Iconic Recording Studios (Part 1)

 

When bands are not touring, performing, or traveling around the world, they are most likely hard at work in the recording studio. Without a well-equipped space, knowledgeable producers and sound engineers, making and releasing records would be quite difficult, if not impossible. Today, the home recording studio is becoming increasingly popular. Technology is allowing the novice musician/producer an opportunity to record and upload music right from their home. However, before artists were able to record in their pajamas, they had the, sometimes challenging and daunting task, of seeking out reputable recording studios. Throughout the years, various recording studios were responsible for many famous albums and songs. A few have closed, some have become museums and tourist attractions, and others still remain in use. Here is a look at a few iconic music recording studios.

 

 

1). Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

A well-known recording studio in Sheffield, Alabama. It was founded in 1969 by a few session musicians who wanted to branch out and form their own space and personal sound. The name was inspired by various cities that had their ‘own unique sounds’ like Memphis and Nashville. This was the Muscle Shoals, Alabama sound. One of the most well-known names that is associated with this area and studio is Duane Allman of the famed Allman Brothers Band. Allman was a session musician for many years here and at FAME studios also in Muscle Shoals. The studio closed its doors in April of 1979 but relocated in another area of Sheffield. Operations continued until 2005 and with that, the “Muscle Sound Studio era ended.” The building was registered as a historic site in June 2006 and remains as a tourist attraction. There are even talks about reopening the studio for future recording!

 

Notable Recordings/Artists:

Rolling Stones: “Wild Horses,”

Rod Stewart: “Atlantic Crossing”

Bob Dylan: “Gotta Serve Somebody”

The Black Keys: “Brothers”

Aretha Franklin

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Bob Segar

Steve Winwood

And More

 

2). Sunset Sound Studios/Sound Factory

Opened in 1962 in Hollywood, California on Sunset Boulevard. The studio was built and operated by former Walt Disney ‘director of recording’ Tutti Camarata. Originally, the studio mainly produced tracks for Disney films including Bambi, 101 Dalmatians, Mary Poppins, and others. Meanwhile, another studio called Sound Factory which was owned and run by David Hassinger, gained a lot of popularity through the 60’s and 70’s, recording bands like Linda Ronstadt, Seals & Croft, and others. Almost randomly, the Sound Factory shut down in 1980 and “remained dormant for close to a year.” Tutti and Paul Camarata at this point decided to purchase the building as an extension to Sunset Sound Studios. The studio keeps up with changing and evolving technology and maintained a steady flow of well-known musicians. The studio has been operating for about 55 years and continues to produce hit records.

 

Notable Recordings/Artists

Earth Wind And Fire: Multiple Albums

Black Keys: “Fever,” “Turn Blue”

Beck: “Morning Phase”

Frozen Soundtrack

Linda Ronstadt

Bonnie Raitt

Tom Waits

Ringo Starr

Los Lobos

Elvis Costello

Rolling Stones

Jim Morrison

Elton John

And Many More!

 

3). Abbey Road Studios

Abbey Road is not just a famous Beatles album. Abbey Road is a street in London, England where there happens to be, arguably, the most popular recording studio in history. The building, which was at first a townhouse built in 1831 was established as a recording studio in 1931 and was originally named EMI Studios. In the later 30’s and 40’s, the studio brought in various classical musicians and Glenn Miller even recorded an album in 1944. The later 1950’s however is when the studio really started to make their name as a Rock and Roll recording spot. The studio is most famous for being the go to location for the Beatles who “recorded most of their albums and singles between 1962 and 1970.” They even named their 1969 classic album Abbey Road after the road the studio was located on. In fact, the street became so illustrious after the album, that the building was renamed Abbey Road Studios in 1970. Two notable records that were recorded here that come to mind are Help! and The Dark Side of the Moon. The studio is still in business to this day and received an “English Heritage Grade II” in 2010 which “preserves the building from any major alterations.”

 

Notable Recordings/Artists

Beatles: “Please Please Me,” “With The Beatles,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Beatles For Sale,” “Help!,” “Rubber Soul,” “Revolver,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Magical Mystery Tour,” “White Album,” “Yellow Submarine,” “Abbey Road.”

Pink Floyd: “The Piper At the Gates of Dawn,” A Saucerful of Secrets,” Ummagumma,” “Atom Heart Mother,” “Meddle,” “The Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here,”

Jeff Beck: “Truth”

Deep Purple: “Bloodsucker”

John Lennon: “Plastic Ono Band”

Black Keys

Ella Fitzgerald

Elton John

Jamiroquai

John Mayer

Oasis

Queen

Radiohead

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Rush

U2

Umphrey’s McGee

And Many More

 

4). Olympic Studios

In 1965, the company Olympic Sound Studios moved into a building in Barnes, London and opened a recording studio that would later become the location for some of music’s most top-notch albums and tracks. Apparently, it was noted as “the go to studio for many of rock’s leading lights in the music industry’s golden era,” and is up there with Abbey Road Studios. The studio had some of the most renowned producers like Eddie Kramer, Jimmy Miller and others, who helped to craft some fabulous albums. The studio also worked with film scores for “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Due to a longstanding copy write issue surrounding the name “Olympic,” the studio was never properly promoted and focus began shifting to other rival studios like “Abbey Road.” Unfortunately, the studio shut down in 2009 and as of 2013, is now a cinema.

 

Notable Recordings/Artists

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: “Are You Experienced?” “Axis Bold as Love,” “Electric Ladyland”

Led Zeppelin: “Led Zeppelin” I-III, “Houses of the Holy”

Traffic: “Mr. Fantasy,” “Traffic”

Mott The Hoople: “All The Young Dues”

BB King

David Bowie

Eric Clapton “Slowhand”

Joe Cocker

The Eagles

Pink Floyd

Peter Gabriel

Howlin Wolf

Jethro Tull

King Crimson

Oasis

Prince

Procol Harum

The Rolling Stones

The Yardbirds

Stevie Wonder

And Many More

 

 

5). Trident Studios

Another big-name studio coming to you from London. Trident was built in 1967 by drummer Norman and his brother Barry Sheffield. With all of the other amazing studios around them, Trident needed something to set their studio apart from the competition. Therefore, they decided to “employ an eight-track reel to reel recording deck” when everyone else was using a four track. Trident wasted no time recording major artists and albums. Among others, some of the most prominent artists that frequented Trident were Queen, The Beatles, and David Bowie. After making a significant mark on the music industry, Trident shut down in 1981.

 

Notable Recordings/Artists

Beatles: “Hey Jude,” “White Album”

David Bowie: “Space Oddity,” The Man Who Sold the World,” “Hunky Dory,” “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” “Aladdin Sane,” “Pin Ups”

Elton John: “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Tumbleweed Connection” and Others

Queen

The Rolling stones

Genesis

Free

Rush

Lou Reed

Mott The Hoople

And More

 

By Patrick Ortiz 

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