The legendary Sunset Sound is a world famous studio where some of the most iconic albums of all time have been recorded. These include Prince’s Purple Rain, the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St., the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, Linda Ronstadt’s Don’t Cry Now, part of Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy, Janis Joplin’s posthumously-released Pearl, and hit albums for Elton John, Led Zeppelin, and Van Halen. In addition, the Doors recorded their first two albums, The Doors and Strange Days, at the studio.
Needless to say, the energy at Sunset Sound is incredible! With such a rich history, it’s no wonder we spend so much time at the facility. We’ve often done projects in Studio 3, which is known as the Prince Room because he tracked much of his work between 1981 and 1987 in the studio, even going so far as to live in the space for stretches at a time!
This time around, the equally incredible Studio 1 was our home for recording drums!
Work on Sunset Sound Studio 1 first started in 1958.
Not everyone knows that the Sunset Sound complex was started by Walt Disney’s director of recording, Tutti Camarata, in 1958. As the story goes, Camarata suggested to Disney that he purchase a recording studio, to which he responded, “Why would I want to own a studio? I’d rather be a client.”
Camarata took those words as a suggestion to open his own, so work on Studio 1 began! The room was built in a former auto shop, which had a sloping floor so automotive fluids would trickle to a common drain. The sloped surface also served to reduce standing waves and poor acoustics created by parallel surfaces. It wouldn’t be long until audio for the early Disney films was being recorded at Studio 1, including Mary Poppins, Bambi, and 101 Dalmatians.
Over the years, Studio 1 would become the three-room complex it is today, where over 200 gold/platinum records have been recorded!
In 1981, Tutti Camarata and Sunset Sound purchased The Sound Factory.
After the acquisition, Sunset Sound opened the Sound Factory as its low-cost alternative for overdubs. It developed its own client base over time and actually became a full-time subsidiary studio of the flagship Sunset Sound. Though this wasn’t the original intention, the outcome was much better than anticipated! The Sound Factory itself was home to even more gold and platinum recordings. The Sound Factory also rented rooms to producers for long-term use.
Sunset Sound sold the Sound Factory studios in 2017, and the latter operates as its own entity.
Studio 1 has hosted some of the biggest artists in history.
The facility’s early Disney recordings are historically significant in their own right, but the musicians who have called Sunset Sound Studio 1 home for a time are absolutely incredible! Below is a (long) list of phenomenal artists who have worked in Studio 1 over the years:
Van Halen, Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Macy Gray, Bee Gees, Doobie Bros., Whitney Houston, Barry Manilow, Oingo Boingo, Luis Miguel, Rolling Stones, Dave Grusin, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Lee Ritenour, Fourplay, Richard Thompson, Yes, Brian Wilson, Beach Boys, Annette Funicello, Carly Simon, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Bangles, Fishbone, Randy Newman, Sly & Family Stone, Vonda Shepard, Tom Petty, Sheena Easton, Patti Austin, Aaron Neville, Sam Cooke, The Turtles, Lovin’ Spoonful, Buffalo Springfield, Janis Joplin, Genesis, Kenny Loggins, and last but not least, Jackson Browne.
Take a second to catch your breath!