle Shoals that attracted musicians from various genres, including rock, soul, and country. “Muscle Shoals” showcases the cultural impact of the studios and their influence on shaping the sound of popular music during the 1960s and 1970s.

4. Jazz

Ken Burns’ documentary series on jazz, simply titled “Jazz,” is a comprehensive exploration of the history and evolution of this uniquely American musical genre. The series, which originally aired in 2001, spans 10 episodes and covers the origins of jazz in New Orleans, its migration to major cities like Chicago and New York, and its transformation through various styles and movements.

Through interviews, archival footage, photographs, and recordings, the documentary chronicles the lives of legendary jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. It delves into the social and cultural contexts in which jazz emerged, addressing issues such as racism, segregation, and the civil rights movement. The series also explores the fusion of jazz with other genres, including blues, swing, bebop, and fusion.

“Jazz” provides a comprehensive overview of the genre’s history, highlighting its impact on American culture and its enduring influence on music worldwide. The documentary offers viewers a deep understanding of the artistry, innovation, and cultural significance of jazz music. There is also a book by the same name that is even better!

 5. Riverdance

“Riverdance” is a theatrical show that originated as an interval performance during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. It quickly gained worldwide popularity and was later developed into a full-length stage production. The show is known for its mesmerizing fusion of Irish traditional dance and music with modern influences.

The story revolves around the journey of Irish dance and its evolution over time. Through a series of energetic dance routines and musical performances, the show celebrates Irish culture, showcasing the skill and precision of the performers. “Riverdance” has become famous for its synchronized dance sequences, vibrant costumes, and powerful music, captivating audiences around the globe. The production has contributed significantly to the popularization of Irish dance and music on the international stage. There are many versions available as the performers changed over the years. My favorite is  the 1995 version with Michael Flatley and Jean Butler. You can probably find it for free on YouTube.

6. Sweet And Lowdown
“Sweet and Lowdown” is a 1999 comedy-drama film directed by Woody Allen. The movie is set in the 1930s and tells the story of Emmet Ray, a talented but eccentric jazz guitarist played by Sean Penn. Despite his exceptional musical skills, Emmet is also deeply flawed, with a penchant for gambling and womanizing. The film explores his turbulent love life, particularly his complicated relationship with a mute woman named Hattie, played by Samantha Morton.

Throughout the film, Emmet grapples with his personal demons while striving to achieve greatness as a musician. The story combines elements of romance, comedy, and drama, offering a glimpse into the world of jazz music during the Great Depression era. “Sweet and Lowdown” is notable for its exploration of the complexities of artistic talent and the flawed nature of its protagonist. Although the movie is fiction, the soundtrack is wonderful and it pays homage to the legendary Django Reinhartd.

7. Oh Brother Where Art Thou?
“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is a 2000 comedy film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Loosely based on Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey,” the film is set in Mississippi during the Great Depression. It follows three escaped convicts, Ulysses Everett McGill (played by George Clooney), Pete Hogwallop (played by John Turturro), and Delmar O’Donnell (played by Tim Blake Nelson), as they embark on a journey to find hidden treasure.

Along the way, the trio encounters a series of peculiar characters and faces various challenges, mirroring the adventures of Odysseus in the ancient Greek epic. The film incorporates elements of Southern folklore, bluegrass music, and surreal comedy, creating a unique and visually striking cinematic experience. The soundtrack, featuring traditional folk and bluegrass music, became particularly popular and contributed to the film’s cultural impact. “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is known for its witty dialogue, memorable characters, and distinctive blend of humor and mythology.

8. Respect Yourself

Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion is a book written by Robert Gordon, published in 2013. The movie version can be found on YouTube. The book chronicles the history of Stax Records, a renowned soul music label based in Memphis, Tennessee. Gordon explores the rise of Stax during the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on the artists, producers, and staff members who contributed to its success.

The book delves into the social and cultural context of the time, highlighting the racial tensions and challenges faced by African American musicians and entrepreneurs. It also provides in-depth profiles of Stax artists like Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MG’s, and Isaac Hayes, shedding light on their musical contributions and the impact of their work on the soul music genre.

