NASHVILLE, August 22, 2003 – It’s the place where Elvis Presley recorded Are You Lonesome Tonight? and It’s Now or Never, and 200 other songs. It’s where Dolly Parton recorded the country classic Jolene, and Roy Orbison put Only the Lonely and many of his other pop smashes down on tape.
What can you learn from a place like that? Students enrolled in Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business will find out starting this fall semester as the historic RCA Studio B on Nashville’s famed Music Row becomes a Belmont University classroom. There, where students enrolled in the university’s recording program will study recording techniques in a legendary setting that is laden with pop music history and oozes cool.
Built in 1957, RCA Studio B played a key role in Nashville’s evolution as the Music City, especially in its role in the creation of the “Nashville Sound,” a sophisticated musical style characterized by background vocals and strings. The “Nashville Sound” both revived the popularity of country music and helped establish Nashville as an international recording center.
“Belmont University now is able to provide its students with an unmatched array of studio resources, through the RCA Studio B partnership with the Country Music Hall of Fame,” says Dr. Robert Fisher, president of Belmont University. “Our on-campus facilities are state-of-the-art and Belmont’s Ocean Way Studio on Music Row has recently been named Nashville’s No. 1 Commercial Studio. The RCA Studio B partnership brings the unique historical perspective that we believe is necessary for those who seek to create the future.”
Among the other stars who have recorded at Studio B: Eddy Arnold, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, Jim Reeves, and Willie Nelson. Chet Atkins, who managed RCA’s Nashville operation for several years, produced hundreds of hits in Studio B.
In 2002, the Mike Curb Family Foundation, a major benefactor of Belmont University, purchased RCA Studio B and leased it in perpetuity for $1 a year to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which operates it as a tourist attraction and also as a learning resource for area high school students.
Belmont University co-manages and operates the studio in a partnership with the Hall of Fame and uses it as a unique learning laboratory for its music business students. Belmont recording class students will study recording fundamentals at Studio B, and learn about such things as microphone design and microphone techniques used for recording vocalists and various instruments.
“We are so gratified to see it revitalized as a resource for students, visitors, and our whole community,” said Museum Director Kyle Young.