Alumnus started recording studio that defined Southern rock | Mercer Made

Phil Walden

Phil Walden is known as one of the founders of Capricorn Records, but his story as a music pioneer actually began as a student at Mercer University.

Walden, a 1962 graduate, was booking bands for fraternity parties when he discovered and became friends with soul musician Otis Redding. They began developing plans for a studio, but that was put on hold after Redding’s sudden death in a plane crash in 1967.

Capricorn Records became a reality in 1969 and, with the help of Alan Walden, Frank Fenter and others, soon became home to the Allman Brothers Band, which helped define a new musical genre known as Southern rock. The label later opened Capricorn Sound Studios, where legendary groups such as the Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels Band, Wet Willie and many others recorded.On Dec. 3, the former Capricorn Sound Studios was dedicated as Mercer Music at Capricorn, with the goal of honoring the past and creating new music for the future.

Mercer Made is a series in which we feature notable people, businesses, products and inventions connected to Mercer University.


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Jennifer Falk is the director of digital communications at Mercer University and editor-in-chief of The Den. She creates and supervises the development of written and multimedia content for primary University web pages and e-newsletters, including The Den and This Week @ Mercer. In addition, she collaborates with schools and offices to maintain web content and examines data and analytics to drive content creation decisions. She also serves as a member of the University's social media committee.