“Respect Yourself” captures the spirit of the civil rights era and the power of music in bringing people together. It celebrates the legacy of Stax Records and its role in shaping the sound of soul music during a transformative period in American history.

9. This Might Get Loud

“This Might Get Loud” is a documentary film released in 2008, directed by Davis Guggenheim. The movie brings together three iconic guitarists from different generations and musical backgrounds: Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, The Edge of U2, and Jack White of The White Stripes.

The film explores the artists’ personal musical journeys, their unique approaches to playing the guitar, and the impact of their music on popular culture. It delves into their individual creative processes, showcasing their passion for the instrument and the ways in which they developed their distinctive styles. Through interviews, discussions, and jam sessions, “This Might Get Loud” offers viewers a deep insight into the artistry and innovation behind these legendary musicians, making it a must-watch for music enthusiasts and fans of these iconic guitarists.

10. Crossroads

“Crossroads” is a 1986 musical drama film directed by Walter Hill. The story revolves around Eugene Martone, a young and talented classical guitarist played by Ralph Macchio. Eugene is obsessed with mastering the blues guitar and embarks on a journey to find his idol, blues musician Willie Brown (played by Joe Seneca).On his journey, Eugene encounters a former blues guitarist named Jack Butler (played by Steve Vai), and they engage in a musical duel, with Eugene’s soul and talent at stake. The movie combines elements of music, drama, and coming-of-age themes as Eugene faces challenges, learns valuable life lessons, and discovers the true essence of music.

“Crossroads” is notable for its captivating guitar performances and the exploration of the blues genre’s significance in American musical history.

11. Cadillac Records

“Cadillac Records” is a 2008 musical biographical film that chronicles the rise of Chess Records, a Chicago-based record label, in the 1950s and 1960s. The movie focuses on the lives of several iconic musicians, including Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Chuck Berry, Etta James, and Howlin’ Wolf, who were signed to the label. It explores their individual struggles, successes, and the impact they had on the music industry during that era. The film delves into the challenges faced by these artists, including racism, exploitation, and personal demons, while highlighting their contributions to the evolution of rock and roll and blues music.

12. La Bamba

“La Bamba” is a 1987 biographical film that tells the story of Ritchie Valens, a young Chicano rock ‘n’ roll musician who rose to fame in the late 1950s. The film follows Ritchie’s humble beginnings in a Mexican-American family, his passion for music, and his journey to stardom. Despite facing various challenges, including racial discrimination and poverty, Ritchie’s talent and determination lead him to record hit songs like “La Bamba” and “Donna.” The movie also explores his complex relationship with his brother Bob and his romance with Donna Ludwig. Tragically, Ritchie’s promising career is cut short when he dies in a plane crash at the age of 17, along with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper, in 1959. “La Bamba” celebrates Ritchie Valens’ musical legacy and the impact he made on the rock ‘n’ roll genre.

13. Get Back

“Get Back” is a documentary series directed by Peter Jackson. The series, released in November 2021, chronicles the making of The Beatles’ final studio album, “Let It Be,” in 1969. It provides an intimate and in-depth look at the band’s creative process, capturing their recording sessions, rehearsals, and conversations in the studio. The documentary showcases the challenges and tensions within the band during that period, as well as moments of camaraderie and musical brilliance. Through previously unreleased footage and audio recordings, “Get Back” offers fans a unique insight into The Beatles’ dynamic and the making of one of their most iconic albums.

14. Across The Universe

“Across the Universe” is a 2007 musical film directed by Julie Taymor. Set in the 1960s, the movie is a romantic musical that uses The Beatles’ songs to tell the story of a young British man named Jude and an American girl named Lucy. Jude travels to the United States to find his estranged father and becomes friends with Lucy and her brother Max. The film explores their experiences and relationships against the backdrop of the turbulent 1960s, touching on themes such as love, friendship, social and political unrest, and the Vietnam War. The characters’ journeys are interwoven with imaginative musical sequences featuring iconic Beatles songs, creating a visually stunning and emotionally charged cinematic experience.

