Dan Penn

If you were going to create a Mount Rushmore for the Muscle Shoals Sound, Dan Penn would be one of the first people you’d carve into it. Dan has left — and continues to leave — an indelible stamp on music history and is recognized as one of the great songsmiths of the past fifty years. Dan was the first in-studio songwriter that Rick Hall hired at FAME and music historian Peter Guralnick once described him as the “secret hero” of 60s R&B.

In 1959, Dan wrote his first hit, Is A Bluebird Blue? — a hit for Conway Twitty — at the tender age of 18, and has gone on to write and co-write countless soul classics, including Do Right Woman, Do Right Man (written at FAME Recording Studios with Spooner Oldham during the famous Aretha Franklin sessions), Dark End of the Street (co-written with Chips Moman), I’m Your Puppet (w/ Oldham), and It Tears Me Up (w/ Oldham), while also delivering numerous hits as a producer, including The Letter, a number one hit in 1967 for The Box Tops and their then sixteen-year-old singer Alex Chilton.

For over sixty years, and now at age seventy-eight, Dan has never slowed down when it comes to writing, producing, and performing hit records, and if shows on his latest album, Living on Mercy, which comes 26 years after his last solo album, 1994’s Do Right Man and forty-seven years after his solo debut Nobody’s Fool, released in 1973.

Dan Penn will always have a home at FAME and we are beyond proud to be able to call him a friend and consider him a foundational member of the FAME family.

Mickey Buckins

Some artists are just Muscle Shoals through and through. Mickey Buckins is one of those artists. 

In the mid-1960s, Buckins toured throughout the Southeast, fronting Mickey Buckins and the New Breed and recording British Invasion mixed with Alabama garage-rock numbers, such as “Long Long Time” and “Reflections of Charlie Brown”. 

In 1967, Rick Hall hired him at FAME studios where he started out as an assistant and, in his words, “did anything and everything that needed to be done.” From there, Buckins worked his way up the ranks at FAME to assistant engineer before becoming a producer, studio manager, and chief engineer.

As a producer and arranger, Buckins was a valuable member of the world-famous Fame Gang band, adding his masterful touches to hit recordings by singers such as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, Lou Rawls, the Osmonds, Little Richard, Bobbie Gentry, Etta James, and Candi Staton.

Buckins is also an accomplished composer, penning five BMI award-winning songs including Janie Fricke’s chart-topping “Tell Me a Lie”, “Double Lovin’” a Top 10 hit for the Osmonds, and “The Feeling Is Right” a Top 10 R&B hit for Clarence Carter, to name but a few. Recently Mickey has had his songs recorded by the “King of Americana” Jason Isbell appearing on his “Here We Rest” and “Live From Alabama” albums.  His song “Double Lovin” by Spencer Wiggins was also used in a national Citi-Bank commercial in 2020.

After more than five decades of leaving his stamp on the sound of Muscle Shoals, Buckins is still going strong. FAME is not only honored to be a part of his legacy, but proud to call him family.

Walt Aldridge

There were times in the 80’s and 90’s when it seemed as if the only thing keeping Muscle Shoals music alive was some amazing songwriters and FAME’s country productions including Shenandoah, Jerry Reed, Larry Gatlin, Terri Gibbs, and The Shooters to name a few.

Walt Aldridge was the most successful of these songwriters/Producers. He spent close to 20 years with Fame.

Walter has been the recipient of over 20 gold and platinum records; 7 #1 records; has had 56 top-40 songs on the Billboard Charts and has twice been named in their top 10 writers of the year. Walt has also had two songs of the year.
He also wrote and produced Heartland’s #1 record “I Loved Her First”.

Here is a hidden gem from Walt’s catalog with Rick Hall Music Publishing: “A Little of You” performed and produced by Walt. FAME is very proud of our long business and personal relationship with Walt and the many successes we’ve had together. Truth be known, we might not still be here if not for his songwriting talents.

Thanks for Everything, Walt!! Much Love to you!

Click here to listen to Walt Aldridge’s “A Little of You”