Although there are many interesting tourist destinations in Hollywood, one of the most popular is one that isn't even open to the public. Capitol Records, best known for its design that resembles a stack of records, is one of Hollywood's most usual pieces of architecture (the light at the top of the "needle" even spells out Hollywood in morse code!). Although tourists approach the iconic building daily to tug on the locked doors, Capitol Records does not ever let in people to look around. That's why it was so special when recently, for one-day only, visitors were admitted onto the property for a tour.
As part of the 50th anniversary of the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring activities to celebrate the glitz and glamour associated with the coral and black stars that grace the sidewalks of Tinsel Town. Since many of the celebs on the Walk are recording artists, Capitol Records joined in on the celebration. However, its reps underestimated the interest and were caught off guard when the line wrapped around the block and people had to wait two hours, on average, to enter. Although Hollywood is in my own back yard, the opening of Capital Records is not something that is likely to happen again, so I waited along with the others to gain entry.
Once inside the lobby, the walls were covered with gold and platinum records from musical greats spanning the last 50 years. The tour then took visitors into one of the recording studios, most famously known as the room where Natalie Cole recorded "Unforgettable" with her deceased father Nat King Cole. Later, Green Day used the studio to record "American Idiot". Today, the room is also home to Nat's piano, which is signed by the great Billy Preston.
Visitors were then whisked off to the room where The Beatles held their first American press conference. Then, onto Frank Sinatra's stool and music stand where he recorded many songs (apparently, Sinatra wouldn't start a session with Jack Daniels, LifeSavers, and cigarettes on hand!). Engineers also demonstrated how sound is manipulated in the studios and played audio clips that illustrated how Capitol's world-renowned, one-of-a-kind, echo chambers (designed by guitar legend Les Paul) are used to make songs sound richer and fuller. After more great trivia and audio clips, the tour came to a close.
The year-long celebration of the Walk of Fame will conclude in November as Hollywood hosts a gala in the new Hollywood and Highland complex. To learn more about the historic walk, click HERE for a quick history lesson. Hooray for Hollywood!