Six surprising facts help set the record straight about Hollywood’s famed circular structure.
Though a mere 13 stories tall, the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood—the world's first round office building—has held its share of music giants. Peggy Lee, Whitney Houston, and Prince are among the artists who have cut albums at the Tower since its opening in 1956. Back then, city height limits kept it from rising above 150 feet. Still, the 51-year-old structure's stack-of-records look helps it remain hip among its rather square neighbors.
OL' BLUE EYES LEADS OFF
The first album recorded at the tower was a set of instrumental pieces, Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color.
A light atop the tower blinks "Hollywood" in Morse code. Leila Morse, granddaughter of telegraph inventor (and code namesake) Samuel F.B. Morse, first activated it on April 6, 1956.
THE SILENT TREATMENT
Each of the building's three recording studios, located at the base of the tower, rests on a layer of cork for added protection from outside noise.
The 1974 all-star blockbuster film Earthquake showed the tower collapsing. Thirty years later, The Day After Tomorrow had it blown away by a freak tornado.
DAY OF HONOR
Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley honored "one of Los Angeles' most distinguishable landmarks" by proclaiming July 23, 1987, Capitol Tower Day.
John Lennon has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the tower, as do rock diva Tina Turner and country crooner Garth Brooks.
Photography by Jeffrey Goldsmith
This article was first published in July 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.