Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Support for LAist comes from:

Inside Capitol Records' Studio A

Charlie Paakkari works with a mixing board at Capitol Records' studios.
Rob Strauss/KPCC
Charlie Paakkari works with a mixing board at Capitol Records' studios.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. To mark the occasion, there will be a community festival on Sunday, July 25th. The public can go behind the scenes at the TV Guide studio at Hollywood and Highland, hear a special performance by Louis Prima Jr. and take a tour of Capitol Records' legendary Studio A.

Greg Parkin, Senior Director of Operations at Capitol Studios, said the chance to tour Studio A is a "once in a lifetime opportunity."

“Normally this is kind of locked down," said Parkin. "This is the artists' space. But we were able to get one day with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to knock this out and get the public in here for the first time."

The studio has been the setting of famous recordings, including "Come Fly With Me," by Frank Sinatra and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head"," by Dean Martin. In fact, Sinatra was involved in the very first session of Studio A in 1956, but he wasn't singing, he was conducting for the album "Tone Poems of Color."

The studios also feature famous subterranean echo chambers that were designed by sound innovator Les Paul.

In the early 90s, the studio was redesigned so larger orchestras could work in there. That renovation also allowed for more film and television recordings.

Microphones in Studio A
Photo Courtesy of Capitol Archive

“You’re in a very large studio with microphones dating back everywhere from yesterday to 1940," said recording engineer Charlie Paakkari. "We’re a combination of both new and old and depending on our needs. We use both old and new technology to make the right sound.”

On Sunday, visitors will be able to hear some of the famous recordings in the studio, as well as outtakes from various sessions. They will also get to see how some of the studio equipment works, including the famous echo chambers.

Take a look at our photo tour of Studio A.

Capitol Records, Photo by Fuze Group Photography

Piano in Studio A, Photo by Fuze Group Photography