Le Studio

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Logo of Le Studio

Le Studio (later renamed Studio Morin Heights) was a residential recording studio just south of the town of Morin-Heights, Quebec, built in 1972 by André Perry, Nick Blagona and Yaël Brandeis. The studio, where artists recorded and stayed, was the venue for many notable Canadian and international artists, including Rush (it was nicknamed "Rush's Abbey Road"[1]), The Police, and Cat Stevens. Renowned for its location as well as its state-of-the-art equipment,[2] it was one of the earliest studios to install Solid State Logic mixing desk and RADAR digital-recording equipment.[3] By 2008 the studio had gone out of business, and as of 2015 the property was up for sale.[4] On 11 August 2017, the building was partially destroyed by "a suspicious" fire.[5]


André Perry gained fame as a recording engineer working for John Lennon, and in 1974 was looking to expand his studio, built in a downtown Montreal church. He work with the Olive Company to develop one of the first recording consoles with motorized faders feeding two 24 track Studers synchronized to provide 48 tracks. He moved to Morin Heights, where he owned a lake, and built his studio there,[3] with his wife Yaël Brandeis. The idea was to give recording artists a venue where they could record and live in a creative atmosphere, near the Laurentian Mountains:[6] The Bee Gees, who recorded Children of the World (1976) at Le Studio, stayed for five months.[7] Initially it had a guesthouse, a half an hour away, but it was burned down accidentally by Roy Thomas Baker and Ian Hunter, according to studio designer and engineer Nick Blagona. Later, a house across the lake was acquired and expanded.[7] By the early 1980s it had a reputation as a premium North American recording venue, after Rush, David Bowie, and April Wine had recorded albums there.[8]

In 1986 Le Studio issued stock on the Montreal Exchange looking to acquire funding for building a second studio, with audio and video capabilities, in the US state of Washington. 1.1 million shares valued at $3.50 were sold. Perry and Brandeis retained majority interests. They spent $500,000 on a Quantel Mirage digital video effects unit, hoping to install more equipment to allow the recording of sound effects and film music, as well as a Synclavier room.[9]

In 1988 Perry and Brandeis sold the studio,[10] and Perry retired in the early 1990s. The studio, by then called Studio Morin Heights, was acquired in 1993 by L'Equipe Spectra, an entertainment company that had a number of local artists on record. Rush and other bands continued to do their tracking there. The new owners also built a new studio room, called "Far Side", which offered a digital RADAR audio recorder and allowed local bands with modest budgets to benefit from the amenities.[3] The 233-acre (0.94 km2) site was listed for sale in July 2007, with an asking price of C$2.45 million.[11] The studio was shut down in March 2003 by Spectra.[10] The property remained for sale until 2009, when the land was purchased with the intent to convert the area to a retreat and spa.

Other international artists to record at Le Studio include Nazareth, The Police, Sting, Cat Stevens, The Bee Gees, Keith Richards, Kim Mitchell and Bryan Adams. In January 1992 Celine Dion recorded "With This Tear", a song written by Prince and produced by Walter Afanasieff for her Celine Dion album.[citation needed] Rush recorded at Le Studio during "the peak and the end" of the Terry Brown era.[12]

Some of the engineering staff included Nick Blagona,[7] Ed Stasium, Leanne Unger, Frank Opolko, Paul Northfield, Glen Robinson, Robert DiGioia, Paul Milner, Simon Pressey, Jacques Deveau, George Pelekoudis, and Stacy Le Gallee.

The house and grounds are featured in the music videos of the recording sessions of the Rush songs "Tom Sawyer",[12] "Limelight" and "Vital Signs".[13] The studio is also seen in April Wine's music video for "I Like to Rock." Also, an episode of Popular Mechanics for Kids was taped there, with Elisha Cuthbert demonstrating recording and mixing techniques.[14]

Since 2008, Le Studio was unoccupied and had fallen into disrepair.[15]

On 15 June 2015, solo artist Claudio Delgift (creator of songs such as "Stereotypes," "In The Heart Of The Woods" and "Life Element") visited the abandoned LeStudio to record an acoustic cover of "Limelight" by Rush, paying homage to its glory days. Delgift's performance is probably the very last recording made in LeStudio.

