As a guitarist, bass player, arranger and composer, Chicago native James William Guercio, started in the music business with Dick Clark in 1962. Touring and performing with Gene Pitney, Brian Hyland, Del Shannon, Chuck Berry, Bobby Darin, and Chad and Jeremy. He was an original guitarist with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention along with producing, arranging, and composing numerous hits for Chad and Jeremy and the Buckinghams. Guercio received a Grammy Award for his work as a music producer winning Album of the Year in 1969 for Blood, Sweat & Tears. In 1971, searching for the perfect environment for artists to record, Jim purchased the Caribou Ranch jut west of Boulder, Colorado to build what would become the legendary Caribou Ranch studio.
In 1972, Joe Walsh recorded the first album in the studio, the eponymous Barnstorm, with Grammy-winning producer and engineer Bill Szymczyk, in Guercio’s barn turned studio. The barn conversion was not complete at the time Walsh came into the studio, but the dirt floors only added to the ambiance. “Rocky Mountain Way” was the first song written and recorded at Caribou Ranch and soon word got out that Mr. Guercio had created a state of the art recording studio in an acoustically perfect setting. Caribou Ranch brought Rock & Roll to the west as the country’s premiere destination recording studio. At 8,600 feet in the mountains of Colorado, Guercio introduced the decades’ most iconic artists to a creative retreat like no other.
Chicago, Stephen Stills, Rick Derringer, Michael Jackson, U2, Sheena Easton, Chic Corea, Heart, Peter Frampton, Phil Collins, Earth, Wind and Fire, Rod Stewart, Amy Grant, Billy Joel, Elton John, Carole King, John Lennon, The Beach Boys, Waylon Jennings, Supertramp, Jeff Beck, Manassas, War, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Steve Martin are among the many Caribou Ranch guests. The ranch hosted hundreds of musicians and artists during its tenure producing dozens top ten albums, Grammys, and number one Billboard hits, including "If You Leave Me Now" for which Jim Guercio won a Grammy for Best Arrangement in 1976.
In addition to owning and operating the recording studio, Guercio produced and directed "Electra Glide in Blue“, starring Robert Blake, the American entry in the 1973 Cannes Film Festival.
In 1986, Guercio was the primary founder and shareholder of Country Music Television which was sold to Gaylord/Westinghouse in 1991. In 1990, the Guercios started acquiring property in southeastern Montana which has a current portfolio of over 60,000 acres.
The family continues to curate and preserve the musical history of the Caribou Ranch, which will be inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame along with Joe Walsh & Barnstorm, and Dan Fogelberg in 2016.