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A&R RECORDING, 112 West 48th Street







In the 1960s West 48th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues was known as ‘Musicians Row’. A&R Studios was on the 4th Floor of “Mogul's Film & TV Company” at 112 West 48th Street


Jim and Andy’s Bar, a popular hangout for New York's session musicians, was next door at 116 W48th. Studio owner Phil Ramone installed an intercom from the studio to Jim & Andy's to call for musicians if someone didn't show up. Milt Hinton, a bass player with the Cab Calloway Orchestra remembers “Every so often it would crackle into life and the disembodied voice of engineer Phil Ramone would resound, "Hey, we need a trombone player up here. Is there anybody around?”


The studio was small but with its state-of-the-art equipment - the first in the city to have a 4-track recorder, and Ramone’s experimental production techniques, it quickly gained a reputation for producing a great sound.


“I quickly learned that much of what you do in the studio is a mixture of echoes, reverbs, and slaps.” Ramone said, “The more imaginative you were with those effects, the more successful your studio was.” 


“The music that came out of that little shitbox was incredible.” recalls Quincy Jones, “ Hits by the dozen.”

On March 18th,1963 Brazilian artist João Gilberto arrived at A&R Studios to record the album “Getz/Gilberto” with saxophonist Stan Getz and pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim.


Notoriously shy, and not speaking a word of English, Gilberto brought his 22-year-old wife Astrud along as an interpreter.


Verve Records producer Creed Taylor thought Gilberto’s “Garota de Ipanema” could be a pop hit, and wanted to record a demo in English to persuade Sarah Vaughn to record it. 


Being the only Brazilian in the studio who spoke English, Astrud volunteered.


Taylor knew “The Girl from Ipanema” would be an absolute smash “from the moment Astrud came in with her little voice and sang with that accent”.


At the end of the session Stan Getz said “Astrud, you’re going to be famous."

João Gilberto, Antônio Carlos Jobim, and Stan Getz in session at A&R Recording Studios, March 18-19th, 1963 

The recording sat on the shelf for months waiting for Vaughn’s response. She declined, and the album was released in March 1964 with Astrud’s demo as the opening track. 


A shortened version was released as a single the following month and peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100.


The album stayed on the Billboard album charts for 96 weeks. It went on to win four Grammys, including Album of the Year, and sold more than five million copies worldwide.


Getz got the lion’s share of money from album sales, estimated to be nearly $ 1 million.


Astrud Gilberto was paid the union rate for a night of session work: $120.

Astrud Gliberto backstage at Birdland, 1964

© PoPsie Randolph/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


By 1963 Esso (now ExxonMobil) had outgrown its office space in Rockefeller Center, and proposed that Rockefeller Center Inc. expand with new construction. The removal of the 6th Avenue elevated train line in 1961, and new commercial zoning laws, allowed for taller towers with plazas to open up public space on 6th Avenue.


In 1967 Rockefeller Center announced the construction of The X,Y, and Z buildings - one skyscraper on each of the blocks between 47th and 50th Streets on 6th Avenue.

Unlike the Rockefeller Center’s original Art Deco aesthetic, the new designs were for three modernist slab-like towers rising straight up without setbacks, described by one critic as "the sinister Stonehenge of economic man". 

The Z building, with the address 1211 Avenue of the Americas, sits on the former site of 114 West 48th Street. It was completed in 1973 and has over 2 million square feet of office space over 45 floors.


Today the building is the Headquarters for Fox Corporation and contains the offices of News Corp, Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and studios for Fox News.


Fox and Friends” broadcast every weekday morning from Studio M, giving a glimpse of the corner of 48th Street and 6th Avenue behind the couch.

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