Songwriter/producer Jerry Ragovoy (“Piece of My Heart”) opened the original Hit Factory recording studio in 1968 on West 48th Street near Broadway. He later relocated to a converted duplex apartment at 353 West 48th Street, where a winding staircase served as an echo chamber. In March 1975, Ed Germano bought the Hit Factory and eventually moved it to 237 West 54th Street. One of the new room’s first important clients was Stevie Wonder, who recorded “Sir Duke” for his multi-platinum 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life.
In 1991, Ed Germano bought a nearly 100,000-square-foot building at 421 West 54th Street and opened a new Hit Factory in which each of five dedicated floors housed a separate recording studio: Studio 1, on the top floor, could accommodate a 60-piece orchestra. The building also housed the affiliated Hit Factory Mastering; a fully equipped gym with steam room; and the studio’s executive offices, storage areas, and tape library. The Hit Factory attracted a steady stream of major artists ranging from Tony Bennett and Bruce Springsteen to Madonna and 50 Cent. In 1994, the studio made musical history with 41 Grammy Award nominations for songs recorded, mixed and/or mastered at its facilities.
After Ed Germano died in February 2003, his widow and company CFO Janice Germano took over studio operations until the Hit Factory closed in March 2005. The West 54th Street complex was sold for an undisclosed amount (reportedly as high as $20 million) and converted into condominiums that were marketed with the slogan “Live in the House That Rock Built.”
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