Capitol Records Building

 
(n.d.)* – Sketch showing the Capitol Records Building located at located at 1750 N. Vine Street in Hollywood.  Digital artist Jim Van Schaack  

 

Historical Notes

The new Capitol Records Building was built one block north of the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine. The landmark building was designed by Louis Naidorf of Welton Becket Associates, the architectural firm that also designed the Music Center, Cinerama Dome, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and the department store that now houses the Petersen Automotive Museum. The 13-story tower completed in April 1956 resembles a tall stack of 45 RPM records, however Welton Beckett claims he just wanted to build a structure that economized space. The Capitol Records Building was the world’s first circular office building ever completed as of April 1956.*
 

 

 

 

 
(1955)* - View looking southeast showing the Capitol Records Building in the early stages of construction, located near the corner of Yucca and Vine streets.  

 

Historical Notes

Designed by Louis Naidorf of Welton Becket and Associates, the tower was the world’s first circular office building, constructed of reinforced concrete and punctuated by a series of porcelain enamel sun shades stepping down each floor of the building.

 

 

 

 
(1955)^ - View looking north showing the Capitol Records Building under construction as seen from Hollywood and Vine.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1955)^ – View looking north on Vine Street showing the Capitol Records Building under construction. At lower right-center can be seen Du-par's Restaurant.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1956)#* - View showing the Capitol Records Building nearing completion with sign advertising rental space.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1956)+#+ - View showing the newly completed Capitol Records Building located at 1750 N. Vine Street. Du-par's Restaurant is seen in the foreground.  

 

Historical Notes

The 13-story Capitol Records Building, also known as the Capitol Records Tower, became one of Hollywood's Landmark (also LA). Construction was contracted by British company EMI soon after its 1955 acquisition of Capitol Records, with completion in April 1956. 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.*

 

 

 

 
(1956)* - Aerial view of Hollywood showing the Capitol Records Building in the center surrounded by other buildings near Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street; view is looking southeast. The visible streets are (diagonally, r to l): Vine Street, Argyle Avenue, Gower Street, and Bronson Avenue and (l to r): Yucca Street, Hollywood Boulevard, and Sunset Boulevard. Other visible buildings are Yucca Vine Building (corner of Yucca and Vine), Equitable Building (corner of Vine and Hollywood), Pantages Theatre (corner of Hollywood and Argyle), and Charles E. Skinner Studios (corner of Argyle and Yucca).  

 

 

 

 

 
(1950s)^ - Ground view looking NW showing the Capitol Records Building.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1958)* - Nighttime view, looking south, of the intersection of Vine and Yucca streets at 1750 N. Vine Street. The Capitol Records Building stands tall near the southeast corner.  

 

Historical Notes

The wide curved awnings over the windows of each floor and the tall spike emerging from the top of the building combine to give it the appearance of a stack of vinyl 45s on a turntable, although it was not originally designed with that idea in mind.

 

 

 

 
(1960)#* – View looking north on Vine Street showing the Capitol Records Building in the background with The Red Fox Restaurant in the foreground.  Du-par's Restaurant is located behind the Red Fox Restaurant out of view.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1960s)^ - View looking north on Vine St. just north of Hollywood Blvd. Du-par's Restaurant is open for business: Breakfast ALL HOURS. In the background stands the Capitol Records Building. Note that the streetlights have been changed-out to a new 3-bulb design, called Hollywood Specials.  

 

Historical Notes

The first Du-par's was founded in 1938 at the Los Angeles Farmers Market by James Dunn and Edward Parsons, who combined their surnames to create the restaurant's name. The chain was purchased in 2004 by an investor group led by W.W. "Biff" Naylor, the son of noted California restaurateur Tiny Naylor. Du-par's expanded in 2009 to include several locations from the bankrupt Bakers Square chain.*

 

 

 

 
(1962)^ - The Beach Boys on the steps of the Capitol Records Building...Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, and David Marks. (Capitol Photo Archives)  

 

Historical Notes

After being turned down by Dot and Liberty, the Beach Boys signed a seven-year contract with Capitol Records. This was at the urging of Capitol executive and staff producer Nick Venet who signed the group, seeing them as the "teenage gold" he had been scouting for.  On June 4, 1962, the Beach Boys debuted on Capitol with their second single, "Surfin' Safari" backed with "409". The release prompted national coverage in the June 9 issue of Billboard, which praised Love's lead vocal and said the song had potential.

The Beach Boys completed their first album, Surfin' Safari, in October 1962. It was different from other rock albums of the time in that it consisted almost entirely of original songs, primarily written by Brian with Mike Love and friend Gary Usher.  Another unusual feature of the Beach Boys was that, although they were marketed as "surf music", their repertoire bore little resemblance to the music of other surf bands, which was mainly instrumental and incorporated heavy use of spring reverb. For this reason, some of the Beach Boys' early local performances had young audience members throwing vegetables at the band, believing that the group was poseurs.*

 

 

 

 
(1960s)^ - Daytime holiday view of Hollywood and Vine with the Capitol Records Building in background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1956)^ - View looking north from the intersection of Hollywood and Vine.  

