Gone are the days when a vast and expensive recording studio was needed to even think about making a record. But in the days before Macs in bedrooms enabled a whole new world of music-making, the studio was where it was at. Here are ten legendary recording facilities that have helped shape the face of pop…
Founded by Sam Phillips, this tiny Memphis-based operation captured the early work of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis. Now a tourist attraction.
9. Muscle Shoals
Founded in Sheffield, Alabama in 1969. The distinctive accompaniment and arrangements of the famous Muscle Shoals rhythm section have been heard on a number of legendary recordings, including those from Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and the Staple Singers. Was also where the Stones cut Brown Sugar.
8. Sunset Sound
Located at 6650 Sunset Blvd in Hollywood and formerly an audio recording facility for Disney before it became part of the fabric of rock'n'roll. Over 200 gold certified albums have since been made there, including works by the Stones, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and the Beach Boys.
Associated Independent Recording was a company founded by Beatles producer George Martin after he left EMI. He first set up AIR London on Oxford Street before opening a second studio in Montserrat in the 70s. Numerous 80s classics were recorded there including Dire Straights' Brothers in Arms, aswell as albums by The Police, Duran Duran and Supertramp. It was destroyed by Hurricaine Hugo in 1989.
6. Abbey Road
North London studio used heavily by the Beatles and immortalised by their album named after it. Since used by Oasis, Radiohead, Kate Bush and Pink Floyd to name but a few.
2120 Michigan Avenue in Chicago was where the electric blues was first committed to tape, attracting the attentions of a young Mick Jagger and Keith Richards some three thousand miles away. Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Etta James – they all cut records there back in the day.
4. Hitsville USA
The home of Berry Gordy's Motown label and studio at 2648 West Grand Blvd in Detroit. House band the Funk Brothers laid down more number ones than the Beatles and the Stones put together in these humle surroundings and made careers for the likes of Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops and the Jackson Five.
Berlin's legendary studio, within spitting distance of the Berlin Wall, became famous in the late 70s after Brian Eno helped David Bowie to record Heroes there. Since then Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode, and U2 have all tapped into its vibey aura to great creative success.
2. The Record Plant
NYC's most famous studio and the place where albums such as Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run, John Lennon's Imagaine and Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland all came to life. It's sister branch in LA has also been home to many classics, including Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.
Arguably London's most productive studio through the years. Name a major recording artist of the past five decades and the chances are they've worked there. It closed its doors for good in February 2009 with U2 working on No Line on the Horizon as the last paying customers.