The Muscle Shoals Music Association
Founded in 1975
The Muscle Shoals Music Association is a nonprofit organization of music, artists, songwriters, industry, fans and visual arts representatives, which formed in 1975 for the purpose of publicizing Muscle Shoals as an international music and artistic center. Several attempts to organize prior to 1975 failed due to community resistance. At the first and only Annual Muscle Shoals Music Celebration in 1972. civic leaders expressed the opinion that the music industry was invading their town to undermine the moral fabric of the community.
In January of 1977, organization members realized that in order to gain widespread recognition they would have to first earn the trust of their own city and state. Then, in a brilliant public relations move. The late Buddy Draper, was named the first full time executive director of the MSMA.
A retired marine after 20 years active duty, Draper’s first civilian job with First American Bank in Nashville involved calling on surrounding banks. When the president of a Leighton, Alabama bank resigned due to a heart attack. Draper took over. As acting president he recalled several beginning musicians applying for loans at the Leighton bank.”Rick Hall came to me to borrow money to build his first studio, but my board of directors turned him down.” He continues, “now 100 million records later that bank still don’t have his business, Barry Beckett of Muscle Shoals Sound borrowed money to buy his first organ, and I lent Percy Sledge $125 to buy the green tuxedo he wore to promote ‘When A Man Loves A Woman.’ You have to understand, in those days nobody connected with music was a good risk. Over time Draper convinced may of his civic minded friends what a great opportunity they had. For a small area to have a thriving artistic community in beautiful natural surroundings and a low cost of living.
In 2000 the MSMA reorganzined to bring the level of the MSMA back to it’s previous state. Since that time we have been involved in many events including Songfest, Muscle Shoals Music Cityfest, WC Handy festival, ASCAP’s end of summer hang” with their top 10 earning writers., New year’s eve bash..