The West Village rock club Generation was a favorite hangout and jamming spot for Jimi Hendrix. When it closed after six months in the fall of 1968, Hendrix and his manager Michael Jeffery bought Generation and hired Jim Marron to oversee its remodeling. Marron soon convinced his clients to create “a recording studio that was like a nightclub, in that it could be a place that Jimi could entertain his friends—you could do private parties—but it would be a non-public club, one that was fully wired [for] multi-track recording.”

Construction was prolonged and costly but Hendrix began recording at Electric Lady weeks before the official opening party on August 25, 1970. This event marked the last time Jimi Hendrix set foot in Electric Lady. Immediately afterwards, the guitarist flew to England to appear at the Isle of Wight festival; he died in London less than a month later, on September 18.

The loss of the studio’s inspirational figurehead was followed, in later years, by floods, fires, and ill-conceived renovations. Yet by 2008, Electric Lady had survived all of its major competitors to become New York’s longest-running major recording facility. Albums recorded entirely or in part at Electric Lady include Cry of Love (Jimi Hendrix), Led Zeppelin III, Some Girls (Rolling Stones), Voodoo (D’Angelo), Horses (Patti Smith), Talking Book (Stevie Wonder), and Shaman (Santana).