The Hit Factory

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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 closed on April 1, 2005; the original building is now the headquarters of Music Theatre International.[1] However, other Hit Factory studio locations remained open, such as in Miami, Florida.

History[edit]

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

From 1989 to 1993, the company also operated The Hit Factory London. This facility later became Sony's Whitfield Street Studios [2]

Criteria Studios (The Hit Factory Criteria Miami) at 1755 NE 149th St. Miami, Florida 33181 in 2011

In 1999, The Hit Factory purchased Criteria Recording in Miami, Florida, revamping and reopening the studios under the new name The Hit Factory Criteria Miami.

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

Hit Factory was closed on 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.[3]

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.[4] In 2011, New York Knicks basketball player Carmelo Anthony and his wife, entertainer La La Vazquez, moved into a penthouse apartment in the W. 54th Street condominium building.[5]

Locations[edit]

The studios occupied several spaces in and around Times Square and Midtown West after Germano's purchase. Locations included "Hit Factory Times Square" at 130 West 42nd Street, "Hit Factory Broadway," at 237 West 54th Street, and the flagship facility "Hit Factory Mastering" at 421 West 54th Street. [6]

The "Hit Factory Broadway", located between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, was a four-studio complex that housed a mix of Solid State Logic and Neve VR-series consoles. The "Hit Factory Mastering" 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 "Hit Factory Mastering" facility.

The main studio facility at 421 West 54th Street occupied most of a 100,000+ square foot building. Five dedicated floors (including basement) housed five recording studios, private lounges for each studio, the mastering business Hit Factory Mastering, with several suites, production rooms, an in-house rental company and operations, including a tech shop, tape library and storage areas.

Studio 1 occupied the entire top floor of the building and included four overdub booths. The control room was equipped with an 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.

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 featured dual 15-inch TAD drivers, horns and 18-inch hidden stereo subs. 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. The studio featured a 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[edit]

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 Groves 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 was killed after returning home from the studio.

Most of "Born In The USA" was recorded there.

Contradictory reports about John Lennon's last recording session[edit]

After the death of John Lennon, on December 8, 1980, public awareness of The Hit Factory increased; Lennon's final album had been recorded at Hit Factory's Times Square studio at 353 West 48th Street. 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 are contradictory reports 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.[7] [8] Witnesses present with John Lennon, such as producer Jack Douglas, cite the Record Plant as the studio where he spent his time recording and mixing tracks the evening of the murder.[8] However, Keith Badman, not an eyewitness, in his book "The Beatles: After the Break-up 1970-2000" states that Lennon had been at The Hit Factory the night of his murder. He also references that Lennon had been at the studio the last several days working on and mixing tracks for Yoko Ono.

Notable recordings[edit]

Albums [9][edit]

References[edit]