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Number 102

Wilson Pickett - Land of 1000 Dances (Atlantic 584039 - 1966)

Occasionally, a certain sound comes along, whether that be Liverpool's Merseybeat, the Phil Spector Wall of Sound of the Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, the country sound of Nashville, tennessee or Detroit's very distinctive Motown sound, each location is almost defined by its sound and the same can be said for Muscle Shoals in Alabama. Muscle Shoals was the home of the late Rick Hall's FAME studios, located on East Avalon Avenue in Muscle Shoals, FAME being an acronym for Florence Alabama Music Enterprises, which opened for business in the 1950s. Artists such as Percy Sledge, Arthur Alexander and Solomon Burke cut their teeth at the studios and producer Jerry Wexler brought in some of Atlantic Records' soul stars such as Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin, in order to rekindle some of the fire in their music, both of whom cut some defining records at the FAME studios, backed curiously enough by white session musicians such as Chips Moman, Jimmy Johnson, Spooner Oldham and Roger Hawkins amongst others. Duane Allman persuaded Wilson Pickett to record the Beatles' Hey Jude, which at the time would have been considered madness. It was also during his time in Muscle Shoals that Pickett recorded one of his best remembered songs, Land of 1000 Dances, which went on to become Pickett’s biggest pop hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Rhythm and Blues Singles charts in 1966.