Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau’s “We Rocked the World” marketing campaign is expanding with a series of guided tours beginning Saturday, April 27. The tours will be aboard Tuscumbia’s new trolley, and will be led by noted music historian George Lair.
“These tours are for Shoals residents and music fans from all over who want to get a close-up look at where some of the greatest hits of all time were recorded,” said Susann Hamlin, president and CEO of Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau. “During the tours, they will hear stories about the stars who recorded here and amazing men and women who wrote those songs, sang or played instruments on the recordings or worked behind the scenes in the studios. When George Lair talks about Muscle Shoals music, he is not just repeating something he read in a book. He was there working in the studios and at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame when history was being made on the local music scene.”
The April 27 journey through the history of Muscle Shoals Music includes tours of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia and FAME Recording Studios and Wishbone Studio, both in Muscle Shoals. Along the route, Lair will point out and discuss other music attractions including the Singing River Statue at Muscle Shoals Public Library, the Pathways to Muscle Shoals Music exhibit at Muscle Shoals City Hall and East Avalon Recorders Studio. Participants in the tour will meet at the Music Hall of Fame, 617 U.S. Hwy. 72, Tuscumbia, at 12:30 p.m. to begin the 4-hour exploration of how the Muscle Shoals area rocked the world with its music.
A tour on Saturday, May 25 will showcase Sheffield’s music attractions, including the original location of Muscle Shoals Sound at 3614 Jackson Highway, Cypress Moon Studios (the second location of Muscle Shoals Sound), and the Earl “Peanutt” Montgomery Music Museum. Other attractions Lair will point and discuss include Broadway Recording Studio, Widget Recording Studio, the Percy Sledge/Norala Studio historical marker and the Singing River Statue in front of Park Place. Participants will meet at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame to begin the 4-hour tour.
The cost of the tours, including transportation, the tour guide and admission to the attractions is $40. Participants will receive a complimentary copy of Colbert County Tourism’s audio tour on CD that provides turn-by-turn directions to and commentary about area music and historic attractions. Lair, of Florence, owner of VIP Music Tours, is available for personal and group tours of local music attractions.
Additional “We Rocked the World” music tours will be offered in July and August. The guided tours are the latest addition to the “We Rocked the World” marketing campaign launched by Colbert Tourism in 2016. Other planks of the campaign include the audio tour on CD, a brochure for music attractions in The Shoals and souvenir items featuring the “We Rocked the World” logo.
“The recording studios and musicians in the Muscle Shoals area are well known around the world,” Hamlin said. “We have tour groups and individual travelers from around the world who come to The Shoals to see where their favorite songs were recorded and hopefully get to meet some of the artists who wrote the songs or performed on those recordings. We are fortunate here to have multiple studios that are open for tours, the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, and legendary musicians who enjoy meeting fans. Sometimes, they will pick a song or two for the fans they meet.”
For more details about the tours, the “We Rocked the World” campaign or others things to see and do in The Shoals, call Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau at 256-383-0783.