Where Frank Did His Business

Inside the men's lavatory at Ocean Way Recording Studios, looking exactly as it did 50 years ago.

Inside the men’s lavatory at Ocean Way Recording, looking exactly as it did 50 years ago.

Once in a great while, if a person is lucky enough—if the stars line up just right—they might find themselves watching actual history take place. I’m here to say that I am one of those people. Well, at least I saw where “history” used to take place.

Sure, there are some who have witnessed presidents being sworn in or Apollo rockets being launched or any of a variety of improbable major league sports-related milestones being achieved—certainly all laudable events. But how many can say that they have actually seen where a legendary crooner used to go to the bathroom?

Now, before you left-click your way onto another site, let me explain. Having had the good fortune of hanging out at many an old-school recording studio in LA, one day a couple of years ago I found myself inside Ocean Way on Sunset Boulevard.  The birthplace of countless platinum albums from over the years (think Clapton, Petty, the Stones and more), the studio was originally known as United Recorders way back when it was built at the beginning of the ’60s. And one of the initial part-owners was none other than Frank Sinatra himself, who did most of his Reprise recording work there.

On my visit, courtesy of the BBC, who flew me in to appear in one of their documentaries, I received the grand tour. As I tried my best to not drool while checking out all the incredible recording gear, the magnificent mixing console, and the unparalleled Neumann microphone collection, my guide also insisted that I take a gander inside the adjacent men’s room. “It’s where Sinatra used to go,” he said, clearly in awe.

With eyes wide and camera in hand, feeling like I was entering a hall of greatness, I dutifully then stuck my head inside the smallish, retro-tiled chamber and took several photos, one of which is shown here (along with a shot of Frank on the wall in the hall and another picture of his onetime upstairs office).

So, now you, too, can see where the Chairman of the Board did his business while the Chairman of the Board was busy doing his business. Kind of historic, huh?

 

Frank Sinatra's photo on the wall at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood.

Frank Sinatra's former upstairs office at Ocean Way, looking virtually identical to the way he had it in the '60s.

Frank Sinatra’s former upstairs office at Ocean Way, looking virtually identical to the way he had it in the ’60s.

 

Studio A at Ocean Way, formerly United Recorders, where Sinatra cut "Strangers in the Night."

Studio A at Ocean Way, formerly United Recorders, where Sinatra cut “Strangers in the Night.”

 

 

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