Nashville’s RCA Studio B celebrates its 50th
SONIC SWEETS: Studio B was built to accommodate RCA and the label’s hot country producer, Chet Atkins.
NASHVILLE — Before the digital universe expanded, serious home recording was just a dream, or something musicologists like Alan Lomax did on machines the size of VW beetles in the shacks and fields of rural backwaters. Well into the ‘90s, music meant for radio, jukeboxes, and stereos had to be made in professional studios. And most big-time albums still are. But not all studios are equal. Some were — as William Clark and Jim Cogan call them in the title of their 2003 book on great recording rooms — Temples of Sound (Chronicle). And one of the holiest, at least to diehard fans of American roots music, has always been Nashville’s RCA Studio B.
RCA Studio B has long been known as the “House of 1000 Hits.” Here’s an A-list of some of the classics that were cut at the studio.
• EDDY ARNOLD “What’s He Doing in My World?” | “Tennessee Stud” | “A Little Heartache”
• BOBBY BARE “Detroit City”
• SKEETER DAVIS “The End of the World”
• THE EVERLY BROTHERS “Let It Be Me” | “Cathy’s Clown” | “When Will I Be Loved”
• DONNA FARGO “The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.”
• DON GIBSON “Oh, Lonesome Me” | “I Can’t Stop Loving You” | “Sea of Heartbreak”
• WAYLON JENNINGS “The Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line”
• GRANDPA JONES “T for Texas”
• HANK LOCKLIN “Please Help Me, I’m Falling”
• ROY ORBISON “Only the Lonely (Know How I Feel)” | “Crying” | “Running Scared” | “Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)”
• DOLLY PARTON “Coat of Many Colors”
• ELVIS PRESLEY “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” | “Stuck on You” | “It’s Now or Never” | “Little Sister” | “Good Luck Charm”
• JIM REEVES “He’ll Have To Go” | “Welcome to My World”
• HANK SNOW “I’ve Been Everywhere” | “The Last Ride”
• GARY STEWART “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles)”
• PORTER WAGONER “Misery Loves Company” | “The Carroll Country Accident” | “I’ve Enjoyed This As Much As I Can Stand” | “The Last Thing on My Mind” [with Dolly Parton]
Other musical meccas. By Ted Drozdowski
This year, Studio B, right off famed Music Row, where the heart of today’s commercial country industry beats hardest, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The 1611 Roy Acuff Place building is a plain two-story affair. The only exterior mark of its history is the chink in the brickwork where Dolly Parton thumped the wall with her first car on the way to one of her early recording sessions. And Studio B is a rarity among the most famed sonic citadels because it remains intact and its doors are open to civilians. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has conducted tours of the “House of 1000 Hits” since 1977, and today it leases the room from the Curb Family Foundation — which maintains the space — for $1 a year.
: Music Features
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