Capitol Records Building

The Capitol Records Building, also known as the Capitol Records Tower, Hollywood Boulevard Commercial and Entertainment District, located in Hollywood, Los Angeles is a thirteen-story tower designed by Welton Becket – and one of the city’s landmarks

Located just north of the intersection of Hollywood and Vine and consolidating the West Coast operations of Capitol Records, the structure is home to the recording studios and echo chambers of Capitol Studios – and is on the List of Registered Historic Places in Los Angeles.

The wide curved awnings over windows on each story and the tall spike emerging from the top of the building coincidentally resembling a stack of records on a turntable. The rectangular ground floor is a separate structure, joined to the tower after completion. The tower to include 13 stories, to conform to the 150-foot (46 m) zoning height limit. Earthquake height restrictions were later lifted in 1964. The 13th floor of the tower is the “Executive Level” and is represented by an “E” in the building’s two elevators.

The blinking light atop the tower spells out the word “Hollywood” in Morse code, and has done so since the building’s opening in 1956. This was an idea of Capitol’s then-president, Alan Livingston, who wanted to subtly advertise Capitol’s status as the first record label with a base on the west coast. The switch was initially activated by Lyla Morse, the granddaughter of Samuel Morse. In 1992 it was changed to read “Capitol 50” in honor of the label’s fiftieth anniversary. It has since returned to the spelling “Hollywood”. A black and white graphic image of the building appeared on the albums of many Capitol recording artists, with the phrase, “From the Sound Capitol of the World”.

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