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Coordinates: Townhouse Studios (officially named The Town House) was a recording studio in West London, built by Richard Branson in 1978, and managed by Barbara Jeffries as part of the Virgin Studios Group. The Virgin Studios Group was acquired by EMI when Richard sold Virgin Records to EMI in 1992. The Sanctuary Group bought the studio from EMI in 2002. Al Stone, a recording engineer and producer, who trained at The Town House, ran the studios for Sanctuary in 2006, only to see Universal close it around April 2008 after a Sanctuary buy-out. The building had three recording rooms, numbered 1, 2 and 4: Studio number 3 was The Who's old Ramport Studios.
Artists that recorded at Townhouse Studios included Elton John, Queen, Phil Collins, Philip Bailey, The Jam, Asia, Bryan Ferry, Coldplay, Muse, Duran Duran, Jamiroquai, Kylie Minogue, Oasis, XTC, Robbie Williams, Peter Gabriel, and Joan Armatrading. Studio 2's "Stone Room" was an especially popular place to record drum sounds during the 1980s, directly as a result of producer Hugh Padgham's treatment of the drums on Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight".
On 27 August 1986, Bob Dylan entered the studio and recorded a few songs including the unreleased "To Fall in Love with You". Thought to be one of Dylan's greatest masterpieces, the song was not completed or considered suitable for official release. Dylan was in England for filming Hearts of Fire, having completed an exhausting tour promoting his album Knocked Out Loaded. It is not known how many takes of "To Fall in Love with You" were recorded but only one take exists. Dylan returned to the studio the following day and may have decided to record further songs.
The Town House had a close relationship with Solid State Logic throughout its history, being the first studio in the UK to install one of their B-series consoles. The 1000th console produced by SSL was installed in studio one. The SSL B mixing desk still exists. Studio One originally was home to a 72-input Helios console with an Alison 64K computer mixdown system, which now resides at Shorefire Recording Studios, Long Branch, New Jersey, United States.
In July 1984, Townhouse 3 was opened, this being the old Ramport Studios in Battersea, purchased from the Who, the Helios from Townhouse 1 eventually being installed there, replacing a Neve, the Helios later giving way to another Neve.
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