2000 Madison Ave

Immensely masked by the shadows casted by Stax and Sun, Ardent Studios also lays claim to a plethora of iconic recording sessions. Founded by John Fry in 1966, Ardent has showcased arguably the most eclectic collection of musicians of any Memphis recording studio. Spanning across a vast array of genres, Ardent has recorded and provided mixing for artist such as r&b pioneers – Sam & Dave, to country legend – Waylon Jennings, to steroid induced blues titan – Led Zeppelin. Perhaps though, if there is a hidden gem nestled amidst the headliners that Ardent boasts, local band Big Star easily garners that award. Consisting of hometown talent, including former Box Top front man, Alex Chilton, Big Star in the early 1970’s seemed to be on its way to national stardom. However, due to a comedy of errors in distribution, the firing of another major record label’s chief executive (Clive Davis who was apparently planning on signing them to Columbia), and eventual personal fallouts within the band, the attempt at success had come to a close. Despite not initially capturing the stature they set out to, all three Big Star records (all recorded at Ardent) are recognized in Rolling Stone magazine’s top 500 albums of all-time.

Ardent is open daily, mon-fri from 9-5. Tours are available, but calling ahead is recommended.

Notable artist recordings:

·       Huey Lewis & the News

·       George Thorogood

·       Big Star

·       The White Stripes

·       Stevie Ray Vaughan

·       ZZ Top

·       B.B. King

·       The Allman Brothers

·       R.E.M.

·       Al Green

·       The Replacements

·       Alex Chilton

·       Bob Dylan

·       James Taylor

·       Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin 3 (mixing only)

·       Montgomery Gentry

·       Gin Blossoms

·       John Hiatt

·       Cheap Trick

·       Steve Earle

·       Travis Tritt

·       Dave Matthews

·       Isaac Hayes

·       .38 Special

·       Marty Stuart

·       8 Ball & MJG

·       Soundgarden

·       Tanya Tucker

·       Triple 6 Mafia

·       Waylon Jennings

·       The Smashing Pumpkins

·       Lynyrd Skynyrd