National Register of Historic Places: RCA Victor Studios Building

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West, Carroll Van
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Center for Historic Preservation, Middle Tennessee State University
The RCA Victor Studios Building, at 30 Music Square West, Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A for its exceptional significance in the city’s history of recorded music, music industry administration and popular culture. Built and designed 1964-1965 by the W. B. Cambron firm in Nashville with studio engineering and design by Alan Stevens and John E. Volkmann of RCA Victor, New York City, it was the first “Music Row” building constructed to be both a major international recording studio and to provide offices for a major corporation and associated businesses and organizations of the fledgling Nashville music industry. As such, it was the first recording company corporate landmark on Music Row, soon to be followed by many other key studio buildings such as those for Columbia and Monument records built immediately afterward. Since its opening in 1965, it has since hosted music recording sessions as well as served as offices for recording artists, music publishing firms, and record companies in Nashville. The property’s period of significance for this nomination is 1965 to 1977 when RCA shut down the studio and sold it to Owen Bradley and partners to be operated independently as what became known as Music City Music Hall. Its planning, construction and recording and music industry administration during this period of significance coincided with and helped to shape two significant eras in the country music history. First is the flowering of the “Nashville Sound” from 1965 to 1972 under the guidance of Music Row founder and RCA executive Chet Atkins. The second era, 1972-1977, is associated with the administration of Jerry Bradley, the son of legendary producer Owen Bradley and hand-picked by Atkins to maintain RCA’s position in country music. Bradley did so through the “Outlaw” movement, including the release of the highly influential album Wanted! The Outlaws (1976).
Studio A, RCA Victor Studios Building, RCA Nashville Sound Studio, Music City Music Hall, Radio Corporation of America, Music Row Nashville