Cherokee Studios

Cherokee Studios is a recording facility in Hollywood, California, founded in 1972. Cherokee's owner and manager is Bruce Robb. In his autobiography, Beatles producer George Martin dubbed Cherokee Studios the best studio in America.

Cherokee Studios
FounderBruce Robb
Dee Robb
Joe Robb
Country of originUnited States
LocationLos Angeles, California

In the early seventies, the Robb Brothers founded the original Cherokee Studios, first located in the countryside at a ranch in Chatsworth, and then on Fairfax Avenue in Hollywood. The noted studio was owned and operated by the award-winning producer/engineers and brothers - Dee, Joe and Bruce Robb, who had started their careers as performers in the 1960s as a Midwest-based folk rock band called The Robbs. Their manager was Con Merten. They switched to record production, and by the mid-seventies, with albums such as Pretzel Logic and Station to Station the studio had made its name.

At the peak of its success, Cherokee housed five studios at the Fairfax location and an additional three studios at a satellite location acquired on Beverly Drive (formerly Lion Share/ABC Dunhill Records).


The Robb family lived in Wisconsin. The three brothers had a band called "The Robbs". Circa 1962/63, Dick Clark discovered the band when they were the opening act at the “Summer Caravan of Stars” in Wisconsin and invited them to continue on with the “Caravan” tour as essentially the house band. They performed as the opening act, then acted as the band of various other major acts of the time, such as: Jerry Lee Lewis, Dion, The Shirelles, Del Shannon, Brian Hyland, The Everly Brothers, Bobby Vee, Bobby Vinton, Freddy Cannon, Gene Pitney, etc.

Circa 1964, The Robbs (now with new drummer “cousin” Craig Robb) crashed Clark's “Battle of the Bands” in Chicago at the “Young World's Fair” where they won and played the opening day to a 16,000-seat arena. That success caused Clark to keep them for the 10-day fair, where they also shot their first episode of his TV show, “Where the Action Is.” This appearance led to an invitation as show regulars in California, becoming the most publicized band in America that year on TV in 1965/66. (All the popular teen magazines featured The Robbs alongside The Beatles, The Beach Boys and all the major bands of the era.)

After logging time across the country as a band, The Robbs had become acquainted with just about every unwelcome situation typical of the life of a touring musician at the time. Together with their manager, Con Merten, they relocated to Los Angeles from the Chicago/Milwaukee area to focus more on producing and managing, rather than on performing. Their ideas focused on making the studio a creative space designed for musicians and engineers.

As an independent recording studio, not owned by a record or film company, Cherokee was unusual in the U.S. at the time, though not unique - Jimi Hendrix' Electric Lady Studios, which opened in 1970, had been constructed along similar ideas and was operated by itself, not by a major company.

Within the next couple of years, a fortuitous break presented itself when the MGM Records’ studio space on Fairfax came on the market. They made the purchase and overhauled their new studio. Their first big hit recorded there was Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic.

Cherokee closed the location on Fairfax Ave., Aug 31, 2007.[1] The last album recorded at Cherokee was Out of the Wilderness from Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise. The studio closed to make way for a new building. Under the direction of a leading green developer, the site was to become the Lofts @ Cherokee Studios[2] – a Green LEED Platinum Live/Work complex offering professional recording studios in select units designed by Cherokee owner Bruce Robb. However that did not carry out as planned. The original developers went into foreclosure in 2008. New owners purchased the property and have had no contact or relationship with Bruce Robb and or Cherokee Studios.


In late August 2011, the official website announced "New Studio Coming to Hollywood". As of 2020 Cherokee Studios has a new location on Melrose Ave. Catty corner to Raleigh studios and across the street from Paramount Film Studios. The new studio location was built in collaboration with George Augsberger and Bruce Robb. The studio still boasts the Cherokee/Trident 48 Channel, 24 bus, 24 monitor channel A-Range console as well as large tracking space that can hold up to 40 string players comfortably. Of the new studio and location, it has been said the new location is a continuation of the Cherokee tradition, while going above and beyond. [3]

Prominent clientsEdit

Under MGM Records [3]

Acts that recorded at M.G.M. Recording Studios include: Count Basie,[4] Ella Fitzgerald,[5] Judy Garland,[6] Oscar Peterson, Lou Rawls, The Sylvers, Elvis Presley[7] and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.[5]

Tom PettyEdit

Petty recorded his third album Damn the Torpedoes and fourth Hard Promises at both Sound City Studios and Cherokee Studios respectively. During the recording of Hard Promises, John Lennon was scheduled to be in the recording studio at the same time as Petty and the Heartbreakers. However, the meeting never occurred due to the untimely murder of Lennon in New York in December 1980. Both Damn the Torpedoes and Hard Promises were mixed at Cherokee Studios.[8]

David BowieEdit

With Cameron Crowe documenting the recording sessions for Rolling Stone, producer Harry Maslin and David Bowie came to Cherokee Studios in 1975 to record the platinum album Station to Station.