15. West Side Story

“West Side Story,” released in 1961, is a musical film directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, based on the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim. The story is a modern adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet,” set in the 1950s in New York City. The film is celebrated for its compelling story, memorable musical numbers, and impressive choreography.



Songs with The Wrecking Crew

The Wrecking Crew, as a group of session musicians, played on a vast number of songs for various bands and artists across different genres. Here are some notable songs and bands that featured the Wrecking Crew’s musicians:

  1. The Beach Boys:
    • “Good Vibrations”
    • “California Girls”
    • “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”
  2. The Ronettes:
    • “Be My Baby”
  3. Frank Sinatra:
    • “Strangers in the Night”
  4. Simon & Garfunkel:
    • “Mrs. Robinson”
  5. The Mamas & the Papas:
    • “California Dreamin'”
    • “Monday, Monday”
  6. Sonny & Cher:
    • “The Beat Goes On”
  7. The 5th Dimension:
    • “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”
  8. Elvis Presley:
    • “Viva Las Vegas”
  9. Nancy Sinatra:
    • “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”
  10. The Righteous Brothers:
    • “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”
  11. The Monkees:
    • Many of their early recordings featured Wrecking Crew members.
  12. The Byrds:
    • “Mr. Tambourine Man”
  13. Johnny Rivers:
    • “Secret Agent Man”
  14. Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound Productions:
    • The Wrecking Crew played on many of Spector’s iconic hits, such as “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” by The Righteous Brothers.
  15. Various Film and TV Soundtracks:
    • The Wrecking Crew often played on soundtracks for movies and television shows during that era.

These are just a few examples, and the list of songs and artists that utilized the talents of the Wrecking Crew is extensive. Their ability to adapt to various musical styles and their exceptional skills as session musicians made them a crucial part of many hit recordings from the 1960s and 1970s. Their contributions played a significant role in shaping the sound of popular music during that era.

The Wrecking Crew

The Wrecking Crew was a group of highly talented and versatile session musicians who played on numerous hit records in the 1960s and 1970s. While the lineup of musicians varied depending on the recording session, here are some of the core members of the Wrecking Crew:

  1. Glen Campbell: Before his solo career took off, Glen Campbell was a member of the Wrecking Crew, known for his guitar skills.
  2. Hal Blaine: Hal Blaine was one of the most prolific drummers in the group and played on countless recordings, including those by The Beach Boys, The Ronettes, and many others.
  3. Leon Russell: Leon Russell was a pianist and songwriter who was a key member of the Wrecking Crew. He later had a successful solo career.
  4. Tommy Tedesco: Tommy Tedesco was a versatile guitarist who contributed to many recordings as part of the Wrecking Crew.
  5. Carol Kaye: Carol Kaye was one of the few female members of the group and was known for her exceptional bass guitar skills. She played on numerous hit records.
  6. Larry Knechtel: Larry Knechtel was a talented keyboardist and bass player who contributed to many famous recordings.
  7. Don Randi: Don Randi was a pianist and keyboard player who was a regular member of the group.
  8. Joe Osborn: Joe Osborn was a skilled bassist who played on many classic tracks recorded by the Wrecking Crew.
  9. Glen D. Hardin: Glen D. Hardin was a pianist who worked with Elvis Presley and played a significant role in the Wrecking Crew.
  10. Plas Johnson: Plas Johnson was a saxophonist known for his contributions to various recordings, including the iconic sax solo in “The Pink Panther Theme.”

These musicians, among others, were collectively responsible for providing the instrumental backing on countless hit songs during the heyday of the Wrecking Crew. Their skills and versatility made them some of the most sought-after session musicians in the music industry at the time.

