Decca Studios was a recording facility at 165 Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead, North London, England, controlled by Decca Records from 1937 to 1980.

History edit

The building that housed Decca Studios at 165 Broadhurst Gardens in London was built in the 1880s as the Falcon Works, a place for tradespeople to work from. A few years later it was turned into a venue, including two halls, for concerts, meetings and other gatherings. Although named West Hampstead Town Hall, it was a venue for hire, rather than a local government facility.[1] In 1928, Crystalate Gramophone Record Manufacturing took it over and moved its recording studio there. In 1937, Decca took over Crystalate's record division and moved its recording production to the Broadhurst Gardens studios, closing its existing Upper Thames Street studio.[2]

From British Decca's beginnings in 1929, its earliest recordings were made at two locations, the Chenil Galleries Studios in Chelsea,[3] and later in Lower Thames Street. In 1961, Decca expanded by building Studio 3, with a live room large enough to accommodate a fully symphony orchestra, on property adjacent to 195 Broadhurst Gardens.[4]

The Beatles failed their Decca audition at the location on 1 January 1962,[5] and subsequently signed with Parlophone instead.

With the sale of Decca to Polygram, the studios were closed in 1981 and the building was renamed Lilian Baylis House. In recent years, it has been used as rehearsal space by English National Opera. The building was awarded Grade II listed status in August 2021.[6][4]

Recording artists edit

Many popular songs and albums were recorded at Decca Studios. John Mayall's 1968 Blues from Laurel Canyon was recorded there, along with five albums by the Moody Blues. David Bowie recorded his first single, "Liza Jane", at the studio in 1964.[7] The studios also saw the formation of the original Fleetwood Mac, under the aegis of then-Bluesbreakers guitarist Peter Green, after John Mayall bought him studio time as a birthday present, recording the tracks "First Train Home", "Rambling Pony" and the instrumental "Fleetwood Mac".[8] Marc Bolan recorded his debut single "The Wizard" at the studio in 1965.[9] Marmalade recorded most of their Decca hits in Studio 2, including "Reflections of My Life". Adam and the Ants recorded full band demos of their then live repertoire at the studio in August and December 1978. These have been widely bootlegged among Adam Ant fans prior to their commercial release.[10] The Zombies recorded "She's Not There" at the facility.[citation needed]

Many classical recordings were made at the studios.[11] Britain's leading big band, led by Ted Heath, made a succession of recordings at Broadhurst Gardens for Decca during the band's peak years, from 1945 until Heath's death in 1969.

Selected recordings edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Weindling, Dick; Colloms, Marianne (2013). Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek: West Hampstead's Musical Heritage Remembered. History Press. ISBN 9780750952873.
  2. ^ Weindling, Dick; Colloms, Marianne (20 September 2013). "Making Music in West Hampstead and Kilburn". West Hampstead Life. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  3. ^ Brian Rust, Brian Rust's Guide to Discography (1980), p. 67.
  4. ^ a b Massey, Howard (2015). The Great British Recording Studios. Lanham, Maryland, US: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-4584-2197-5.
  5. ^ "London Studios and Clubs". Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  6. ^ Historic England. "Lilian Baylis House (former Decca recording studios), including walls to Broadhurst Gardens, 165 Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead, London, NW6 3AX (Grade II) (1475683)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  7. ^ "David Bowie FAQ: Early On". 14 January 1966. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  8. ^ Martin E. Adelson. "The Original Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac". Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  9. ^ Melly, George (21 September 2013). "From the Observer archive, 26 September 1965: life's a gas for the latest pop sensations". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Demos 1977-1979". Antmusic. Archived from the original on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  11. ^ Philip Stuart (2009). "Decca Classical, 1929-2009" (PDF). Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  12. ^ "Bands and Artists: R: Rolling Stones: Discography: Singles: Rolling Stones EP, The". MusicMoz. 10 January 1964. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  13. ^ "Music Collectors pages - John Mayall's Bluesbreakers - 05/04/2010". Chrome Oxide. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  14. ^ "Taylormade - The Mick Taylor Database". Retrieved 4 December 2012.

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