Mötley CrüeEdit

Mötley Crüe recorded the platinum selling albums Theatre of Pain and Shout at the Devil at Cherokee Studios. Technicians working on Shout at the Devil noted that the members of Mötley Crüe would "stay up for three days straight making music and not even think we were working hard, with girls were streaming in and out of the studio."

Harry NilssonEdit

Harry Nilsson recorded his final album Flash Harry at Cherokee Studios between 1978 and 1980. Produced by Steve Cropper and engineered by Bruce Robb, the album has a very clean, soulful sound and features a who's-who of collaborators including Ringo Starr, Paul Stallworth, Eric Idle and Mac Rebennack.

Bonnie RaittEdit

While living in one of the West Hollywood apartment complexes directly behind Cherokee Studios, Bonnie Raitt would pick up backup singing recording gigs with music producers Bruce Robb and Steve Cropper.

Frank SinatraEdit

Frank Sinatra recorded the Sinatra Christmas Album at Cherokee in 1975.

Ringo StarrEdit

While he was recording Stop and Smell the Roses at Cherokee Studios in 1980, Ringo Starr invited George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney to guest on the album; Paul McCartney and Harrison also produced some of the tracks. Starr had approached John Lennon to help out as well, had received two demos of songs which eventually wound up on the posthumous Lennon album Milk and Honey, and reportedly, Lennon had agreed to come to Los Angeles in January 1981 and take part in the recording; the album then would have been a modest Beatles reunion. The assassination of Lennon prevented those plans from coming to fruition. Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones also collaborated with Starr on the album at Cherokee, adding guitar, bass, saxophone, keyboards, and back-up vocals.

Weird Al YankovicEdit

Weird Al Yankovic recorded his first album at Cherokee in 1982. The album sold over 500,000 copies.

Warren ZevonEdit

In 2002, a terminally ill Warren Zevon came to Cherokee Studios to record what would be his final album, The Wind. Nick Read filmed Zevon's final recordings at Cherokee for the documentary,Warren Zevon: Keep Me In Your Heart. Bruce Springsteen joined Zevon at Cherokee for the single "Disorder in the House," Cherokee owner Bruce Robb provided lead guitar on the first track of The Wind and support vocals on two other tracks.

Michael JacksonEdit

Michael Jackson's 1979 album Off the Wall was recorded at Cherokee Studios. The album is among the best-selling albums of all time.

Other actsEdit

Acts that have recorded at Cherokee Studios include:

Film and TVEdit

Selected gear listEdit

Studio 1(1976)
  • Custom Trident A-Range Mixing Console with 80 Channels
  • Universal Audio 1176 Limiting Amplifier- 2
  • dbx 160x
  • GML 8200
  • Pultec EQ P1-A
  • Pultec MEQ-1
  • Ampex MM-1200 Series 24-Track Recorder
  • Ampex MM-Series 2-Track Mixdown Recorder


Studio 3(1976)
  • MCI JH Series 24 Input Mixing Console
  • MCI JH Series 24-Track Recorder
  • MCI JH Series 2-Track Mixdown Recorder
  • BGW Power Amplifiers
  • Neumann U47, AKG C-414, AKG C-451, Shure SM-57 and SM-7 microphones
  • Sennheiser and AKG Stereo Headphones
  • EMT Echoplate Units
  • UREI & DBX Compressor/Limiters plus Various Additional Outboard Gear
and Musical Instruments, i.e. Electric Guitars & Synthesizer Keyboards


  1. ^ "L.A.'s Cherokee Studios To Close at". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-08-09.
  2. ^ "lofts at cherokee studios - Download Business Template".
  3. ^ discogs - 555 albums connected with Cherokee Sound Studios
  4. ^ Count Basie/Big Joe Turner: The Bosses - Original Jazz Classics - OJC OJCCD821 - 025218682121 - H&B Recordings Direct[permanent dead link] at
  5. ^ a b Cole Porter / Ella Loves Cole at
  6. ^ Meet Me In St. Louis - 1944 at
  7. ^ Elvis Discography 1972 at
  8. ^ "Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Hard Promises". Discogs.
  9. ^

External links and ReferencesEdit

Coordinates: 34°05′07″N 118°21′42″W / 34.0852403°N 118.3617293°W / 34.0852403; -118.3617293