Located in Munich, Germany, Musicland Studios was established by Italian record producer, songwriter, and four-time Grammy Award-winning producer Giorgio Moroder in the late 1960s. The studio was situated in the basement of the Arabella High-Rise Building. One of its most important tracks was the disco hit “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte was recorded in the studio, which is widely credited as one of the most influential records originating electronic dance music and paving the way for house and techno music.
Donna Summer was one of a clique of itinerant musicians and performers who’d washed up in Munich at a time when the recording industry there was at its most vibrant. Originally a cast member of the hippie musical Hair in Germany, she swiftly established herself as an in-demand session singer. She was a popular part of the studio set-up. “We became good friends,” says Moroder, “She was an incredibly talented singer, who could improvise but was also very disciplined. As a person she was very funny.” According to Bellotte, one of the reasons she was easy to work with was her lack of interest in the recording process. “The whole time that we worked together there was never the slightest bit of friction. We were so lucky, because she wasn’t interested in the productions at all. So she’d come in the studio, usually at four o’clock in the afternoon, and would chat for hours. Then she’d look at her watch and say, ‘Oh I’ve gotta go!’ and she’d go into the studio and mostly sing it in one take – and be gone.” (via Mixmag)
View a walkthrough of the studio in the clip from the film Queen ’84 by Rudi Dolezal (shown on Austrian TV by ORF) below.
The Musicland Studios was used extensively throughout the 1970s and the 1980s by many artists because it was also home to a Helios console that was favored by many recording engineers of that era. The groups that recorded here included Led Zeppelin, Freddie Mercury and Queen, The Rolling Stones, the Electric Light Orchestra, The Three Degrees, Iron Maiden, Marc Bolan & T.Rex, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Amanda Lear, Sweet and Elton John. Most of them recorded under the supervision of Musicland’s engineer and producer Reinhold Mack. The facility closed down at the beginning of the 1990s, as the nearby U4 subway was affecting the recording quality.
Moroder went on to define the ’80s synth sound with his work on film soundtracks (“Scarface,” “American Gigolo,” “Flashdance”). He reemerged into the spotlight with a feature on Daft Punk’s 2013 megahit release ‘Random Access Memories’.