The story of Capricorn started with a young Phil Walden booking bands for surrounding fraternity parties. With an incredible passion for music, Walden really made it big when he discovered a band called Pat Tea Cake and the Mighty Panthers featuring Johnny Jenkins on guitar and Otis Redding as vocalist. As Walden and Redding grew closer, the idea of a record label flourished in their minds. Together they launched Redwal Music – Red for Redding and Wal for Walden.
With the music label successfully under their belt, they continued dreaming of what their future might hold. A few years later, in 1969, Capricorn Studios was founded. Located in Macon, Georgia, Capricorn, was the home to many music legends including, the Marshall Tucker Band, the Outlaws, Wet Willie, and many others.
Capricorn Studios is frequently associated with the Allman Brothers band because of the immense amount of time the brothers spent there working on three of their albums. Greg Allman and Dickey Bett both went on to produce solo albums at Capricorn in 1973 and 1974 as well. The Allman Brothers as well as the other musical talents that recorded at Capricorn Studios are why many now refer to Macon as the birthplace of Southern rock.
This studio had such an impact on American culture by creating an entirely new genre of music. The artists that recorded at Capricorn combined influences from blues, soul, rock and country – which we now call Southern rock. While this studio significantly shaped Macon history, they unfortunately closed their doors in 1979 due to financial troubles.
In 2015, Mercer University, NewTown Macon, Sierra Development and Southern Pine Plantations announced their plans to restore the famous Capricorn Studios. The Mercer Music program plans to return the studio back into functioning conditions including features such as recording studios, spaces for small concerts, as well as, educational programs through Mercer’s Townsend School of Music. Capricorn Studios will also showcase the music history that was made here through static exhibits as well as interactive digital kiosks. Several sources say this exhibit will be up and running by December 2019 just in time for Capricorn Studios 50th anniversary.
Write up provided by: Alex Putnam
Photo provided by: Anna Daniels