Pop Pilgrims

Season 201105 Episode 05.27.11

Memphis: Ardent Studios - Home to Big Star, The Replacements, Isaac Hayes, and more

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Memphis: Ardent Studios - Home to Big Star, The Replacements, Isaac Hayes, and more
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Most cities would be lucky to have one well-known-never mind legendary-recording studio; Memphis has been home to several. Among them are two towering giants in 20th-century pop music, Sun Studio and Stax Records. Clients can still make records at the former, but the latter was torn down and later rebuilt as a fantastic museum. (On display is Isaac Hayes' insane Cadillac, a car so outlandish, it makes any ride from the most pimped-out blaxploitation film look understated.) Much less of a tourist destination is Ardent Studios, a still-active recording facility where a slew of fantastic albums were recorded, from Isaac Hayes' Hot Buttered Soul to everything by seminal power-pop band Big Star. Since Big Star ranks high on the list of A.V. Club staffers' favorite bands, we had to go to Ardent when we visited Memphis. And the fact that we were going to get to talk with Ardent founder John Fry and Big Star drummer Jody Stephens sealed the deal.moreless
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