Saturday, May 21, 2016

Capitol Records Tower

VIP tour pass
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Capitol Records Tower, one of the most iconic buildings in L.A. Distinctly round—like a stack of LPs—the Tower is HQ to Capitol Records, creative home to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, the Beach Boys, Barbra Streisand, and many of our other favorite performers. Interestingly, the Beatles never recorded here as a group, though Capitol did release their early albums (produced in the U.K.) stateside.

 Magnificent: one of my all-time favorite 
L.A. buildings

To celebrate the building's 60th anniversary, several two-hour tours were announced a few weeks ago and quickly sold-out. But not before we bought tickets. At 11AM today, a group of ten of us were treated to an intimate and rare look inside Capitol's recording studios, located in the heart of Hollywood. Our tour guides obviously had a field day assembling exhibits to thrill and amaze us. Here's just a small portion of what we saw:

Entering the inner sanctum—no artists recording today

Tim and vintage audio console still used to record
contemporary performers, like Paul McCartney and
Katy Perry

Vintage microphone still in use

Me and the mic Dean Martin is using
in the photo below (mood lighting!)


Tim and hero Frank Sinatra's 

The organ Billy Preston played on Let It Be with the 
Beatles at Abbey Road Studios

Though the Beatles never recorded at Capitol as a group,
they did hold a famous press conference here after
playing the Hollywood Bowl. Me and George Harrison
with one of the mics the Boys used. (Can you find my
Beatles pin?)

To me, all audio consoles look alike. But, judging by the group's
reaction, this one is apparently special: a 1970s Neve 
still in use today.

More old equipment still used . . .

One of the highlights was getting to see a master
disc being cut for a vinyl 45. This is the machine that
cuts the masters from which vinyl records are (still being) made.

All done, we were escorted out the back door
to the parking lot. What an unforgettable, 
once-in-lifetime experience!

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