For those interested in both music and historical preservation, here’s a sad bit of news: the legendary Music Row where Elvis, Chet Atkins, Waylon Jennings and the like made records and managed their careers is in danger of becoming a neighborhood of high-rise condos. However, Ben Folds and a gaggle of like-minded folk are scrapping to save it.
Today inside Ben Folds’ historic RCA Studio A – Chet Atkins’ old studio where Elvis, The Beach Boys, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, The Monkees, Garth Brooks and loads of others recorded albums – was a rally, kicking off a campaign to ‘Save Music Row’. Adam Gold of The Nashville Scene does a great job of summing up meeting minutes. Also worth a read is Mr. Fold’s open letter to the developer last week.
***Since my original post, there have been two additional open letters posted – a response to Ben Folds by RCA Studio A owner Harold Bradley, and then a response to the response by Ben Folds.***
Among the many notables at the rally was Ben Speer (below, on right) – a gentleman who recorded backup vocals on Elvis’ ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and ‘I Want You, I Need You, I Love You’ in, coincidentally, a studio down the road which was leveled in 2006 for redevelopment.
A slightly better look inside the studio, taken a few months ago from a shoot I did with songwriter Monty Powell:
Also, I was in the back parking lot of the studio and found the backdrop to Chet Atkins’ 1974 Superpickers album cover. I mean, it’s no Sgt. Pepper’s, but check it: