If we asked you to guess where some of the most influential pop music ever was recorded, where would you guess? We’re betting that most of you would probably say New York City, Los Angeles, or some other location along the East or West Coast. And, at least in part, you would be correct. There have been some pretty classic songs and albums recorded in those places. But you might be surprised to hear that a lot of the biggest and best pop hits of the last 50 years or so were actually recorded in a place called Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Everyone from Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones to Etta James and Alicia Keys have captured the “Muscle Shoals Sound” in their music by recording songs and albums in the legendary music city. And as a result of that, director Greg “Freddy” Camalier just filmed an entire documentary called Muscle Shoals that takes an in-depth look at just how important the city is. It’ll open in select theaters on September 24.
The soundtrack for Muscle Shoals—which features everything from Percy Sledge‘s “When A Man Loves A Woman” to Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “Free Bird”—is available for preorder over here now and will hit stores on September 24. But before you dive headfirst into the magical city of Muscle Shoals, we thought we would put together a list of 10 fun facts about the music history of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. It should give you some good background info on the city of Muscle Shoals before you see the film or press play on the soundtrack inspired by it. Check it out.