Muscle Shoals (2013)
This documentary film tells the wildly improbable story of the music producer Rick Hall (b. 1932) and his legendary studio called FAME in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Born into grinding poverty to a family of sharecroppers, he slept on a dirt floor and had no plumbing. In 1960 he founded FAME, which for fifty years recorded dozens of famous musicians in rock, pop, soul, and country. Here was a white producer with a white studio band in racist, rural Alabama, who produced some of the most powerful black music ever, beginning with Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, and Etta James, and continuing up to Alicia Keys. In most of the film Hall narrates his own story, but a long list of rockers bear witness to what Bono calls "the magic of the Muscle Shoals sound" — Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Clarence Carter, Stevie Winwood, Gregg Allman, and others. The movie was released on Comcast the same day as in theaters.