Abbey Road Studios
The most celebrated and well known recording studio on the planet, Abbey Road Studios in London is an undisputed rock ‘n’ roll landmark.
The studio boasts a storied history of recording, with many of the world’s most loved rock bands and artists recording some of their best records in the studio.
The most famous of course is The Beatles, who turned the studios into a site of pilgrimage when they titled their 1969 album after the road it is based on, and had that famous cover shot taken on the zebra crossing nearby.
Besides The Beatles, the likes of Pink Floyd, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Elliott Smith have all recorded albums or parts of albums at this premier recording venue. Its acoustics, collection of microphones and vintage recording equipment and the skill of its award winning engineers are legendary. In short, it is at the cutting edge of recording music, both technologically advanced and with a great respect to the past.
The studio also offers mastering, online mixing, archiving and transferring. It opens its doors for a limited number of events per annum too.
Location: 3 Abbey Road, London, England NW8 9AY
One of the most renowned recording studios in the United States (and indeed the world), the famous Sun Studio was founded by esteemed entrepreneur and rock music impresario Sam Phillips on 3rd January 1950.
The studio, which is based at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, is sometimes labelled the “birthplace of rock & roll” by rock historians, as the reported first single of the genre, ‘Rocket 88’ by Jackie Brenston And His Delta Cats was recorded there in 1951.
It is most famous though for its record label and as the place the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins , Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison cut some of their earliest records. Blues and R&B legends such as Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King and Rufus Thomas, also recorded at the studio in the early 1950s.
The studio originally carried the name Memphis Recording Service, sharing the same building with the Sun Records label business.
Phillips later opened the larger Sam C. Phillips Recording Studio, better known as Phillips Recording, in 1959, as the success of his venture grew and grew.
In 1987, the original building reopened as a landmark and tourist attraction. The record label is still running today, and Sun’s place in rock folklore is already assured.
Location: 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, USA 38103
The Electrical Audio recording studio is a two-studio complex located in Chicago, Illinois. It is owned and run by the noted underground rock musician and engineer Steve Albini of Big Black and Shellac fame.
Albini is known as much – if not more – for the records he has recorded for others as he is for his own, the former category including such seminal releases as Nirvana’s In Utero, PJ Harvey’s Rid Of Me, The Breeders Pod and Pixies’s Surfer Rosa.
Although those records were recorded elsewhere (several at the secluded Pachyderm Studio in Minnesota) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, since its opening in 1997, Electric Audio has become one of the chief creative homes of independent rock.
Literally hundreds of bands have book time to utilise the top-notch recording equipment, space and expertise of Albini and others such as Greg Norman (who has recorded Kim Deal and Godspeed You! Black Emperor among many others).
Adobe walls were brought in from New Mexico to provide the acoustics Albini desired, and the complex also contains a “Center Field”, a room named “Alcatraz” plus a “Dead Room,” the latter which provides a small space for dead or dry recordings with little to no room ambience.
The likes of Cloud Nothings, Nina Nastasia and Neurosis have recorded here in recent years. Despite their busy schedules, Albini and Bob Weston have thus far thankfully still found enough time to knock out a new Shellac record every six or seven years.
Location: 2621 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, USA 60618
Sunset Sound Studio
For over half a century Sunset Sound studio has been churning out classic records from some of the best known artists on the globe. The studio on the strip, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, has recorded everyone from The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Ryan Adams, Morrissey and M83.
The five room studio – whose building was originally an automotive repair garage – was founded by entrepreneur Tutti Camarata, and moved from recording scores for Disney films to capturing the sounds of some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands.
Sunset Sound boasts high quality equipment in its custom setting, with an enviable array of customized consoles, discrete component equipment, and vintage microphones.
Back In 1982 the owners opened a two room sister facility simply called Sound Factory, which has been similarly successful with the likes of Tom Waits, Los Lobos and Counting Crows recording there in times gone by.
Location: 6650 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California, USA 90028
Electric Lady Studios
Electric Lady Studios have been a staple of the thriving New York music scene for over four decades now, when Seattle born rock icon Jimi Hendrix and his manager Michael Jeffery purchased the recently closed nightspot The Generation on 52 West and 8th Street in trendy Greenwich Village. Hendrix was a regular at the nightclub, playing sets and jamming on the stage after closing.
Hendrix originally intended to run the club as a live music venue (it had previously welcomed the likes of bluesmen B.B. King and Chuck Berry and folkie Dave Van Ronk on its stage) before being convinced by businessmen Eddie Kramer and Jim Marron to convert it into a world-class recording studio. Noted architect John Storyk was enlisted by Hendrix and partners to painstakingly design each key structural aspect, and soon after the now world renowned Electric Lady Studios were birthed.
Hendrix hosted the studio’s opening on 26 August 1970, Hendrix with guests Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ron Wood, and Patti Smith in attendance. Sadly, the psychedelic rock pioneer would be dead less than a month later after an overdose of barbiturates.
Nonetheless, Electric Lady Studios has gone on to be a massive success despite the untimely death of its chief visionary. From the 1970s onwards the studio recorded albums by such rock luminaries as The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, and Patti Smith among many, many others. Recent users of the studio include dreamy chanteuse Lana Del Rey, Irish rock behemoths U2 and Montreal-based indie outfit Arcade Fire.
Electric Lady remains the most senior recording studio in New York City still in business.
Location: 52 West 8th Street, Greenwich Village, New York City, New York , USA 10011
Situated inside the iconic Capitol Records building in Los Angeles, Capitol Studios has been recording the world’s biggest name bands and artists since opening way back in 1956.
The state of the art studio has welcomed such popular music legends as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and the label’s flagship band The Beach Boys.
The recording complex boasts three studios letter A, B and C, plus the Echo Chambers. Studio A is the biggest of the three recording space, with more than 1500 sq ft of floor space. It is the original studio opened in1956 so therefore boasts over a half century of audio recording. It can house up to 50 musicians at a time and is noted as one of the best sounding orchestra rooms in the world.
Studio B is separated from A by a retractable wall, which can be moved to unite them. The studio also houses two isolation booths which are perfect for both acoustic and electric instruments. It has largely been the studio of choice for rock ‘n’ roll bands and has a Yamaha C9 and New York Steinway “B” piano for clients to use.
Studio C has been predominantly used for musical scores and jazz recordings, but is still sometimes used by bands.
And 30 feet below the Capitol Building lay the eight Echo Chambers: 2000 cubic feet hideaways which can grant superb reverberation and a completely natural tone. Each chamber is unique in its own right, due to the speakers and microphones available and their placement in the chamber. The trapezoidal chambers were built from reinforced concrete and designed with sloping ceilings to avoid any parallel surfaces.
Albums recorded at the complex include Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me, Paul McCartney’s recent LP Kisses On The Bottom and The Beach Boys classics Surfin’ USA and 20/20.
Location: 1750 North Vine Street, Hollywood, California, USA 90028