Landmark RCA Studio A In Nashville Rescued By Preservationists
December 23, 2014 at 1:34 PM (PT)
A trio of preservationists today completed the purchase of the historic RCA STUDIO A complex, a Music Row landmark that helped propel the "NASHVILLE Sound" to international prominence and has served as a go-to recording destination for countless country, pop, and rock music legends for nearly five decades.
MIKE CURB, CHUCK ELCAN and AUBREY PRESTON -- under the umbrella of the newly formed STUDIO A PRESERVATION PARTNERS -- purchased the studio complex for $5.6 million from BRAVO DEVELOPMENT, which had intended to demolish the building and replace it with condos and a restaurant. The buyers, who each now hold a one-third interest in the property, plan to work with multi-platinum selling artist BEN FOLDS, who has operated the recording facility since 2002, to continue running it as a working studio while offering limited access for education and special events.
"We're proud to be part of preserving RCA STUDIO A for the next generation of musicians, songwriters, recording artists, and producers," said PRESTON, the LEIPER'S FORK real estate entrepreneur who, in OCTOBER, stepped forward to protect the property. "It's essential that we protect the infrastructure and heritage that anchors NASHVILLE's creative economy, and MIKE and CHUCK are perfect partners for this project. As a team, we're looking forward to working with the preservation community to ensure STUDIO A's long-term protection and share its incredible story."
CURB, founder of CURB RECORDS and one of the most prominent figures in the entertainment industry, pioneered the preservation of NASHVILLE's most famous recording studios in 2002 when the MIKE CURB FAMILY FOUNDATION purchased and restored Music Row's RCA STUDIO B, often referred to as the "birthplace of a thousand hits." Following that restoration, the CURB FOUNDATION shared STUDIO B with the COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM. Then, in 2005, the CURB FOUNDATION acquired and restored the historic QUONSET HUT, COLUMBIA STUDIO A and the COLUMBIA/SONY BUILDING for BELMONT UNIVERSITY to use for teaching and events.
The histories of the QUONSET HUT and RCA STUDIOS A and B are inextricably linked. In the mid-'50s, brothers OWEN and HAROLD BRADLEY opened the QUONSET HUT studio -- laying the foundation for what became Music Row. Not long afterward, renowned guitarist and producer CHET ATKINS helped found the studio that later would become known as RCA STUDIO B. By the mid- '60s, ATKINS and the BRADLEY brothers determined that Music Row needed a larger modern studio, and joined forces to convince RCA to build the facility that became known as the STUDIO A complex.
"STUDIO A is at center stage in Music Row's history and I'm pleased to be able to help save it," CURB said. "The creative, entrepreneurial work that began nearly 50 years ago, when our industry's pioneers had the vision to create STUDIO A, now will continue on into the future."
ELCAN, a NASHVILLE real estate and healthcare entrepreneur, is known in local preservation circles as well. In 2003, Elcan purchased and restored the famous LOVELESS CAFE near the NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY, preserving and advancing another cultural institution.
Commented ELCAN, "I'm honored to be involved with MIKE and AUBREY in preserving STUDIO A, which really is a unique piece of our musical history."
CURB, ELCAN and PRESTON decided to jointly buy STUDIO A on the heels of intense advocacy efforts led by FOLDS, his management team of SHARON CORBITT-HOUSE and MIKE KOPP and songwriter-producer TREY BRUCE. The "Save STUDIO A" campaign garnered global attention, capturing hearts and minds across the music and historic preservation communities. Internationally acclaimed artists including DAVE GROHL, PAUL McCARTNEY, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE and KEITH URBAN all weighed in with moral support.
FOLDS added: "This is what it looks like when an entire community comes together to protect our music heritage and culture, and advance our future. This is NASHVILLE at its very best."