Welcome To 1979 is housed in one of the most historic buildings in Nashville. Below is a timeline of its history along with some links, please explore them to learn about all the music that has been made here over the past 63 years!
1953- Allen Bubis aka “The King of the Cheapies” builds the 33,000 square foot record pressing plant. He records knock offs of hit songs, presses and sells the pirated versions though his mail order catalog. This is highly illegal activity!
1965- After a few brushes with the Federal Government, Bubis decides to sell his pressing plant to Motown Records and it becomes a legitimate pressing plant called Mid South Records. Motown and Chess Records are the majority of records pressed during this historic music era. Leonard Chess frequents the building and even has a barber chair installed in the area that is now the studio’s dining room.
1968- Motown sells Mid South Records to GRT Records (General Recorded Tape) and it becomes the record pressing plant for GRT. GRT begins pressing albums for RCA, Columbia, Capitol, Atlantic, Arista, K-Tel & Ronco Records. At that time, it was estimated that 90% of all retail stores carried music that was manufactured by GRT.
1970- GRT purchases the adjacent 7,000 square foot building from Lanahan Plastics and turned it into an electroplating facility to service their growing record pressing needs.
1973- GRT does a major overhaul to the operations in the building by adding
8 track tape duplication. All the record presses were upgraded
to automatic SMT presses, allowing GRT
to pump out a stunning
50,000 records per day.
1977- Elvis Presley Dies. GRT begins pressing only Elvis records, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the next 7 months.
1978- GRT resumes pressing for it’s other clients, and records by artists such as The Grateful Dead, Kenny Rogers, Eric Clapton, Crystal Gale & The Bee Gees are pressed.
1979- GRT declares bankruptcy and closes down their Nashville operations. As a result, vinyl records cease to be pressed at this location.
1981- Chuck Duncan purchases the space and starts NTD Corp, manufacturing cassette tapes. Later the company became National Tape & Disc Corporation, or NTC (these letters are still on the outside of the building).
1987- NTC enters into the digital age by duplicating Compact Discs.
2005- due to increasing competition in the CD duplicating market from such companies as Disc Makers and Oasis, NTC is forced to close its doors.
2008- Chris Mara, an established Nashville recording engineer, leases 7,000 square feet of the building from Chuck Duncan and forms Welcome To 1979 recording studio. Mara is unaware of the building’s history at this time, the name of the studio is purely coincidental.
2009- Welcome To 1979 adds an additional 1,500 square feet and forms Mara Machines, an analog tape machine restoration company focusing on restoring MCI tape machines that were originally manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s. These are the same tape machines (and consoles) that Welcome To 1979 utilizes.
2013- Welcome To 1979 adds a vinyl mastering room equipped with a Neumann VMS 70 lacquer cutting lathe in order to serve its growing vinyl needs. A whopping 3,000 vinyl projects are completed in the next two years.
2014- Mara Machines becomes the world’s largest tape machine restoration company, restoring & selling 50 machines in a single year.
2015- Chris Mara, Yoli Mara & Lori Hines form Welcome To 1979 Industries and lease an additional 3,800 square feet in the same building. The new company is formed to serve the vinyl industry via their new, state of the art electroforming plant. This new company brings vinyl manufacturing back into the building for the first time since 1979.