Broadway Sound Studio

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  • <p>Jerry Williams, Ruth Brown and David Johnson. (Photo courtesy of Dick Cooper.)</p>

1307 Broadway Street, Sheffield

The successor to Quin Ivy's Norala, Broadway Sound Studio carried the R&B tradition of its predecessor into the 1970s and gave birth to the “Southern rock” genre by recording Lynyrd Skynyrd's first demo.

In 1968, a year before the FAME rhythm section’s break with Rick Hall and the establishment of Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, Quin Ivy moved his Quinvy Recording Studio (formerly Norala Sound Studio) to a new facility at 1307 Broadway Street in Sheffield. Around the same time, Ivy began devoting more time to his publishing and other business interests and became less involved in the studio’s day-to-day operations. By mid-1970, when Jerry “Swamp Dogg” Williams started bringing artists from his Mankind Records label to Quinvy, Ivy’s engineer David Johnson was handling most of the production duties.

“I first became aware of the Quinvy studios when Percy Sledge hit… I loved recording there. It was relatively cheap but they gave me so much. I’ve worked in a lot of places but the people there made me so welcome right from the get go. It was like working with family. It was a lot of fun too.”
—Jerry Williams

1971 saw the release of several successful Quinvy-recorded singles on the Mankind label, including offerings from Doris Duke, Brooks O’Dell and Freddie North. The following year, Arthur Conley’s “Rita” and Z.Z. Hill’s “Second Chance” were among seven Quinvy productions to receive Grammy nominations.

By the time Ivy sold his interest in the studio to Johnson in late 1973, Quinvy had begun to shift its focus from R&B to what would later become known as “Southern rock.” Having produced a demo recording for Lynyrd Skynyrd at Quinvy in 1970, Johnson went on to record other seminal acts in the genre, including Mama’s Pride and the Outlaws (who opened for Skynyrd when they performed at the Florence-Lauderdale Coliseum in 1974).

Broadway Sound Studio, as it was known during Johnson’s tenure, closed in 1989 when Johnson became executive director of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.