Music is made up of more than just a singer, or a guitarist, or even an entire band. Music encompasses the emotions of the song writer, the mood of the performers, and the environment of their performance. The same song performed on stage vs in a recording studio will have different energy.
This also applies to the recording studios that your favorite albums are made in. By providing different sources of inspiration as well as different acoustics. In this blog, we will explore some of the most famous, legendary recording studios that have produced some of the world's most popular music.
Anybody who has heard of the Beatles has heard of Abbey Road and knows the iconic picture of the street crossing in front of the studio on their Abbey Road album. However, Abbey Road was around long before the Beatles. Originally a nine-bedroom house built in 1829, Abbey Road celebrated its grand opening as a recording studio in 1931.
The location for the recording studio was chosen because of the lack of noise from traffic and trains at the time. It also contained a large garden for ambiance.
Abbey Road has seen some of the biggest names in musical history including Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Cliff Richard, Aretha Franklin, The Hollies, Pink Floyd, and of course, The Beatles. Over the years, Abbey Road has also made great strides in evolutionizing the production and recording process.
The Hitsville USA recording studio is best known for one thing: Motown. The studio was founded in 1959 by Berry Gordy. The creation of Motown was the beginning of a movement that would help change the United States for the better.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s there was a great racial divide in the country and the music made here helped the artists and their listeners escape their troubles, if just for a moment. Motown helped bring people together, as music often does, and lifted the spirits of everyone involved, whether they be a performer or listener.
Motown artists that helped to create and shape this movement include: The Contours, The Jackson 5, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye, just to name a few. You can visit the Hitsville USA studio museum these days to remember and celebrate Motown
The Caribou Ranch
Located in the Rocky Mountains, near Boulder Colorado, there’s a barn on acres and acres of land that once housed one of the most famous recording studios of the 1970’s
The land was purchased by Jim Guercio, a song writer and producer for bands including Chicago and Blood, Sweet, and Tears. He wanted to create a place where artists could escape the craziness of their everyday lives — somewhere they could enjoy a nice walk along a hiking trail and clear their minds.
The Caribou Ranch was created to be a retreat/recording studio, where musicians would go on to produce some of the best music of their lives. Some of the artists that recorded there include: Michael Jackson, Chicago, Elton John, John Lennon, Phil Collins, and so many more.
The Caribou Ranch now hosts an artist-in-residence program, and is also an open public space owned by Boulder County for hikers and artists alike.
Sun Studios are located in Memphis, Tennessee and are known as the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. The studio was originally built for blues, but soon blues gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll and Sun Studios was there to capture it all.
Artists like B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley are known for recording at Sun Studios. The studio closed in the 1970’s and now exists as a museum for tourists. You can go there and tour the studio where so many of the greats created their music.
Capitol Studios is best known for their echo chambers that they built in their basement. These chambers were designed by Les Paul and are meant to get a better reverb sound.
Capitol Studios has been up and running since 1956 and still operates today. With that long of a career, you can imagine the amount of artists that have recorded there, some of the most notable being: Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, and Nat King Cole, but the full list would be a very long one, expanding 7 decades.
Headley Grange is best known for the place where many of Led Zeppelin’s albums were recorded. They were known for setting up the drum set in the stairwell for a uniquely amazing sound, that you can hear in their song, “When the Levee Breaks.”
The building of Headley Grange was originally a poor house located in London, and many refer to it as a haunted house. Some of the musicians that recorded there include: Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, Bad Company, and Peter Frampton.