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Hit Factory at 421 West 54th

The Hit Factory was a recording studio in New York City famous for its clientele. It was officially closed for business April 1 2005.

Contents

History

The New York facility was purchased from Jerry Ragovoy by Edward Germano on March 6, 1975.

From 1989 to 1993, the company also operated The Hit Factory London. This facility is now Sony's Whitfield Street Studios [1] In 1999, The Hit Factory purchased Criteria Recording in Miami, Florida, revamping and reopening the studios under the new name Hit Factory Criteria.

After Germano's death in 2003, the business was taken over by his wife Janice Germano.

Hit Factory was officially closed for business April 1 2005. The last album to be recorded there was Octavarium by Dream Theater. The business' base of operations moved to the remaining Hit Factory Criteria Miami in March 2005. The New York Daily News reported:

Big-name studios like The Hit Factory once had a lock on the recording industry, but technological advances have made it cheaper and easier for stars to build their own state-of-the-art facilities, often in their homes. In a statement, The Hit Factory acknowledged the industry is moving away from large-scale studios to "destination" locations like Miami that offer sunny weather and a hot nightlife.[2]

Troy Germano (CEO and son of owner Edward Germano) told the New York Post, however, that rumors about the "digital age" or a lack of business were false, and that the studio had closed directly due to the actions of his mother, Janice Germano.

In December 2006 Stribling and Assocs, a New York real-estate broker, began marketing The Hit Factory as a luxury condominium. Twenty-seven loft-style apartments went on sale, including six duplexes. Prices started at about $1 million. The developers have said that there will continue to be rehearsal space for musicians on the ground floor. [3]

Locations

The studios occupied several spaces in and around Times Square and Midtown West after Germano's purchase. Locations included "Hit Factory Times Square" on West 48th Street, "Hit Factory Broadway," at 237 West 54th Street and finally the flagship facility at 421 West 54th Street.

The Hit Factory Broadway, located between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, was a four studio complex which housed a mix of Solid State Logic and Neve VR-series consoles. The facility at 421 West 54th street was opened in 1992 and all operations moved there, while Hit Factory Broadway studios continued to be booked. To avoid confusion, studio names at the new location were given numbers instead of the more-traditional letters. The Hit Factory Broadway closed in early 2002, as new studios were planned in the main facility.

The main studio facility at 421 West 54th Street was a mega-complex, occupying most of a 100,000+ square foot building. Five dedicated floors (including basement) housed five recording studios, private lounges for each studio, a mastering business Hit Factory Mastering with several suites, numerous production rooms, a full in-house rental company The Rental Company, as well as operations - large offices, tech shop, tape library and storage areas.

Studio 1 occupied the entire top floor of the building. The main studio studios wood floors spanned approximately 50 by 50' feet with a 30' ceiling height, for which the roof was raised from the original structure. It could accommodate a 60 piece orchestra. Four overdub booths of varying size added extra flexibility during tracking. The control room was designed for the comfort of groups, yet similarly equipped as the other studios with a 80-input Solid State Logic 9000J as the centerpiece. The lounge was also a flexible space, with room for a large orchestra or cast party, coat room, green room, office, production room, gym and several storage areas. The large windows faced 54th Street with a clear view of the Hudson River, and Times Square all the way to the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

On July 24, 2002, it opened Studios 6 and 7, complete with Solid State Logic 80-input XL9000K consoles. Each Studio contained a 48-channel Pro Tools MIXPlus system, a Sony 3348 HR, two Studer A827s, Lexicon 960L and 480L reverbs, and outboard racks tailored for surround mixing. Studio 7 was designed as a mix/overdub room, with a small booth adjacent to the control room. Custom Augspurger monitors (dual 15" TAD drivers, horns and 18" hidden stereo subs) were custom painted bright red with matching furniture in the lounge. Studio 6 had a silver color scheme, also with custom Augspurgers and silver credenza ends in the control room, and a circle Hit Factory Studios logo at the back of studio. Studio 6 featured a generous tracking room and overdub booths, all utilizing floor-to-ceiling glass for uninhibited sight lines between rooms. In addition to the views, each room in the studio has floating floors - separated and isolated from one another.

Commercial recordings

In August 1994, Dr. John recorded a spontaneous and furious series of jingles for the nascent Crown Casino of Louisiana, a riverboat to be based at Luling, Louisiana.

After arriving at the studio, Dr. John wrote lyrics, composed music, and recorded a jingle within two days with a ten-piece group and several backup vocalists, despite a cold acquired in Europe several days before the session.

The working session included vocalist Lani Graves of Steely Dan fame. The recordings were managed and mixed by Brad Broussard of Nexxt Productions, from Lafayette, Louisiana.

The Crown Casino Venture failed before the gaming riverboat was opened, and several one of a kind audio recordings of Dr. John made at the Hit Factory are of indeterminate status, presumed in the Crown Casino or Nexxt Productions intellectual property vault.

John Lennon controversy

After the death of John Lennon, on December 8, 1980, the legendary status of the hit-generating Hit Factory became even greater. Mourners and music fans around the world read accounts of the murder in newspapers on the days following the shooting, and the Hit Factory was mentioned in some of these publications. However, there is controversy as to whether he was recording at the Hit Factory or the nearby Record Plant the day he was murdered. Most publications cite the Record Plant as the location. Individuals present with John, including his producer Jack Douglas, cite the Record Plant as the studio where he spent his time recording and mixing tracks that evening.[4][5]

If Lennon was recording at the Hit Factory, it was not at the 421 West 54th facility, as the Hit Factory was not located there until 1992.

References

Rapper KRS-One and Marley Marl dedicated a song to the House of hits on their album Hip Hop Lives. The song features Busy Bee Starski on the chorus. In the song, KRS-One name drops a few of the most potent artists in Hip Hop. Marley Marl's home studio is called Marley's House Of Hits. The song Does not refer to the Hit Factory. [6]

Notable recordings

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Artists

Albums

References


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