HERE's your starter for 10 points. What do the following addresses have in common: 2120 South Michigan Avenue, 926 East McLemore Avenue, 706 Union Avenue and 603 East Avalon Avenue? Maybe if I reduce the points and add 3 Abbey Road?
Of course, they're the homes of great recording studios. In fact, the addresses of Chess in Chicago, and Stax and Sun in Memphis are quite well known. The Rolling Stones named a B-side after the first; Booker T & the MG's) an album after the second (complete with the Beatles' Abbey Road cover art transplanted to Tennessee); and the Sun tour is a popular Memphis attraction.
But East Avalon Avenue?
It might not even help to disclose that it was the headquarters of Florence Alabama Music Enterprises. Locate it in Muscle Shoals, though, owner Rick Hall having moved his operations from Florence to another little town in Alabama's Quad Cities cluster - via the disused tobacco barn where Arthur Alexander recorded FAME's first hit, You Better Move On, more or less funding the new studio - and the address should be identified as one of popular music's most significant.
FAME Studios was the home of the renowned Muscle Shoals sound, despite the eventual and confusing establishment across town, by some of its consistent array of superb session musicians, of a rival studio that they called Muscle Shoals Sound.
But Rick Hall actually copyrighted the slogan, Home of the Muscle Shoals Sound, for his own studio, which was very much as it ought to be. Hall had the ears, you see, and his establishment had the track record, born out of the inherent funkiness of its output - typically, but not inevitably, southern black singers accompanied by southern white players - a great sounding room and an unwillingness to mess with what worked.
Apparently the positioning and placement of microphones and musicians at FAME might remain unchanged for years at a stretch, and the results attracted record companies from far and wide who sent their artists down there to try to capture a little of the magic.
The most famous example of this is probably Aretha Franklin, whose 1967 visit to North Alabama changed her, and, without too much exaggeration, rock 'n soul music itself, for all time.
Even the Osmonds came, their One Bad Apple giving the studio its first pop number one in 1970.
The song was written by George Jackson, a prolific writer whose own recordings demonstrate, along with those by others - such as Spencer Wiggins or Willie Hightower or Percy Sledge's less acclaimed, outside of collector circles, but possibly as talented cousin, Jimmy Hughes, who gave the new studio its first hit - the quality of soul that FAME had at its disposal, even among what the wider industry might consider the second-tier singers.
The soul stars came out as well, and in force, with Otis Redding and Otis Clay, Joe Tex and Joe Simon, Etta James and Irma Thomas, even Clyde McPhatter and Little Richard, past their prime, perhaps, but still delivering, all recording at FAME, and Wilson Pickett's Hey Jude featuring a young Duane Allman on guitar in a performance that apparently attracted the attention of his future Derek & the Dominoes collaborator, Eric Clapton.
The FAME Studios Story 1961-1973, a superbly selected and packaged three-CD box set released last year on the Kent label as the ideal companion to its equally wonderful, if wider ranging, 2008 set, Take Me To The River, features them all, and many others, as it tells most if not quite the whole of the story.
It starts with that Arthur Alexander hit and closes, 74 songs later, though not strictly chronologically, with Travis Wammack's 1972 cover of the same song. The riches in between ought to make believers of us all.