Gold Star Studios
Inside the studio during a typical session with the Wrecking Crew in the 1960s.
|Founded||1950in Los Angeles, U.S.|
|Headquarters||6252 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Oral History, David Gold talks about his interest in any innovation that would make sound better. Interview date February 28, 2015, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library|
Gold Star Studios was a major independent recording studio located in Los Angeles, California, United States. For more than thirty years, from 1950 to 1984, Gold Star was one of the most influential and successful commercial recording studios in the world.
Founded by David S. Gold and Stan Ross and opened in October 1950, Gold Star Recording Studios was located at 6252 Santa Monica Boulevard near the corner of Vine Street in Hollywood, the studio name was a combination of the names of the two owners -- (Dave) GOLD and STA(n) R(oss). The studio was renowned for its unique custom-designed recording equipment, which was designed and built by Gold, as were its famed echo chambers.
In the mid-1950s, aspiring pop star and future recording legend Phil Spector began hanging out at local studios, including Gold Star, hoping to learn about recording. He eventually won the confidence of Gold Star's house producer-engineer Stan Ross, who took Spector under his wing and taught him the basics of record production. In the early 1960s, Spector used Gold Star as the recording venue for most of his famous "Wall of Sound" recordings. It was also the venue for many important recordings by the Beach Boys, including portions of their 1966 LP Pet Sounds, the international #1 hit "Good Vibrations", and recordings for the aborted Smile project.
The studio was renowned for its echo chambers. According to Gold, who designed the chambers after years of research and experimentation, they were built in an area of about 20 ft (6.1 m) x 20 ft and were complementary trapezoids 18 ft (5.5 m) long. The walls were thick, specially-formulated cement plaster on heavy isolation forms. Entry into the chambers was through a series of 2 ft (0.61 m) by 2 ft doors, and the opening was only about 20 in (51 cm) wide and high.
Gold Star was responsible for what is believed to be the first commercial use of the production technique called flanging, which was featured on the single "The Big Hurt" by Toni Fisher. Another of Gold's innovations was a small transmitter that allowed him to broadcast mixes so that they could be picked up on a nearby car radio, which was especially important to recording artists in the era when AM radio was the dominant broadcast medium.
The studio was the venue for hundreds of chart-topping recordings by scores of leading pop and rock artists including Ritchie Valens, Eddie Cochran, The Chipmunks, The Cascades, "Route 66" composer Bobby Troup, Phil Spector, Darlene Love, Donna Loren, Brian Wilson, Sonny & Cher, The Rose Garden, Zane Ashton (aka Bill Aken), Buffalo Springfield, Duane Eddy, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, The Ronettes, Dick Dale, The Righteous Brothers, Iron Butterfly, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Ralph Williams/The Marauders, Jan and Dean, Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Meat Loaf, The Champs, The Sunrays, The Baja Marimba Band, Bobby Darin, The Cake, The Who, The Monkees, Tommy Boyce, The Band, The Go-Go's, The Ramones, The Association, Art Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Tina Turner and Maurice Gibb.
It was also widely used by music, film, television, radio and Broadway artists including Frank Loesser, Johnny Mercer, Sammy Fain, Bob Sherman, Dick Sherman and Dimitri Tiomkin and it was the recording ‘home’ of the pioneering ABC-TV prime-time pop show Shindig!. Donna Loren, a cast member of Shindig!, recorded there early in her career on the Crest label. Jazz artists who recorded there include Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Oscar Moore, The Hi-Los and Louis Bellson.
Shifting economics caused Gold Star to close its doors in 1984, as newer technology allowed bands to make their own recordings. Several months after the studios were vacated, a fire destroyed the building. A mini-mall was later constructed on the site.
On March 11, 2011, Ross died of complications following an operation to correct an abdominal aneurysm. He was 82.
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