Studio A Officially Saved, Curb and Elcan Complete Deal

Pictured (L-R): Mike Curb, Aubrey Preston, Chuck Elcan

Pictured (L-R): Mike Curb, Aubrey Preston, Chuck Elcan

The purchase of the historic RCA Studio A complex was officially completed on Dec. 23 with the partnership of two additional preservationists, Mike Curb and Chuck Elcan, with previously announced Aubrey Preston.

Under the umbrella of the newly formed Studio A Preservation Partners, the $5.6 million purchase from Bravo Development offers each a one-third interest in the property. The building was previously subject of a controversial demolition plan that included condos and a restaurant. The new buyers plan to continue running the property as a working recording studio with Ben Folds, who has leased and operated Studio A since 2002. Limited access for education and special events will also be offered.

“We’re proud to be part of preserving RCA Studio A for the next generation of musicians, songwriters, recording artists, and producers,” said Preston, a Leiper’s Fork real estate entrepreneur. “It’s essential that we protect the infrastructure and heritage that anchors Nashville’s creative economy, and Mike and Chuck are perfect partners for this project. As a team, we’re looking forward to working with the preservation community to ensure Studio A’s long-term protection and share its incredible story.”

Curb has pioneered the preservation of Nashville’s most famous recording studios including Music Row’s RCA Studio B, the historic Quonset Hut, Columbia Studio A, and the Columbia/Sony Building. The histories of the Quonset Hut and RCA Studios A and B are inextricably linked. In the mid-1950s, brothers Owen Bradley and Harold Bradley opened the Quonset Hut studio – laying the foundation for what became Music Row. Not long afterward, Chet Atkins helped found the studio that later would become known as RCA Studio B. By the mid- ’60s, Atkins and the Bradley brothers determined that Music Row needed a larger modern studio, and joined forces to convince RCA to build the facility that became known as the Studio A complex.

“Studio A is at center stage in Music Row’s history and I’m pleased to be able to help save it,” Curb said. “The creative, entrepreneurial work that began nearly 50 years ago, when our industry’s pioneers had the vision to create Studio A, now will continue on into the future.”

“Whether we’re talking about the recording studios where our music was made or the supper tables where Music City’s recording artists wrote some of their best-selling songs, Nashville is blessed with cultural assets,” said Elcan, a real estate and healthcare entrepreneur behind the Loveless Cafe. “I’m honored to be involved with Mike and Aubrey in preserving Studio A, which really is a unique piece of our musical history.”

Opened in 1965, Studio A became a Music Row landmark that helped propel the “Nashville Sound” to international prominence and has served as a go-to recording destination for countless music legends for nearly five decades. Famed names patronizing the studio have included Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Tony Bennett, The Beach Boys, The Monkees and George Strait as well as newer artists like Hunter Hayes, Kacey Musgraves, Sara Bareilles, and Kesha. Although it was contested that Elvis Presley recorded there, representatives indicate to documents citing the contrary.

Curb, Elcan, and Preston decided to jointly buy Studio A on the heels of intense advocacy efforts led by Folds, his management team of Sharon Corbitt-House and Mike Kopp, and songwriter-producer Trey Bruce. The “Save Studio A” campaign garnered global attention. Internationally acclaimed artists including Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake, and Keith Urban weighed in with support.

“Trey and our team felt compelled to get involved and raise awareness about the urgent need to save Studio A,” Folds said. “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.”

Folds added: “This is what it looks like when an entire community comes together to protect our music heritage and culture, and advance our future. This is Nashville at its very best.”

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] @EricTParker

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