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Ardent Studios is a professional recording studio located in Memphis, Tennesseemarker. Ardent Records is the in-house label. After the studio's "golden era" in the early 1970s with bands like Big Star and Led Zeppelin, Ardent continued recording in the decades afterward with a wide range of artists such as The Staples Singers, ZZ Top, R.E.M., Stevie Ray Vaughan, Willy DeVille, Bob Dylan, John Hiatt, North Mississippi Allstars, The Gin Blossoms The White Stripes, Cat Power, The Raconteurs, The Cooters and many more. Ardent also became a favorite studio for popular contemporary Christian rock music groups like DeGarmo and Key to record in the last two decades of the 20th century.

The studio established a name for itself with early classics by Sam & Dave, Led Zeppelin, Isaac Hayes, Leon Russell and The Staples Singers, then scored hits in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s with such artists as James Taylor, ZZ Top, R.E.M., George Thorogood, The Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, and Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The legacy continues in the new millennium with hits recorded by The White Stripes, 3 Doors Down, Cat Power, North Mississippi Allstars, The Raconteurs, and award-winning music for such films as Hustle and Flow and Black Snake Moan. To date, Ardent has amassed over 70 gold and platinum albums and singles.


Ardent Studios began when founder John Fry (then just a teenager) built a studio in his family's garage, where he recorded his first Ardent Records 45's. In 1966, Fry was done with school and his family decided to sell the house, and so Fry decided to make a career commitment to recording music. The operation moved into a new store building on Memphismarker' National Street, which was shared with a bookshop. The original equipment came from the garage operation: Altec tube console, Ampex 2-track, Pultec EQ and Neumann mics—some of which are still in use today. The legendary Tom Dowd was consulting with Auditronics on an early multitrack console for nearby Stax Records, and Fry ordered the same input modules for his second board. Next came a Scully 4-track, the first EMT plate reverbs in the area, and the beginnings of a world class collection of gear. As a young studio owner, Fry was fortunate to get the overflow work from Stax Records. Walking through the Ardent doors came Isaac Hayes, Booker T. and the MGs, The Bar-Kays, Johnnie Taylor, Rufus Thomas, and Albert King, as well as Leon Russell and artists on his Shelter label. Top artists came back, and brought their friends. Ardent became home to young producers and engineers such as Jim Dickinson, Terry Manning, Joe Hardy, John Hampton, Paul Ebersold, and later, many other successful figures who are part of the Ardent family circle, including Skidd Mills, Jeff Powell, Jason Latshaw, and Pete Matthews. In 1971, Ardent Studios moved to its present location on Madison Avenue, followed by the acquisition of 24-track recorders, bigger consoles and more gear. Today Ardent has three studios equipped with large format Neve and SSL desks alongside hi-resolution Pro Tools rigs, and is managed by Jody Stephens, who also does double duty as the drummer for Big Star -- an early Ardent group which continues to perform today. Their first two albums appeared on the Stax-distributed Ardent Records label in the early 1970s, and the catalogue has continued to win new fans for more than three decades. All three Big Star albums were named in Rolling Stone's Top 500 albums of all time, and “In The Street,” from their first album, became the theme for “That 70s Show.”


A brief listing of selected Ardent Studios clientele, past and present.

The White Stripes, Mach Five, The Raconteurs, Montgomery Gentry, Guy Sebastian, Puscifer, Cat Power, M.I.A., 3 Doors Down, Gin Blossoms, R.E.M., John Hiatt, Black Snake Moan (Movie Score), Hustle & Flow (Movie Score), Cracker, Cheap Trick, Sister Hazel, The Replacements, Steve Earle, Afghan Whigs, Soundgarden, ZZ Top, Skillet, Todd Agnew, Big Star, Mika Nakashima, Alex Chilton, Todd Snider, The Posies, Reverend Horton Heat, Seven Mary Three, Dave Matthews, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, B. B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, Zucchero, Maria Taylor, Luther Allison, Albert Collins, Robert Cray, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Fuel, Bob Dylan, Mudhoney, Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies, Archers of Loaf, Dreams So Real, Golden Smog, North Mississippi Allstars, George Thorogood, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, .38 Special, Anthony Gomes, Toots Hibbert, Bar-Kays, Anita Ward, Leon Russell, Travis Tritt, Marty Stuart, Tanya Tucker, Airspace, Tim McCarver, Aaron Tippin, Little Texas, Shawn Camp, Marty Brown, Waylon Jennings, George Ducas, The Allman Brothers, The Georgia Satellites, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joe Walsh, Tom Cochrane, Bottle Rockets, Take the Wheel, Black Rob, DC Talk, Big Tent Revival, Smalltown Poets, Mojo Nixon, Javier Vargas (Vargas Blues Band), Juvenile, Gorilla Blac, Carlos Broady, Yo Gotti, Led Zeppelin, Audio Adrenaline, DeGarmo and Key, Spacehog, Primal Scream, Speakeasy, Johnny Diesel & The Injectors, Booker T & the MG's, The Radiators, The Tragically Hip, Scott Bomar and the Bo-Keys, Green On Red, 8Ball & MJG, Triple 6 Mafia, The Hooters, The Cramps, Coco Montoya, Against Me!.

Recent projects

Guy Sebastian - The Memphis Album

In August, 2007 Guy Sebastian recorded The Memphis Album his tribute album of soul classics at Ardent Studios in Memphismarker, Tennessee with many of the original Stax music band members including Steve Cropper, Donald Duck Dunn, Lester Snell, Steve Potts (a.k.a. Booker T. and the MGs). Steve Cropper also produced the record, with Steve Greenwell mixing. The album was recorded on analogue tape live in the studio. Ardent Studios sound engineer Curry Weber explained the reason for this, "Going to tape is just such a richer and warmer tone when you hit it first of all. Not a lot of guys these days are talented enough to go to tape, cause it’s so definitive and destructive. When you’re on tape, it’s on tape, and its really hard to go in and fix a bunch of stuff like you can with computer these days. Just having all those guys out there on the floor. You know those guys are amazing musicians, so going to tape was easy for them."

The Memphis Album received a nomination for Highest Selling Album at the 2008 ARIA Awards, finishing 3rd and makingGuy Sebastian the highest selling male artist in the 2008 ARIA year.

Chart (2007) Peak

Australian ARIA Albums Chart 3 3 platinum (SonyBMG recognition)


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