top of page

A Walking Tour on the Wild Side: Unraveling the Tales of an Infamous Murder in Nashville's Printers Alley

Oh, Nashville, you're not just a city of twanging guitars and soul-stirring melodies! Sure, the music gets you through the door, but it's the stories woven into your streets that keep us wide-eyed and wandering. Today, we're strapping on our most comfortable walking shoes and heading down a path lined with history, mystery, and a dash of the macabre. Buckle up, history buffs and travel enthusiasts; we're about to explore Nashville Walking Tours' most gripping sites: The Murder of David Schulman and Skulls in Printers Alley.

The Legend of Skull's Rainbow Room

David Schulman with his dog
David Schulman wa a character

Imagine a place pulsating with the rhythms of jazz, a venue where the stage has borne the

weight of musical giants like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and yes, even Bob Dylan. This isn't just any hidden gem; it's Skull's Rainbow Room, the vibrant heart of Printers Alley since 1948. Owned by the charismatic David "Skull" Schulman, this establishment was far more than a mere bar; it was a haven for those with soulful hearts and spirited minds.

Skull wasn't merely the proprietor; he was the very lifeblood of Printers Alley. Always dressed to impress, whether in jackets that dripped with glamour or overalls that hinted at a readiness for unrestrained fun, he stood as a symbol of lavishness in its most splendid form. Yet, beyond the shimmer of rhinestones and the dazzle of jazz hands, Skull's most brilliant shine emanated from his boundlessly generous spirit. He was known for extending a helping hand to the homeless, offering a warm meal, a blanket, or just a moment of his time, and for greeting everyone who entered his domain with a radiant smile. In doing so, he became more than just the unofficial mayor of Nashville's nightlife; he was a cherished friend to everyone who crossed his path.

The magic of Skull's Rainbow Room didn't stop at its eclectic owner. The walls of this legendary venue, steeped in the history of decades, were adorned with photographs and memorabilia that told stories of the icons who had graced its stage. The air, thick with anticipation and the scent of bourbon, seemed to whisper tales of the past, inviting patrons to lose themselves in the allure of music and camaraderie. On any given night, a mix of locals and travelers alike could be found, drawn together by the shared promise of unforgettable performances and the chance to be part of something truly extraordinary.

In essence, Skull's Rainbow Room was more than a spot on the map of Nashville's nightlife. It was a testament to the power of music, community, and the enduring spirit of its founder, David "Skull" Schulman. It stood as a sanctuary for the soulful, a playground for the spirited, and a beacon of joy in the heart of Printers Alley, cherished by many and forgotten by none.


Skull's Rainbow Room in Printers Alley
Skull's Rainbow Room in Printers Alley

The Tragedy That Shook Music City

But not all tunes end on a high note. In 1998, the melody that had long resonated through Printers Alley faced a sudden, somber pause. Schulman, a figure synonymous with the Alley's vibrant nightlife and at the ripe age of eighty, was found in his own Rainbow Room, life fading amid a scene that was anything but colorful. The details were grisly—a throat slit, a skull fractured, painting a picture of violence starkly contrasting with the joy and laughter that had filled the room on countless occasions. The city reeled as news of his murder echoed through the streets, sending shockwaves through the hearts of those who knew him and those who had merely known of him. Sweetie, his loyal poodle, left to wander among the ghosts of jazz legends past, added a poignant touch to the tragedy.


Nashville wept. Tanya Tucker, Willie Nelson, and a chorus of celebrities and locals alike poured into the streets, united in grief. It was more than an outpouring of sorrow; it was a testament to the man who had dressed the night in sequins and song, who had welcomed the weary and the elated alike into his establishment, offering solace and celebration. Schulman had been more than a club owner; he was a beacon of the community, a man whose absence dimmed the lights of Printers Alley for seventeen long years. His legacy, however, continued to live on, in the stories shared by those who remembered the golden days, and in the silent, somber melody that seemed to linger in the air, a haunting reminder of what had been lost.


Printers Alley: The Phoenix that Rose Again

But what about Printers Alley today? According to Michael McCall, it remains a unique crossroads where the "rich and famous stood shoulder to shoulder with the broke and forgotten." This eclectic mix was largely the work of one man, whose generous spirit and open doors of his bar created a haven for all. Even though the alleyways may no longer resonate with the same melodies as they did under Skull's management, the essence of inclusivity and celebration endures.

Our walking tours in Music City offer more than a mere tracing of the footsteps of country music legends; they invite participants on a profound exploration into the heart of Nashville. The tours weave through the city, spotlighting the dazzling legacy left by David "Skull" Schulman and the alleyways that softly recount tales of yesteryear. With every step, visitors encounter a story; with every turn, they uncover a new chapter in the city's rich history. This journey through Nashville is not just about observing; it's about feeling deeply connected to the soul of a city that has been a cradle of musical and cultural transformation.


Lace Up Those Nashville Walking Boots for a Tour

Whether you consider yourself a die-hard history buff, a travel enthusiast with a deep love for the unconventional, or a local resident eager to view the city from a fresh perspective, the enthralling tales of Skull's Rainbow Room and the historic Printers Alley are an invitation to a journey waiting to be embarked upon. Embark on a Nashville Walking Tour with us, a unique experience where the melodies of music, the allure of mystery, and the warmth of memories seamlessly converge. This isn't merely a stroll through the annals of history; it's an opportunity to engage in a spirited dance with the ghosts of Music City's most vibrant and intriguing characters.

Remember, Nashville transcends its reputation as a pilgrimage site for country music aficionados; it stands as a veritable treasure trove brimming with stories yearning for the light of day. As we meander through its streets, immersing ourselves in the echoes of yesteryears, we're reminded of the ethos that Skull's sanctuary embodied: an open invitation to all, reaffirming the belief that every narrative is worth listening to, every voice deserves attention. Now, who's ready to peel back the layers of Nashville's history and uncover the secrets nestled in the heart of the iconic Printers Alley?

Let's delve deeper into the heart of Nashville, beyond the vibrant neon lights and the famed honky-tonks, to uncover hidden gems that reveal the city's soul. With every step on our walking tour, we'll trace the footprints of legends, uncover the stories of pioneers who left an indelible mark on the city's cultural and musical landscape. From the whispers of forgotten alleyways to the roaring stages that launched a thousand careers, our journey through Nashville is more than a tour; it's a homage to the spirit of creativity and resilience that defines this city.

So, gather your sense of adventure, don your most comfortable walking shoes, and join us as we explore the shadowy corners and luminous highlights of Nashville. Together, we'll discover not just the stories that made the city famous, but also the unsung tales that add depth to its melody. In the end, you'll walk away with more than just memories; you'll carry with you a deeper understanding and appreciation of what makes Nashville truly unique. Now, let the adventure begin. Who's with us?

5 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page