The 10 Greatest Recording Studios of All Time That Shaped Music History

EAt the very time when we talk about the history and evolution of music, one aspect is most often left aside and that is the place where it was created, the recording studios. A recording studio is not just a room made of concrete slabs with recording equipment. The whole atmosphere of the studio can make a huge difference in the realization of a composition.

Recording studios are as important as artists in making a song great. These recording studios bear witness to the initiation and evolution of the musical careers of many iconic artists over the years. And what’s more fascinating is that the recording studios built in the early and mid-20th century are still used to make music. Let’s talk about some of these legendary recording studios which are not only a place of musical creation, but an extraordinary cultural element in the global music industry.

#1. Abbey Road, London

Image sources: www.nationalreview.com

You might not notice this small, apartment-like recording studio when walking around North West London. But this cozy little recording studio is famous among Beatles fans. It is packed with tourists and Beatles fans throughout the year. Most of the band’s songs were recorded in the studio.

It was established in 1931 as EMI Studios and became most famous thanks to the Beatles. Some of the other famous musicians who have recorded in the studio are Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga and Radiohead. Pink Floyd also recorded their album “Dark Side of the Moon” in 1973.

#2. Sun Studios, Memphis

Sun Studios
​Image source: By David Jones – Sun Studio, Memphis, DC BY 2.0

Sun Studios is best known as the “cradle of rock n’ roll”. Major artists of the 1950s like Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Jonny Cash and many others recorded in the studio. Blues artist BB King has also recorded music here. He was a driving force behind the flourishing of American classical music.

Previously, Sun Records closed in the early 1970s. They reopened ten years after the death of Elvis Presley in 1987. It is no longer a recording studio. It is most popular as a tourist attraction for 1950s rock n’ roll fans.

#3. Capitol Studio, Hollywood

Capitol Studio
Image sources: capitolstudios.com

Capitol Studios entered the music scene in 1956. Many legendary musicians have recorded their music in the studio. Some of the most famous artists are The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, etc. They were very popular for using unique eco-chambers built in their basements.

They have been around for over 60 years and still act as a recording studio by improving their equipment. He is still quite famous among musicians and fans. A large number of brilliant musicians began their musical career there.

#4. Sunset sound, Hollywood

SunsetSound
​Image source: ​sunsetsound.com

Located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, Sunset Sound is not only famous for working with famous musicians, but also for recording music for many Disney movies. The music for the popular Disney movie “Marry Poppins” was recorded in the studio. Old and new musicians worked with the recording studio.

Classic rock bands like Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and more have passed through the doors. Modern musicians such as The Black Keys, M83, Jason Mraz and many more have also made music here. They have custom consoles and vintage gear that are used to add ethereal elements to the music.

#5. Hitsville USA, Detroit

United States
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Mowtown Records’ first headquarters and recording studio receives the nickname Hitsville USA. The studio has undoubtedly had a massive positive impact on American music. Opened in 1959 by Berry Gordy, it has hosted some of the most influential musicians of all time like Marvin Gaye, Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, The Temptation, etc.

Although the current recording studio is no longer functional, the building can be visited by music lovers throughout the year. Today it is a museum for fans from all over the world who come to visit the place that shaped their favorite artists.

#6. Trident Studios, London

Trident Studios
Image sources: gearslutz.com

This former British recording studio was established by former Hunters drummer Norman Sheffield in 1967. It was hugely popular in the late 60s and 70s. Iconic artists like the Beatles, Queen, David Bowie and many more others have passed through its doors.

The studio pioneered many modern technologies such as eight-track reel-to-reel, Dolby noise reduction, and many more reshaping the music production process. But the recording studio was closed in the early 80s.

#seven. Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, Alabama

muscle benches
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the Swampers, which is the music section of Muscle Shoals, opened the recording studio, Muscle Shoals in 1969. It was one of the few studios that was owned and operated by session musicians at the time.

Cher’s debut album, ‘3614 Jackson Highway, was one of the studios’ earliest releases. They recorded and performed on over 200 albums from 1969 to 1978. Legendary artists like Duane Allman, Bob Dylan, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many more recorded their music here. It is considered a base for southern rock n’ roll music.

#8. Studio Sound City, Los Angeles

Sound City Studious
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Sound City Studious is one of the most popular recording studios of its time. It was opened in 1969 and many iconic musicians have recorded music there. The film about the studio, directed by Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, has once again drawn the attention of music lovers to the recording studio. Grohl purchased the million dollar Neve console from the studio used to record Fleetwood Mac.

The studio has produced many grunge and rock hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s. It is a family studio and it always works with contemporary musicians who come to record their music.

#9. Air Studios, London

Aerial Studios
Image sources: airstudios.com

Beatles engineer, George Martin opened his own recording studio called Air Studios in 1069. The wild acoustic characteristics of the recording studio set it apart from others.

These are the most famous and well-equipped studios for recording film scores and classical music. No other recording studio in the world is as equipped to accommodate as many musicians as this one. The sound quality is also very high compared to its contemporaries. Many famous artists like Kate Bush, Coldplay and more recorded music there.

#ten. Electric Lady Studios, Greenwich Village, New York

Electric Lady Studios
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Electric Lady Studios was founded by Jimi Hendrix in 1970. However, it is very unfortunate that he did not use his own recording studio much. He only used it for about a month before he died in September of that year.

But the studio did not close after his death. Luckily it is still running and is honored by many famous artists. Popular bands like Led Zeppelin and Weezer have worked with them. Billy Idol and Patti Smith also recorded their music there.