The History of The Vinyl District
Music had a home in Hollywood from almost the beginning. Silent films had captured audiences in the early 1900s, but in 1927, the first sound movie The Jazz Singer, was released by Warner Brothers. Their studios on Sunset Blvd. produced the first “talkie”,described as “Scarcely a motion picture. It should be more properly labeled an enlarged record of Al Jolson in half a dozen songs.“ By 1927 sound movies, and Warner Bros., dominated the industry.
The Golden Age of Radio in Hollywood began with the birth of commercial radio broadcasting in the early 1920s and continued through the 1940s. It was an era when radio was the dominant electronic home entertainment, which lasted until the 1950’s when television gradually superseded radio as the medium of choice. Radio introduced Hollywood and motion pictures to the world of sound. In March 1925, the Warner Brothers launched KFWB, with Jack Warner himself as the featured singer. The Jazz Singer would follow two years later. In 1933 network radio arrived in Hollywood, with NBC the market leader featuring the top vaudeville and concert stars.
As the area continued to thrive, more and more studios began to open. In the course of one day, fans could see radio shows at NBC, at Sunset and Vine, radio shows at CBS Columbia Square on Sunset, both ABC and Mutual on Vine near Sunset and shows at KFWB, the old Warner Brothers lot on Sunset. If you were to walk down Vine Street in the 1930’s through the 1940’s, you would see lit-up station call letters in every direction. In the golden ages of radio and television, Hollywood was the broadcast capitol, and Vine Street was main street.
Located on the northwest corner of Sunset and Vine, Wallichs Music City operated from 1940 to 1978 and was founded by Glenn Wallichs. The firm existed in an era when most recorded music was sold through small general stores across the USA in which Wallichs Music City became the premier record store in Southern California and the world's largest specialist record store.
Capitol Records was founded on Vine St. in Hollywood in 1942 by songwriter Johnny Mercer with financial help from songwriter and film producer Buddy DeSylva, and the business acumen of Glenn Wallichs. Since the completion of its landmark tower in 1956, Capitol Studios has been a staple of the recording industry. Iconic artists of its early days like Sinatra, Nat King Cole and later The Beach Boys (who recorded their iconic record ‘Surfin' USA’ there) are today joined by major icons of popular music that continue to make music in the historic facility.
The legendary RCA Recording Studios were located in Hollywood at 6363 Sunset Blvd, today the Los Angeles Film Academy. The Rolling Stones “Aftermath”, first released in the United States on 20 June 1966 by London Records as their sixth American album, was also the first Rolling Stones album to be recorded entirely in the US, at the RCA Studios, and the first album the band released in true stereo. The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction"was later recorded there as well.
Hollywood Sound Recorders, was a premiere recording studio, live music venue, and television/film complex located at 6367 Selma Ave. The studio was established in 1965 by Jesse Hodges, and afterwards owned by his son Jonathan Hodges.The studio's legendary recording history extends to many notable artists such as The Doors, Prince, Michael Jackson, The Jacksons, Frank Sinatra, Jackson Browne, Natalie Cole, Iggy Pop, Slayer, Olivia Netwon-John, Boz Scaggs, Bonnie Raitt, Mick Jagger, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna, Tracy Chapman, and so on.
Sound Factory has its’ roots in the 1960’s, when the building on Selma Avenue at Ivar in Hollywood was home to Moonglow Records and Recording Studio. Around 1969, former RCA staff engineer and Warner/Reprise staff producer, David Hassinger bought the Moonglow Records/Studio building and named his new enterprise The Sound Factory. The Sound Factory soon became one of the busiest studios in Hollywood. For close to a decade, The Sound Factory operated at capacity and was host to many well known artists such as Jackson Browne, Seals & Crofts, Warren Zevon, Little Feat, and many others. In 2017, under new ownership, Sound Factory reopened to continue the storied history of this classic studio complex.
Studio Instrument Rentals is located in the former Broadway Hollywood rug department building at Sunset and Wilcox which is the headquarters of an enterprise founded in 1967 by Ken Berry and Dolph Rempp, after they rented a bass guitar to Mitch Rider and the Detroit Wheels for a recording session at Paramount Recording Studios. Today they are known as the largest, best equipped and most respected full-service music equipment rental and production facility in the music recording industry.Today, following the 50 year anniversary in Hollywood, SIR has thirteen locations around the country in music capitals like Nashville, New York and Chicago. At their Hollywood headquarters, SIR offers eight studios and three stages.
The Amoeba Music Hollywood store is currently the largest record store in the country. Amoeba Music is an independent music chain with stores in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Hollywood. It was founded in 1990 on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. The Southern California location was added in 2001 when the store opened a new branch on Sunset at Cahuenga in Hollywood. At the time of its opening, the store stocked as many as 250,000 titles, making it among the largest independent music stores in the world. According to The Los Angeles Times, the location "instantly became a Hollywood landmark."
Realsongs was established in 1986, soon after Warren scored three Top 10 Hits with”I Get Weak” (Belinda Carlisle), “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” (Starship), and “Who Will You RunTo?” (Heart). Warren holds the exclusive rights to all of her music. Warren has won a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, three consecutive Billboard Music Awards for Songwriter of the Year, and has been nominated for ten Academy Awards. She has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Creation of the Vinyl District
As one can gather, the immense history in the area validates the need to establish a unified district. The Hollywood Vinyl District is intended as both an homage to that singular heritage and a destination that celebrates the people and places that comprise the Hollywood music industry and its significance to global culture. This unique neighborhood is unlike anywhere else in the world, and it needs its own identity distinct from the rest of Hollywood. A name, a voice, and a visual presence that embodies its signature blend of vintage authenticity and contemporary style.
Long described as the entertainment capital of the world, Hollywood remains the cultural and historical heart of a global music industry. In this collection of city streets, private venues and public spaces, the past, present and future convene to form the Vinyl District. A new name for one of the worlds most historic, dynamic and electrifying neighborhoods.