During the 1970s, Macon’s Capricorn Recording Studio was a mecca for Southern Rock music legends such as the Allman Brothers Band, Charlie Daniels Band, Dixie Dregs, and the Marshall Tucker Band. Capricorn Recording Studio filed bankruptcy in 1979. In 1986, the building reopened and operated under several music labels before being purchased by Mercer University in 1999. In 2008, MLK Properties, LLC purchased the former studio with plans to rehabilitate it. On November 3, 2009, the building was foreclosed upon. Photo from The Georgia Trust

Capricorn Studios will re-open in Macon this year

In the 1970s, Capricorn Sound Studios was synonymous with Southern rock.

From The Allman Brothers to Wet Willie, Elvin Bishop to the Marshall Tucker Band, hordes of artists recorded at the building in downtown Macon. 

And for its 50th anniversary, the studio will be reborn.

Fueled by a $2 million boost from the Peyton Anderson Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Mercer University plans to re-open Capricorn Sound Studios by the end of the year with a fully restored historic recording studio, as well as a larger studio that can be utilized for orchestral recordings, film scorings and live performances.

The original studio was purchased by the late Phil Walden – the impresario behind Capricorn Records and a Mercer alumnus – along with his brother Alan Walden and Otis Redding, in 1967. The studio opened two years later when The Allman Brothers Band became rooted in Macon. 

Plans that included Mercer’s involvement have been in discussion since at least 2015. The Peyton Anderson Foundation made previous grants to purchase the building out of foreclosure and stabilize it after the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation placed the building on its “Places in Peril” list in 2010.

Along with the studio space, the newly named Mercer Music at Capricorn will encompass a 20,000-square-foot complex that will spotlight artifacts and exhibits of Capricorn and Macon’s music history and a 24/7 “music incubator” – 13 rehearsal rooms available to musicians to facilitate the development of musical talent.

Mercer University plans to celebrate the studio’s re-opening with live music and tours of the new facility on Dec. 3. 

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Video: Take a tour of Capricorn Studios

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.