Clip: Hit Factory Closing Shop in New York
Feb 4, 3:59 PM EST
Hit Factory Closing Shop in New York
By LARRY McSHANE
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- Few places were more aptly named than The Hit Factory, the
legendary Manhattan recording studio where scores of gold records and
Grammy winners were created. And even fewer were so intricately involved in
the musical history of the last 30 years.
But the last notes are echoing through the temple of sound on West 54th
Street, with its doors set to close permanently within the next month, its
owners said Friday. Word of its imminent demise only reinforced The Hit
Factory's matchless, magical legacy.
Stevie Wonder strolled through its front doors in 1975, and walked out with
the brilliant "Songs in the Key of Life."
John Lennon spent his last night alive there in 1980, mixing wife Yoko
Ono's single "Walking on Thin Ice."
Whitney Houston recorded the soundtrack for "The Bodyguard" inside one of
its studios in 1983, and watched it sell more than 17 million copies.
A short list of Hit Factory clients sounds like a recitation of Grammy
winners: Bruce Springsteen, Donald Fagen, Michael Jackson, Tony Bennett,
Toni Braxton, Madonna, U2, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Jay-Z, Beyonce. In 1994,
music recorded, mastered or mixed inside the pre-eminent facility captured
a staggering 41 Grammy nominations.
"The Hit Factory paved the way for how recording studios approached the
artistic process of making music," said Janice Germano, the studio's owner.
"In doing so, it forever changed the way artists thought about making
records and raised the art form to a new level of innovation."
The Hit Factory opened in 1968 on West 48th Street, with the Germano family
buying the place in 1975 and lifting it to new heights. The new version,
six blocks north, opened in June 1993.
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The studio always catered to its artists. Once, when a country musician was
in the studio, bales of hay were set up around the instruments. Another
studio was filled with palm trees for an artist seeking a tropical feel.
The Hit Factory also featured a gym, a steam room and two-bedroom
apartments for artists seeking solitude or sleep.
But the times changed, and so did the technology. The six-story Hit
Factory, with its seven recording studios and five mastering suites, was
once considered the most desirable location in the industry. The advent of
home studios and technological advances cut into its business.
The Hit Factory, which will continue to operate its recording facility in
Miami, acknowledged in a statement announcing its decision that there was
"a burgeoning shift in the music industry away from large-scale recording
"People can easily have a studio in their home if they want," said Carolyn
Johnson, a studio employee. "This is an expensive building to run."
"And," said Johnson, "the times are changing."