 

Historical Notes

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 Leila 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 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".*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1960)* - View looking south on Vine St. shows the Capitol Records Building at 1750 N. Vine Street. It is truly a Hollywood landmark.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1967)* - View looking south on Vine Street from across the Hollywood Freeway showing the Capitol Records Building and Broadway-Hollywood Building.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1960s)^ - View looking south on Vine Street showing the Capitol Records Building standing tall in the foreground.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1961)#* – View looking south on Vine Street from Yucca Street with the Capitol Records Building on the left.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1960s)#*## – Night view looking north showing the Capitol Records Building with the Hollywood Sign in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1962)* – View looking northwest from the intersection of Hollywood and Argyle showing the Capitol Records Building in the background with the Pantages Theatre on the left and a hamburger stand in the foreground.  

 

Historical Notes

Designed by Stewart Romans of Ollsen Lighting and featuring 4,373 bulbs (at 25 watts each), the Christmas tree on top of the Capitol Records Building was the first of its kind, and it has been a part of the Hollywood skyline each December since 1958, save for 1973, when L.A. experienced an energy crisis.^^*^^

 

 

 

 
(1960)**^# - Life is Good! Cruising down Hollywood Boulevard on a Saturday night in a shining new 1959 Pontiac Coupe. The Capitol Records building stands in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1965)#* - View looking north on Vine Street at Hollywood Boulevard with the Capitol Records building in the background. A beautiful two-tone 1963 Thunderbird is seen at mid-intersection.  

 

Historical Notes

In 2006, the Capitol Records Building and Rooftop Sign were dedicated as LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 857 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 

 
(1970)* - Aerial view looking southwest showing a helicopter hovering over Hollywood. The intersection of Hollywood and Vine is at upper center-left and the Capitol Records Building stands tall at center-right.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1978)* - A view taken from the west side of Vine St., looking north toward the Capitol Records Building. A sign over the Howard Johnsons on the northwest corner advertises Universal Studios Tour and the film Airport '77. Also visible are stars on a portion of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  

 

 

 

 

 
(2006)*^ - Capitol Records building photographed in black and white on an overcast day. Photo by Kevin D. Hartnell  

 

 

 

 

 

\  
(1999)* - Detail of the awnings of the Capitol Records Building in Hollywood.  

 

Historical Notes

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 incorporates 13 stories, to conform to the 150-foot zoning height limit that was in place at the time of its construction. Earthquake height restrictions were later lifted in 1964.*^

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 2019)^ - View looking up toward the top of the Capitol Building framed by two palm trees.  Completed: 1956.  Architect: Louis Naidorf. Brian Moore Photography  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(2014)^ – Aerial view of the Capitol Records Building shot from a Drone.  Photo by Clay Folden  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(2021)* - Rooftop view of the Capitol Records Building from the W Hollywood Hotel with the Pantages Theatre in the foreground.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(2021)^ – Capitol Records Building with lit up Christmas Tree on top. The Knickerbocker Hotel can be seen in the distance. Photo by Gary Simon  

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

Other Sections of Interest

 

Early City Views (1800s)

Historical Bldgs (1800s)

Early Hollywood (1850 - 1920)

Early San Fernando Mission

Early Los Angeles Plaza

Water in Early Los Angeles

Early So Calif Amusement Parks

Baseball in Early Los Angeles

Aviation in Early Los Angeles

Early San Pedro and Wilmington

Mystery History: Q & A

Early City Views (1900 - 1925)

Historical Bldgs (1900 - 1925)

Early Views of Hollywood (1920 +)

Early Views of the San Fernando Valley

California Historical Landmarks in LA

Electricity in Early Los Angeles

Historical Timeline of Los Angeles

Los Angeles River - The Unpredictable

Early Views of Mt. Lowe Railway

Early Views of Santa Catalina Island

Early Views of the Miracle Mile

Early City Views (1925 +)

Historical Bldgs (1925 +)

Early Views of Hollywood Bowl

Early Views of Pasadena

Early Views of Santa Monica

Early Views of Glendale

Early Views of UCLA / Westwood

Early Views of USC

Early Views of Historic Main Street

Early Los Angeles Streetlights

'Miracle Mile' (1920s & 1930s)

 

 

 

Water and Power in Early LA

 

 

 

 

 

Newest Additions

 

 

 

 

New Search Index

 

A new SEARCH INDEX has been added to help navigate through the thousands of topics and images found in our collection. Try it out for a test run.

 

Click HERE for Search Index

 

 

* * * * *

 

< Back