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Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 1968


Having not yet formed The Allman Brothers Band, in 1968, Duane Allman was so keen to get a glimpse inside Rick Hall’s FAME Studios that he pitched a tent in the parking lot. It worked. Meeting Hall and subsequently Wilson Pickett, who was recording at the legendary studios, Allman hit it off with the R&B legend and landed a job as a session player. Soon, the pair were cutting their own version of the The Beatles’ Hey Jude. “He stood right in front of me, as though he was playing every note I was singing,” Pickett said of Allman’s performance. “He was watching me as I sang, and as I screamed, he was screaming with his guitar.” It proved to be Allman’s big break – Atlantic Records and Eric Clapton were equally keen to know who had played the song’s guitar solo, with Hall replying: “Some hippie cat who’s been living in our parking lot”. That was enough to earn Duane a record deal, and FAME Studios remained central to his own rise to prominence by hosting the auditions for The Allman Brothers Band.

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