The preservation of RCA Studio A complex on Nashville’s Music Row was ensured Tuesday (Dec. 23) when three preservations completed the $5.6 million purchase of the historic property that hosted sessions by a who’s who in country, pop and rock music.
Mike Curb, Chuck Elcan and Aubrey Preston’s newly-formed Studio A Preservation Partners purchased the studio complex from Bravo Development, which had intended to demolish the building and replace it with condos and a restaurant. The buyers, who each hold a one-third interest in the property, plan to work with musician Ben Folds to continue running it as a working recording studio while offering limited access for education and special events. Folds has operated Studio A since 2002.
Since opening in 1965, Studio A’s list of country clients ranges from Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride and George Strait to Hunter Hayes and Kacey Musgraves. Others who have recorded there include Elvis Presley, Tony Bennett, the Beach Boys, the Monkees, Sara Bareilles and Kesha.
Curb, the founder of Curb Records, has been a key figure in preserving Nashville’s musical heritage. The Mike Curb Family Foundation purchased and restored RCA Studio B on Music Row in 2002. In 2005, the foundation acquired and restored the historic Quonset Hut, Columbia Studio A and the Columbia/Sony Building for Belmont University to use for teaching and for hosting events.
Elcan, a Nashville real estate and healthcare entrepreneur, purchased and restored the famed Loveless Cafe near Nashville in 2003.
Preston, a local real estate entrepreneur, stepped in to protect Studio A in October after Bravo Development announced plans to build a new retail/residential building on the site.
“Only a handful of studios in the world share the influence and musical legacy of RCA Studio A,” said Carroll Van West, the state historian of Tennessee and director of the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University. “The preservation of Studio A saves a crucial musical landmark in the history of Nashville and Tennessee.”
Folds is clearly pleased the studio is being saved.
“I heard from hundreds of thousands of music fans around the world — along with organizations like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Recording Academy and the American Federation of Musicians — who flooded our inboxes and social platforms with comments in support of the movement. We’re grateful that Mike, Chuck and Aubrey stepped forward to provide their collective support.”