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A US Recording Icon

MusicTech visits EastWest Studios, arguably Los Angeles’ most iconic recording facility, in which everyone from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson has recorded, and finds a studio at home with both its history and future…
Studio 1’s live room has seen everyone from Sinatra to Elvis perform

MT Feature EastWest Studios

It would be easy of us – and somewhat lazy – to compare LA’s EastWest Studios to London’s Abbey Road. Both have been at the core of some of the most iconic recordings in music history and both have had to diversify into film soundtracks and other events, to survive in the harsher climate of 21st-century recording. EastWest’s history, though, is somewhat more complicated than that of its UK counterpart.

The studio as such began in the 1950s, when Bill Putnam wanted to set up a studio in LA to rival those on the East Coast of the US. With Frank Sinatra in tow, the studio quickly gained a huge reputation and has now attracted every big name in US recording history, including Elvis, Bing Crosby, Michael Jackson and Madonna. In the 1980s, Allen Sides bought out Bill Putnam and both buildings within the complex became known as Ocean Way Recording Studios, itself now a huge name in recording history.

In the 1990s, the two building were split, with the large Studio 1 facility becoming Cello Studios (after being sold to Rick Adams in 1999), while the building opposite retained the Ocean Way name.

Cello Studios became known for its rockier output with Rage Against the Machine, System Of A Down, Muse, blink-182 and The Red Hot Chili Peppers all coming through the doors.

However, in 2005, Cello Studios was closed and due for demolition before EastWest owner Doug Rogers came in to rescue it, and it sounds like this was just in the nick of time…

One of the pianos in Studio 2 is a Yamaha, as played by Elton John
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