Nashville Tennessee is Music City USA. The description of Nashville as ‘Music City USA’ may ring truer than most people realize. Known around the world as the Home of Country Music, this is certainly true – Nashville has the finest songwriters, recording studios, engineers, and talent that all come together on a daily basis to create the country music hits heard and loved around the globe. But does the world know about the huge role Nashville has played (and is playing) in the rock and pop world? In case you didn’t know………………..
Elvis came to Nashville to record his first number one pop hit Heartbreak Hotel for RCA on January 10, 1956 with co-producer Chet Akins on guitar and Floyd Cramer on piano. Around the same time, Gene Vincent’s groundbreaking rock and roll smash Be-Bop-A-Lula was recorded in Nashville.
The Everly Brothers recorded their biggest hits Bye Bye Love and Wake Up Little Susie in Music City– both written by the Nashville husband and wife team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.
Jimmy Hendrix credits Nashville as the place where he really learned how to play guitar (while living on Nashville’s Jefferson Street in the early 1960’s).
Rock crooner Roy Orbison of Pretty Woman and Only the Lonely fame had some of his biggest hits while signed to Monument Records Nashville.
R&B / Blues artist Joe Tex was signed and produced by Nashville legend publisher and producer Buddy Killen (Hold What You’ve Got, You Got What It Takes, You Better Get It)
Bob Dylan’s three biggest records, Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding, and Nashville Skyline were all recorded here on Music Row with Nashville session musician extraordinaire Charlie McCoy serving as Dylan’s right hand studio man.
Paul McCartney and Wings came to Nashville in 1974 and recorded The Nashville Sessions.
Ringo Starr cut his second solo record Beaucoups of Blues in Music City.
Neil Young recorded his landmark 1972 album Harvest here in Nashville.
Nashville producer, Kyle Lehning had his share of pop hits (including England Dan and John Ford Coley’s I’d Really Like To See You Tonight). Speaking of pop hits, it probably wouldn’t be fair not to mention Dolly Parton, Kenny Rodgers, and Garth Brooks; all who crossed well over into Mega-Pop stardom.
In the 1990’s, when I was settling into Music City, just about every LA session player, publishing company, record label and pop star were setting up shop here to take advantage of our quality studios, songwriters, and talent. When I was working with Country Pop icon John Denver in the 90’s, we recorded a few of his later projects here on the Row – John was an international pop star, he could have recorded wherever he wanted to. Many other rock/pop stars, including Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow, have come to Music City to record and collaborate. Rock royalty such as Leon Russell and Steve Cropper moved to Nashville years ago to continue their successful creative careers. Adding to the ever growing new Nashville rock scene, eclectic rocker Jack White has set up his Third Man Records downtown. Rock God Robert Plant’s recent recording efforts Raising Sand and Band of Joy were both done here in Music City. And our first major-league rock band to hit (finally!), Kings of Leon are Nashville area boys (Mt. Juliet TN).
I realize there is much more alternative music germinating out of Music City these days than I mentioned in this short blog, but I think you’ve got the picture: Indeed - Nashville IS Music City!
Spread the word, come on by for a visit, soak in the city’s rich musical history, listen to some live jazz, blues, country, rock, pop or our very own Nashville Symphony. And if you have the inkling to create some new sounds of your own – know that Music City USA is the city to make it happen. Your input and comments are most welcome! I’d like to thank and credit Davis Inman, Michael Kosser, and Wikipedia for the enlightening Nashville music history lessons.
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