Blues Riff #1 on Rumble Also


The Swampers: Muscle Shoals Studio Musicians

“The Swampers” was the nickname for the house band at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, and it was known for its exceptional musicianship and contributions to countless hit recordings. The core members of The Swampers included:

  1. Barry Beckett (Keyboards): Barry Beckett was a talented keyboardist and one of the co-founders of Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. He played keyboards on many recordings and produced several tracks as well.
  2. Roger Hawkins (Drums): Roger Hawkins was the studio’s primary drummer and a co-founder of The Swampers. His impeccable drumming can be heard on numerous classic tracks.
  3. Jimmy Johnson (Guitar): Jimmy Johnson was the studio’s primary guitarist. His guitar work added a distinctive sound to many recordings made at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.
  4. David Hood (Bass): David Hood was the studio’s primary bassist and a key member of The Swampers. His solid bass lines were an integral part of the Muscle Shoals sound.

These four musicians formed the core of The Swampers, but there were also other talented musicians who occasionally worked with them or filled in when needed. The Swampers’ rhythm section played a pivotal role in creating the soulful and distinctive sound that made Muscle Shoals Sound Studio famous.


Musicians That Recorded At Muscle Shoals

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, located in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, has been a legendary recording facility that attracted a wide range of musicians and bands over the years. Some of the notable musicians and acts that recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio include:

  1. Aretha Franklin: Aretha Franklin recorded some of her classic hits at Muscle Shoals, including “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.”
  2. The Rolling Stones: The Rolling Stones recorded several songs for their “Sticky Fingers” album at Muscle Shoals, including “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses.”
  3. Lynyrd Skynyrd: The southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded their iconic track “Free Bird” at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.
  4. Wilson Pickett: The soul and R&B legend Wilson Pickett recorded numerous hits at the studio, including “Mustang Sally” and “Land of 1000 Dances.”
  5. Percy Sledge: Percy Sledge recorded his timeless ballad “When a Man Loves a Woman” at Muscle Shoals.
  6. The Allman Brothers Band: The Allman Brothers Band recorded some tracks for their early albums at the studio.
  7. Bob Seger: Bob Seger recorded his hit song “Old Time Rock and Roll” at Muscle Shoals.
  8. Paul Simon: Paul Simon recorded part of his critically acclaimed album “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” at the studio.
  9. Traffic: The British rock band Traffic recorded part of their album “Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory” at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.
  10. Etta James: The renowned blues and soul singer Etta James also recorded at the studio.

These are just a few examples, as many other artists and bands visited Muscle Shoals Sound Studio to take advantage of its unique sound and talented house band, known as “The Swampers.” The studio played a significant role in shaping the sound of numerous hit records across various genres during the 1960s and 1970s.

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio is a historic recording studio located in Sheffield, Alabama, United States. It gained significant recognition in the music industry for its unique sound and its contributions to the creation of numerous hit songs across various genres. The studio’s location near the Tennessee River contributed to its distinctive “Muscle Shoals sound,” characterized by a blend of rock, soul, and R&B elements.

The studio was founded in the late 1960s by a group of session musicians known as “The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section,” also referred to as “The Swampers.” These musicians had previously worked at FAME Studios, another well-known recording studio in the Muscle Shoals area. However, they decided to start their own studio to have more creative control over their work.

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio gained prominence for hosting recording sessions for numerous legendary artists and bands, including:

  1. Aretha Franklin: She recorded her classic album “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” at the studio, including the iconic song “Respect.”
  2. The Rolling Stones: The band recorded portions of their album “Sticky Fingers” at the studio.
  3. Lynyrd Skynyrd: The band recorded some of their early tracks at the studio, including “Free Bird.”
  4. Paul Simon: He recorded parts of his album “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” at the studio.
  5. Bob Dylan: He also used the studio for recording sessions.

The studio’s warm and distinctive sound was attributed to the combination of the unique talent of The Swampers and the studio’s relatively simple equipment setup. The Muscle Shoals Sound Studio played a significant role in shaping the sound of popular music during the late 1960s and 1970s.

The original studio building is no longer in operation, but the legacy of Muscle Shoals Sound Studio continues to influence music to this day. In 2017, a new facility named “Muscle Shoals Sound Studio” was built at a different location in Sheffield to carry on the tradition of recording music and preserving the studio’s historic legacy.

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