The Hit Factory

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The Hit Factory
Photo or image related to studio
Location: New York, NY, USA
Years in operation: YYYY - YYYY

In late September and probably October 1985 Stewart Copeland worked on The Equalizer score in New York at The Hit Factory after having started the project at Unique Recording Studios.

On 1988-08-28 (and probably on several other days around the end of August) Sting was mixing a double live album for a planned release in November 1988 at The Hit Factory.

On 1999-10-06 he re-recorded his vocals for Victor Calderone's re-mix of Desert Rose.


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Recording history

The following Police and related albums or songs were recorded at this studio:

Album (or song) title Artist or band Producer Release year
The Equalizer Stewart Copeland Stewart Copeland YYYY
Desert Rose (re-mix) Sting Victor Calderone YYYY

See also

Recording The Equalizer score started at Unique Recording Studios and then continued at The Hit Factory. The exact date of the switch is a bit of a problem:

Stewart got backstage passes for Michael Finlayson and his wive for one of Sting's Radio City Music Hall concerts. There's no date on that pass, just the number "4", which might stand for the fourth concert (1985-09-27). That concert probably took place right after they switched studios.

"Stewart autographed a copy of The Rhythmatist for me. “You have the money” was a quote from the first show after the pilot, China Rain. For some reason it became the catch phrase of the project.

When we were tired, or stressed, or in the middle of lunch, or for no good reason at all one of us would turn to the other and say, “But, you have the money….” In the whimpering tone of the actress and it would always send us into hysteria. It makes me smile to even think about it. I have no idea why. You had to be there….

As for the dates, I’m kinda vague. As a staff engineer, I never needed to keep a book. When I left at night I just checked when I needed to be back the next day. And once we started the EQ we worked 14 hours a day, seven days a week so I never wrote anything down. We worked EVERY day. I do remember one day off so Stewart could fly down to Florida to play polo. And we took the night off the for the MTV Video Music Awards September 13.

I know we started very close to the Pilot air date, September 18 – maybe a couple of weeks. The Pilot had been scored by Lalo Schifrin, but didn’t work I guess, so they got Stewart. By then they (the producers) had lost most of their lead time so they were literally shooting two weeks before air and we were working on the music the week before air. The show we were working on aired days after we finished. As I recall, I worked on the pilot and the first four shows, but that gets into October. Therein lies part of my confusion.

Another clue to the date he moved to The Hit Factory was a hurricane. At one point I thought I might move to The Hit Factory with the project, but in the end I didn’t. However, I was going to go over to The Hit Factory to hang out and see if I could be of any help in the transition. I distinctly remember calling the studio to see if they were going to cancel sessions because of “the hurricane.” When I looked up the 1985 hurricane schedule, believe it or not, there were two that hit NY at the same time. We NEVER got hurricanes in NY. Now I live in Charleston, SC and we get hurricane threats all the time, but this was very unusual to get ONE, much less two. Anyway, Henri hit eastern Long Island with winds of 40 mph (65km/h) on September 24th. Gloria, which formed and was named earlier, hit later and closer making landfall on Western Long Island September 27th as a Category 2 with winds of 96-110 mph (154-177 km/h.) It is MUCH more likely that Gloria is the storm I was concerned about.

So that’s about as close as I can get on the end date. By the 27th, I am pretty sure he had moved to the Hit Factory. It makes sense that we would have gone to one of the earlier Sting shows at Radio City, possibly the 23rd.

As for why the shows were airing much later by then, either we made up time, or they showed repeats for a few weeks. IMDB shows the dates as consecutive, but as I recall after a few shows they showed the first few over again. This was fairly common practice back then, to allow people who had just heard about the show to catch up from the beginning. Now of course they just play the early shows over the internet. Anyway, we were having zero lead time between shooting at the air date so this would have given them a few weeks padding.

Bottom line? He was at Unique the bulk of September, roughly September 4-27. I have contacted the studio owners to see if they can provide any more detail and I’ll let you know.

I have other assorted stories about the sessions if you’re interested. For instance, when Stewart’s Fairlight arrived we were having all kinds of problems. We had to switch it to US voltage of 110/120, of course, but later realized that although the main instrument didn’t care, the hard drives were spinning at the wrong speed due to the 60 cycle alternating current. I went to high school in Stuttgart and remembered all of my records playing at the wrong speed because the juice over there was 50 cycle and my record player motor was setup for 60. But as of September ’85 I had never thought about computer hard drives having the same problem!"

External links

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source: Michael Finlayson, TV recording of "Now Hear This" - August 29, 1988 (mentioning "yesterday")