Music Row's House of David named to National Register of Histori - WSMV Channel 4

Music Row's House of David named to National Register of Historic Places

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The place has hosted many greats, now House of David recording studio on Music Row will be preserved through a placing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Day to day, Mike Bathke works as a chiropractor, but he has never set aside his guitar.

"Life happens, but it's part of your soul," said Bathke, between playing songs at House of David. "It's part of your inspiration. It's why you wake up every morning."

In finding truth in lyrics and music, Bathke said there's few greater places to play than a house so steeped in musical history.

"You can feel it," he said. "You can feel it. I know you can. You can feel the vibe. You can feel the magic when you come in here."

House of David is owned by keyboardist, producer, composer and arranger David Briggs.

"Clint Black cut his first hits here," said Briggs, thinking back to the many artists who have walked through the studio doors.

"You got your Waylons and your Willies," Bathke laughed.

"Kris Kristofferson, Roy Orbison, Joe Cocker, Bo Diddley, B.B. King," said Mike Davis of House of David. "We've got our old vintage API console. It was actually built for Marvin Gaye. Here we have a drum kit. It's been on some Lionel Richie records, Shania Twain, Kenny Chesney records and the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

"Here's the famous Elvis trap door," added Davis, pulling back a rug to show a door underneath. "That way he could come through the control room without being bothered by anybody. Elvis passed away that summer, so he didn't get to use the door, but it was built for him."

With so much history to the house and its instruments, Briggs said he wanted to protect it all.

"I figured as soon as I died, it would be torn down," Briggs said. "There'd be a big, huge, ugly apartment building. Nothing against apartment buildings but not on Music Row. I'm getting older. I'd like for this to be here when I'm gone too. I wanted to do this so this house could be preserved."

After applying a year ago, House of David was added this week to the National Register of Historic Places. Briggs is hoping more places on Music Row will follow his lead.

"I thought it might help influence some of the other people who own property here to try to preserve it rather than selling out and trying to make all the money they could make out of their investment," he said. "I just can't imagine it being condo row versus Music Row. Unfortunately, there are a lot of new owners here. They're the ones who'll sell out."

"That we maintain them is so, so important," Bathke said. "It's our legacy. It's our heart and soul, especially in Nashville where such magical things have happened in this building."

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