The Largest Recording Studios in History

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Recording studios, sanctuaries where timeless melodies are born and artists shape their masterpieces, have acquired worldwide fame over the decades.

Let’s delve into the history of these iconic places that gave life to some of the most memorable songs of our time.

The Iconic Recording Studios: Places of Musical Magic

Recording studios occupy a unique place in the history of music, therefore acting as sanctuaries where sound art comes to life.

These iconic spaces have witnessed the creation of masterpieces that have sculpted the global musical landscape. Each studio has its own character, soul, and an impressive list of credits.

They transcend their status as simple recording rooms to become places charged with musical magic, capturing the creative essence of artists and therefore producing recordings that stand the test of time.

The Studios and Their Legendary Credits

Each legendary recording studio is closely linked to an impressive roster of iconic artists and albums.

From the iconic Abbey Road Studios, home to groundbreaking Beatles albums, to Motown Studios, birthplace of soul and rhythm and blues music, these venues have shaped entire genres. The captivating story of Electric Lady Studios, created by Jimi Hendrix, resonates with echoes of rock and blues.

Exploring the major credits of these studios takes us on a musical journey, discovering how these spaces have influenced and inspired generations of artists, helping to define the soundtrack of our world.

1. Abbey Road Studios (London, UK)

History: Opened in 1931, Abbey Road Studios in London became synonymous with the Beatles thanks to the recording of several of their iconic albums, including the eponymous album “Abbey Road.” The studio has also hosted other legends such as Pink Floyd, Kate Bush and Radiohead.

Highlights: The pedestrian crossing in front of the studios, immortalized on the cover of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album, has therefore become an iconic attraction.

Major Credits:

  • The Beatles: “Abbey Road,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
  • Pink Floyd: “The Dark Side of the Moon”
  • Radiohead: “OK Computer”

2. Motown Hitsville U.S.A. (Detroit, United States)

History: Founded in 1959 in Detroit, Motown Studios, also known as “Hitsville U.S.A.,” was the birthplace of soul music and rhythm and blues. Legends like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and The Supremes recorded their timeless hits in these studios.

Highlights: Motown founder Berry Gordy created a set of rules called “The Motown Sound” which defined the label’s distinctive sound.

Major Credits:

  • Stevie Wonder: “Songs in the Key of Life”
  • The Supremes: “Where Did Our Love Go”
  • Marvin Gaye: “What’s Going On”

3. Electric Lady Studios (New York, USA)

History: Legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix opened Electric Lady Studios in New York in 1970. Designed to be a place for artistic experimentation, it hosted diverse artists such as Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and The Rolling Stones.

Highlights: Electric Lady Studios is therefore the only recording studio founded by a major artist, Jimi Hendrix himself.

Major Credits:

  • Jimi Hendrix: “Electric Ladyland”
  • Led Zeppelin: “Physical Graffiti”
  • The Rolling Stones: “Emotional Rescue”
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Photography by Jeremy Liebman

4. Sun Studio (Memphis, USA)

History: Nicknamed “The Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Sun Studio in Memphis was home to the careers of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1950s. Founded by Sam Phillips , the studio therefore played a crucial role in the emergence of rock.

Highlights: Elvis Presley’s first song, “That’s All Right,” was recorded at Sun Studio in 1954.

Major Credits:

  • Elvis Presley: “That’s All Right”
  • Johnny Cash: “I Walk the Line”
  • Jerry Lee Lewis: “Great Balls of Fire”

5. Capitol Studios (Los Angeles, USA)

History: Capitol Studios in Los Angeles is where Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and The Beach Boys recorded their hits. Opened in 1956, these studios are renowned for their exceptional acoustics and their mark on the jazz and pop industry.

Highlights: The Beach Boys’ iconic album, “Pet Sounds,” was recorded at Capitol Studios in 1966.

Major Credits:

  • Frank Sinatra: “In the Wee Small Hours”
  • The Beach Boys: “Pet Sounds”
  • Nat King Cole: “Unforgettable”

6. Studio One (Kingston, Jamaica)

History: Founded in 1963 by Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd, Studio One in Kingston is considered the birthplace of reggae. Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Burning Spear all contributed to the rise of this musical genre in these studios.

Highlights: Bob Marley recorded his first solo albums, including “Catch a Fire,” at Studio One.

Major Credits:

  • Bob Marley and the Wailers: “Catch a Fire”
  • Toots and the Maytals: “Monkey Man”
  • Burning Spear: “Marcus Garvey”

7. Hansa Tonstudio (Berlin, Germany)

History: Hansa Tonstudio, located in Berlin, has witnessed historical events, including the recording of David Bowie’s album “Heroes” in 1977. It has therefore also become a symbol of German reunification in the 1990s.

Highlights: U2 recorded their famous album “Achtung Baby” at Hansa Tonstudio in 1990.

Major Credits:

  • David Bowie: “Heroes”
  • U2: “Achtung Baby”
  • Depeche Mode: “Black Celebration”

8. Muscle Shoals Sound Studio (Alabama, USA)

History: Founded in 1969, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama has been the recording venue for many rock and soul classics, with artists such as Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Highlights: The Rolling Stones’ album “Sticky Fingers” was recorded in part at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.

Major Credits:

  • Aretha Franklin: “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You”
  • The Rolling Stones: “Brown Sugar”
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd: “Street Survivors”

9. RCA Studio B (Nashville, USA)

History: Inaugurated in 1957, RCA Studio B in Nashville was the cradle of country music and welcomed legends like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton and Roy Orbison.

Highlights: More than 1,000 hits have been recorded at RCA Studio B, making it one of the most successful studios in history.

Major Credits:

  • Elvis Presley: “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”
  • Dolly Parton: “Jolene”
  • Roy Orbison: “Only the Lonely”

10. Atlantis Studios (Stockholm, Sweden)

History: Atlantis Studios in Stockholm were at the heart of the musical excitement of the 1970s and 1980s. ABBA recorded the majority of its worldwide hits, including “Dancing Queen,” in these studios.

Highlights: Atlantis Studios have helped shape the sound of Swedish pop with groups like ABBA and Roxette.

Major Credits:

  • ABBA: “Dancing Queen,” “Waterloo”
  • Roxette: “Look Sharp!,” “Joyride”
  • Ace of Base: “The Sign”

Conclusion

These studios are not just physical spaces where music was recorded, but witnesses to cultural and musical history.

Their walls still resonate today with timeless melodies that have left their mark on entire generations.

By exploring these places, we dive into the heart of the creativity that has shaped the soundtrack of our lives.

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