SPAR Recording Studio - Florence, Alabama

In 1959 James Joiner and Tom Stafford opened a publishing company and recording studio called "Spar Music" above the City Drug Store in Florence AL. This venture would turn out to be a key player in the birth of the music recording industry in the Shoals Area.

Pictures Then and Now
Above you can see what looks like a scene from a film noir movie but you are looking at the entrance to the recording studio that would play a key roll in the music industry in the Muscle Shoals area. Up those stairs was where the first recording was made of Arthur Alexander. Arthur's song "Sally Sue Brown" and was released by Jud Phillips' Florence label, "Judd Records". In two years, at another studio in Muscle Shoals, Arthur would write and sing another song called "You Better Move On". This song would become a national hit and Arthur would sing it on "American Bandstand". (You can hear this song and many more on my radio station.)
Today the corner of Tenneessee and Seminary Street looks a lot different than it did in the fifties. Below you can read the historic marker that lets visitors know what stood in this parking lot many years ago.
The owners Tom Stafford, Rick Hall and Billy Sherrill called their company the "Florence Alabama Music Enterprises" or FAME for short. In 1961 Rick Hall would sell his part of the company back to the other owners, keep the name FAME and build his own studio in Muscle Shoals. (See the Timeline for more information)

 

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