When Rick Hall opened up his record studio FAME Studios in the small town of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, it became something of a rock 'n' roll myth when some of the finest music ever written began to pour out of it. Hits from the likes of Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding became international, and Hall even managed blur the distinction between white and black a little as his all-white session group, The Swampers, became deeply respected among the funk and soul artists. After the session group separated themselves from Hall, some of them set up their own studio, the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, and became the Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section. From here, musicians began to shine their brightest as The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan all left that town as legends as if enchanted by the beauty of Muscle Shoals.
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Muscle Shoals was just a town in Alabama with an extraordinary habit of producing some of the finest music in the world. It started out with Rick Hall and his FAME Studios, producing hits from the likes of Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and Etta James. And not only that, even at the heart of racial distinction in America, he found the ability to join both black and white in unity over the love of soul music. Even after Hall's session group split up, some of them went to name themselves The Swampers, later becoming known as the Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section when they opened the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. From here came legendary tunes from The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. So just what was it that made Muscle Shoals the must-be place for artist in the seventies?
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A potentially controversial VW ad that was aired during last night’s Super Bowl has come down on the side of positive acclaim, with Twitter users making light of suggestions that the clip could be deemed insensitive or even racist.
Starring reggae legend Jimmy Cliff singing ‘C’mon Get Happy’ from UK 1970’s TV show The Partridge Family, the ad showed a white American office worker trying to cheer up his sad looking work buddy by saying funny phrases in a Jamaican patois accent. Following that, he takes his pal for a drive in his new VW, cheering them both up considerably (not least if they managed to duck out of work to do it). There were fears that such a move would be deemed racist by some, yet in a collection of tweets gathered by ABC news, it seems like the ad was a huge success.
Among the many adverts being aired during the Super Bowl this Sunday, one notable spot is set to belong to Jimmy Cliff and Volkswagon, who’s feel good ad is set to be one of the highlights of the second quarter – err, the action aside of course.
A teaser has been released for the ad, which sees the reggae legend singing a cover of ‘C’mon Get Happy’, which was used in 1970’s UK TV series The Patridge Family. "It's an icon type of song. When I lived in the U.K. I saw the TV series, so that's how I became familiar with it” he explained. There are plenty of cameos involved – so watch out for them – and explaining the creative process, Cliff said "It took two days to do it out in California and the first day was pretty cold for California. I was surprised. I was coming out of New York and New York was a bit cold and I go to California and it's cold."
"We all had fun” he furthered. “I certainly did mingle with all the people who I didn't know before. We became quite acquainted. It was really great. I made good connections. I've always been a humanitarian through my work, my music. That's what I've been portraying all my life. So, when they came up with the concept, I contributed to it by saying yes. It's a natural for me." Have a look for yourself.
As a teen Bob moved from the countryside to the slums of Trenchtown, outside Kingston, where he was confronted by his mixed-race roots (his father was a British Marine). In the 1960s, his ska band The Wailers found success in Jamaica. Then in 1972, Island Records founder Blackwell started promoting The Wailers as a rebellious rock act, leading to global celebrity. Over the next decade, Marley's life included world tours, a re-formed band line-up and a series of huge hits. In 1981, he died after a brief battle with long-existing cancer.
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Date of birth
1st April, 1948