On 11 August 2017, the studio's building was destroyed by a fire in a suspected case of arson.[16] Geddy Lee of Rush told the CBC, "it was truly a part of the great Canadian landscape…and literally a home away from home for us. It will always have a special place in our hearts."[17]

Albums and songs recorded at Le Studio[edit]

Title Artist Year released
Numbers Cat Stevens 1975
Children of the World The Bee Gees 1976
Morin Heights (named for the studio[18]) Pilot 1976
1 fois 5 (enregistrement devant public) Robert Charlebois, Yvon Deschamps, Jean-Pierre Ferland, Claude Léveillée et Gilles Vigneault 1976
Lavender Hill Mob Lavender Hill Mob 1976
Vladimir Vysotsky Vladimir Vysotsky 1976
Fountains of Light Starcastle 1977
Expect No Mercy Nazareth 1977
Street of Dreams Lavender Hill Mob 1978
Safety in Numbers Crack the Sky 1978
Chicago 13 Chicago 1979
Harder ..... Faster April Wine 1979
Permanent Waves[19] Rush 1980
Thrillz Walter Zwol & The Rage 1980
Ghost in the Machine
- "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" song only
The Police 1981
Moving Pictures[20] Rush 1981
You Want It You Got It Bryan Adams 1981
Signals Rush 1982
Straight Between the Eyes Rainbow 1982
Synchronicity (overdubs) The Police 1983
Alpha Asia 1983
In the Red Fist 1983
Grace Under Pressure[21] Rush 1984
Tonight[22] David Bowie 1984
Boy in the Box Corey Hart 1985
- "Electric Ocean" song only
The Cult 1985
The Dream of the Blue Turtles (overdubs and mixed) Sting 1985
Fire Corey Hart 1985
The Thin Red Line Glass Tiger 1986
Shakin' Like a Human Being Kim Mitchell 1986
Between The Earth & Sky Luba 1986
Operation: Mindcrime Queensrÿche 1988
Secrets of the Alibi The Northern Pikes 1988
Big Houses Eight Seconds 1988
Talk Is Cheap Keith Richards 1988
Sur Le Chemin des Incendies Paul Piché 1988
Presto Rush 1989
Hell to Pay The Jeff Healey Band 1990
When Up Turns To Down Doughboys 1991
Roll the Bones Rush 1991
Good Gone Bad The Scramblers 1991
Gordon Barenaked Ladies 1992
With This Tear Celine Dion 1992
Risque Terez Montcalm 1993
...but you can call me Larry Lawrence Gowan 1993
Counterparts Rush 1993
Fumbling Towards Ecstasy Sarah McLachlan 1993
Circle of One Julie Masse 1994
Matapédia Kate and Anna McGarrigle 1996
No Worries Reset 1996
Creature Moist 1996
Since August Since August 2000
The Interzone Mantras The Tea Party 2001
Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the Tangiers Soap Opera 2002



  1. ^ Mobley 259.
  2. ^ Myers 95-96.
  3. ^ a b c Verna, Paul (25 February 1995). "Studio Morin Heights Reaches Far: Quebec Facility Embraces Int'l, Local Acts". Billboard. pp. 91–91. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Kilkenny, Carmel (2015-06-09). "Le Studio, Morin Heights for sale after years of neglect". Radio Canada International. Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  5. ^ "Fire destroys legendary Le Studio where Bowie, The Police recorded". CBC News. 2017-08-11. Retrieved 2017-08-13. 
  6. ^ Mobley 259-62.
  7. ^ a b c Peacock, Ted (July 2011). "Interview with Nick Blagona". Journal on the Art of Record Production. 5. ISSN 1754-9892. 
  8. ^ Sharp 69.
  9. ^ LaPointe, Kirk (16 August 1986). "Le Studio Issues Stock on Montreal Exchange". Billboard. pp. 72–73. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Mobley 262.
  11. ^ Sale brochure Archived 8 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine. The property was still for sale as of November, 2008
  12. ^ a b Mobley 260.
  13. ^ NeilPeart.net - News posting April 26, 2006
  14. ^ FilmRise (9 February 2014). "Popular Mechanics for Kids Season 1 Ep 22 "Music Production"". YouTube. Retrieved 14 December 2017. 
  15. ^ Kovac, Adam (2015-08-14). "Le Studio: Legendary Morin Heights recording spot in ruins". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2015-08-15. 
  16. ^ Banerjee, Sidhartha (11 August 2017). "Morin Heights' legendary Le Studio the site of "suspicious" fire". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  17. ^ "Remembering Le Studio - Rush React After Fire Destroys Studio". News.cygnus-x1.net. Retrieved 14 December 2017. 
  18. ^ "Canada! Quebec Scene Reflects Rich Diversity". Billboard. 2 October 1976. pp. C8–9, 12, 20. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  19. ^ Popoff 79-80.
  20. ^ Popoff 94.
  21. ^ Popoff 110-11.
  22. ^ Trynka 432.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°52′34″N 74°16′11″W / 45.876137°N 74.269848°W / 45.876137; -74.269848