Muscle Shoals

Synopsis: Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America's most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the 'Singing River' as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals changed the world and sold millions upon millions of copies. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, he brought black and white together in Alabama's cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations while giving birth to the 'Muscle Shoals Sound' and 'The Swampers'. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Bono, and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals' magnetism, mystery, and why it remains influential today.
Production: Magnolia Pictures
  3 wins & 11 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
111 min


Magic is the word

that comes to mind for me

when I think of Muscle Shoals.

It's about alchemy,

it's about turning metal,

the iron in the ground,

the rust, into gold.

You just have to listen.

And you will be transported.

You will be changed.

You're gonna hear

some of the greatest voices

that ever were.

One, two, three!

One, two, three.



All right!


Got to know how to Pony

Like Bony Moronie

Mash Potato

Do the Alligator

Put your hand on your hips,


Let your backbone slip

Do the Watusi

Like my little Lucy



You know, I feel all right.

Feel pretty good, y'all.

Na, na-na na-na, na-na na-na,

na-na na-na na-na

Na-na na-na

Come on, y'all,

let's say it one more time.

Na, na-na na-na, na-na na-na,

na-na na-na na-na

Na-na na-na


Dancin' in the alley

With Long Tall Sally

Twistin' with Lucy

Doin' the Watusi

Roll over on your back

I like it like that

Ohh, help me

Ohh, help me

We started to hear

this sound coming out.

There was an amazing feel.

Kind of, uh, magnetic,

I suppose in a way, sound wise.

And then after a while,

this word, "Muscle Shoals"

comes into the picture,

and you put two and two together

and that was when I said,

"If we get the chance,

we got to go down there,"

you know.

People now still ask me,

"What is it about

Muscle Shoals?"

It's just a little village

on the Alabama border.

Why does that music

come out of there?

It's an enigma.

How did so much music

take place

in such an undescript

little town?

There was just something

about that place,

something that still

to this day nobody can explain.

At different points in time,

on this planet,

there are certain places

where there is a field

of energy.

At this certain point in time

for this number of years,

there was Muscle Shoals.

It's a unique thing,

rooms and record-making

like that, it doesn't happen

very often.

It's usually somebody like

Rick Hall that's like

a type of maniac.

With the drive and the foresight

to do it, you know,

and he's a tough guy.

This area here is where

my roots are.

And it's helped me develop

into whatever I am today.

My father was a sawmiller

and we lived way out

in the Freedom Hills.

No houses, no neighbors.

No kids to play with.

The floor in our house

was dirt.

The heater was made

out of an oil drum.

We slept on straw beds

made out of straw

that we pulled up

in the fields.

We had no bathing facilities,

no toilets, nothing.

And we just kind of grew up

like animals.

That made me a little bitter.

Somewhat driven.

I wanted to be special.

I wanted to be somebody.

Can you slip away,

slip away

Slip away, yeah

Oh, I need you so

The first record I cut

in this studio

was a record called

"Steal Away" by Jimmy Hughes.

Brand new building.

And I was hoping it had

the magic.

I didn't know.

So I brought my band in,

and I went up

in the control room

and sat down.

Okay, all set?

I turned on the microphones

and nervously hit

the talk-back button

to the musicians

and said with a slight crackle

in my voice, "Rolling."

One, two, one, two,

three, four.

When they kicked off

"Steal Away,"

I sat behind the console

and wept.

I just had huge chill bumps

come up on my arms.

And the hair on the back

of my neck actually stood up.

And of course,

this was the birth

of the Muscle Shoals sound.

I've got to see you


Not tomorrow

Right now

I know it's late, whoa,

I can't wait

So come on and steal away

I've heard entertainers

and producers tell me

that we got some kind

of sound here

that they can't get

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Muscle Shoals" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 23 Apr. 2021. <>.

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