Number of locations
Albert Grossman, who was the manager of Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary, first arrived in Bearsville in 1964 with his future wife, Sally, and Dylan via Dylan's station wagon, and went to work creating a retreat for the community of artists with whom he worked. The Bearsville studio facilities would eventually be just one component of the complex that would eventually include Bearsville Records, Turtle Creek Barn and Apartments, Location Recorders, the Bearsville Theatre, and multiple restaurants. The two-hour drive from New York City, a "retreat" for some artists, combined with residences owned by Albert Grossman, amplified this value.
Bearsville's first studio, Studio B, was completed in 1969. Studio B was initially designed by Robert Hansen and later re-designed and modified by John Storyk of the Walters-Storyk Design Group and acoustician George Augspurger. The larger Studio A featured a large 2,400 square foot tracking room with a 35-foot high ceiling.
In 1986, Grossman's wife Sally assumed directorship of Bearsville following his death.
The Bearsville Theater, a barn converted in 1989, offered space for rehearsals and live performances.
Bearsville at Turtle Creek
In 2002, the building that housed the original Bearsville Studios A and B was sold, with Sally Grossman utilizing components from the former studios to repurpose the Turtle Creek Barn into a new studio named Bearsville at Turtle Creek. By 2004, Sally Grossman had sold all Bearsville complex properties, including the Turtle Creek Barn, the Bearsville Theater, two restaurants, and the Utopia soundstage.
Artists who recorded at Bearsville include The Band, Todd Rundgren, The Isley Brothers, Utopia, Meat Loaf, Foghat, Patti Smith Group, The Pretenders, R.E.M., Joe Jackson, Suzanne Vega, Jeff Buckley, Blues Traveler, Natalie Merchant, Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Branford Marsalis Quartet, The Derek Trucks Band, and Saliva,
Beginning in 1988, R.E.M. recorded significant portions of three successive albums at Bearsville. The music historian Barney Hoskyns, in his 2016 book about Woodstock, Small Town Talk, wrote that the band's presence "was certainly a highwater mark in the studio's life."
In 1988, The Replacements had a 10-day recording session at Bearsville during which they trashed the recording studio and living quarters and played a game they called "dodge knife" that was like dodgeball but using knives. The recordings, originally intended for the band's album Don't Tell a Soul were not included on the album. They were eventually released in 2019 as part of the Dead Man's Pop box set.
Selected list of albums recorded at Bearsville Studios (by year)
- 1970 - Todd Rundgren - Runt
- 1971 - The Band - Cahoots
- 1972 - Todd Rundgren - Something/Anything?
- 1974 - Claude Dubois - Claude Dubois
- 1977 - The Isley Brothers - Go for Your Guns
- 1977 - Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell
- 1977 - Utopia - Ra
- 1978 - The Isley Brothers - Showdown (Isley Brothers album)
- 1979 - Patti Smith Group - Wave
- 1981 - Jim Steinman - Bad for Good
- 1986 - The Pretenders - Get Close
- 1987 - Suzanne Vega - Solitude Standing
- 1988 - Joe Jackson - Blaze of Glory
- 1991 - R.E.M. - Out of Time
- 1992 - R.E.M. - Automatic for the People
- 1994 - Jeff Buckley - Grace
- 1994 - Dave Matthews Band - Under the Table and Dreaming
- 1994 - Blues Traveler - four
- 1995 - Fear Factory - Demanufacture
- 1995 - Natalie Merchant - Tigerlily
- 1996 - Phish - Billy Breathes
- 1996 - Dave Matthews Band - Crash
- 1998 - Phish - The Story of the Ghost
- 2000 - Branford Marsalis Quartet - Contemporary Jazz
- 2001 - Hedwig and the Angry Inch Motion Picture Soundtrack
- 2004 - The Vines - Winning Days
- 2007 - Saliva - Blood Stained Love Story
- "Bearsville Studios, Speare Road, Bearsville, New York". jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com. Blogger. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- Walsh, Christopher (13 October 2001). "Songs From The Wood: 30 Years of Bearsville Studios". Google Books. Billboard. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
- Dupler, Steven (9 February 1985). "Sound Investment". Google Books. Billboard. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
- "Bearsville Sound Studios". Mix Online. Future plc. October 2001. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
- Walsh, Christopher (9 November 2002). "Bearsville Studios Restructures". Google Books. Billboard. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
- Medenbach, Deborah. "A beacon in Bearsville". ulstermagazine.com. Hudson Valley Media Group. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
- Barry, John (6 May 2021). "Woodstock's Bearsville Theater eager for the beat to go on after hard pandemic year". Times Union. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
- Barry, John. "Woodstock's Bearsville Theater complex poised for rebirth as new owner takes on challenges". Poughkeepsie Journal. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
- "Merklin Returns to Bearsville As Studio Manager". Pro Sound Web. Future Plc. 18 March 2005. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
- "The Rolling Stones – Complete Woodstock Tapes (Original Master Series OMS:001-4)". Collectors Music Reviews. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
- Hoskyns, Barney (8 March 2016). Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, the Band, van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock. ISBN 9780306823213.
- "The Replacements Battle Their Producer In Stormy First Attempt To Record 'Don't Tell A Soul'". dangerousminds.net. 2019-09-26. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
- Bearsville Studios website
- Bearsville Studios at Bearsville Theater website
- Bearsville Studios page at Spirit of Metal