Friday, December 9, 2022

[UPDATE] Historic Recording Studios Demolished For New Hotel

If songs about loving the nightlife or promises and a rose garden mean anything to you or names like Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, Sugarland or Pearl Jam bring back memories, then you are connected to a little bit of music history right on Clairmont Road.  
A Hilton Garden Inn will rise where music royalty once gathered to record their golden hits.  Southern Tracks recording studio used to be considered one of the top music recording studios in the country.  From the 1950s into the 21st century artists would come to the three little buildings at 3051 Clairmont Road.  Vocalists, musicians and sound engineers would work long hours and many overnight sessions to produce a track.  Recordings at Southern Tracks regularly led to gold records.  

Below are pictures of Bruce Springsteen at the studio in 2002 to record his album "The Rising".  Kansas recorded "Dust in the Wind" at the studio.  Pearl Jam and the Stone Temple Pilots recorded most of their albums at Southern Tracks. A member of Pearl Jam had an unfortunate encounter at the studio.  A screen grab of the news report is attached.  

The building that looks like a little barn housed bed and bath facilities so the band members could stay nearby.  The offices were located in the ranch style home up front.  The recording studio itself was located in the big building out back (picture attached).  Outside you'll see a number of huge air conditioning units connected to the studio.  They were necessary to balance out the extreme heat produced by the equipment inside.  


"I Love the Nightlife" by Alicia Bridges was recorded here as was Lynne Anderson's "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden".   Local 70s hit makers the Atlanta Rhythm Section recorded their tracks at the studio.  I've included a short list of other artists at the end of this post.    

I doubt that there is a complete list of songs recorded along Clairmont Road, however, Discogs shows more than 500 commercial releases connected to the studio.  

You can visit the Lowery Music website for details about songs specifically licensed by Bill Lowery Music Publishing.  

Bill Lowery (picture attached) is credited with bringing the popular music scene to Atlanta in the 50s.  Lowery died in 2004.  His family kept the studio running until 2011.  

Across the street from the studio in those final years you could sometimes see a tricked-out tour bus parked out front signaling that yet another artist was visiting in hopes of hitting gold.  


If all goes as planned, the Hilton Garden Inn will be the next act to take the stage along Clairmont at Century Place.  The Chamblee city council is expected to approve the plans for the hotel project at its next meeting on Tuesday December 18th.  

When the hotel is complete, just know that you'll be able to park your car on the very spot where Bruce Springsteen recorded his music.    
Here is the whittled down list of artists known to have recorded at Southern Tracks:  

Pearl Jam 
Limp Bizkit 
Fleetwood Mac 
Rage Against The Machine 
Counting Crows 
The Black Crowes 
Jerry Reed 
Johnny Paycheck 
Atlanta Rhythm Section 
Kansas - "Dust in the Wind" 
Kon Kan 
Stone Temple Pilots 
Aretha Franklin - "Rose is still a rose" 
Bruce Springsteen 
Sugarland - "Love On The Inside" 
Indigo Girls 
38 Special 
Alicia Bridges - "I Love the Nightlife" 
Lynne Anderson - "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden"

Thank you to longtime ToNeTo Atlanta tipster and reader Rick Mitchell for originally penning this post in late 2018.  We chose to delay publishing given the project was delayed but are publishing now as all structures have been demolished in recent weeks.  

More info on Southern Tracks and those who recorded there can be found here.  

Our previous coverage on the planned hotel development can be found here


Anonymous said...

Sad the way time marches on...

RayAtL said...

Wow. Heard about this place and drove pass numerous times but was never certain of location. Interesting article.

Anonymous said...

Great story and fascinating history lesson! Need more from thus author!

Anonymous said...

more classic Atlanta architecture being demolished!

Anonymous said...

Who were the engineers at this studio?

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