Music and Mystique in Muscle Shoals

Author: Christopher M. Reali
The sound that built the Hit Recording Capital of the World
Cloth – $110
Paper – $22.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 06/28/2022
Cloth: 06/28/2022
Buy the Book Request Desk/Examination Copy Request Review Copy Request Rights or Permissions Request Alternate Format Preview

About the Book

The forceful music that rolled out of Muscle Shoals in the 1960s and 1970s shaped hits by everyone from Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin to the Rolling Stones and Paul Simon. Christopher M. Reali's in-depth look at the fabled musical hotbed examines the events and factors that gave the Muscle Shoals sound such a potent cultural power. Many artists trekked to FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound in search of the sound of authentic southern Black music—and at times expressed shock at the mostly white studio musicians waiting to play it for them. Others hoped to draw on the hitmaking production process that defined the scene. Reali also chronicles the overlooked history of Muscle Shoals's impact on country music and describes the region's recent transformation into a tourism destination.

Multifaceted and informed, Music and Mystique in Muscle Shoals reveals the people, places, and events behind one of the most legendary recording scenes in American history.

* Publication of this book was supported in part by a grant from the Judith McCulloh Endowment for American Music.

About the Author

Christopher M. Reali is an assistant professor of music at Ramapo College of New Jersey.



"Grounded in oral histories and meticulous archival research, Reali's work takes us deep into the story of the Muscle Shoals sound, providing additional complexity and context that helps to answer the question scholars and music enthusiasts have been asking for over half a century: 'Why Muscle Shoals?'" --Carolyn M. Crawford, Director, Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area

"Reali’s meticulous research--including his use of original oral histories and new archival finds--situates Muscle Shoals’s rich musical history within a broader understanding of its impact on pop music and culture in the United States."--Charles L. Hughes, author of Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South