Seeing Stars: Hollywood Landmarks..  

1750 Vine Street,
Hollywood, CA. / (323) 462-6252

There isn't that much for a tourist to see at the famed corner of Hollywood & Vine, but there is at least one instantly recognizable landmark near that intersection: the Capitol Records building, located on Vine Street, just north of Hollywood Boulevard.

Capitol Records was the first record company based on the West Coast, and has promoted such acts as The Beatles, the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Frank Sinatra, Bob Seger, Duran Duran, Bonnie Raitt, Robbie Robertson, Steve Miller and Tina Turner.

Since 1954, the company has been located in the world's first circular office building. There is a lack of consensus about whether or not this unique, 13-story high-rise was purposely designed to resemble a stack of records topped by a stylus, but few would deny that it certainly does.

At the base of the building's southern face (overlooking a parking lot) is a large, colorful mural by artist Richard Wyatt, titled "Hollywood Jazz." The mural features large portraits of Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, and other jazz greats.

(Rumor has it that it was Nat King Cole himself who suggested the unusual shape for the Capitol Records building.)

The mural had faded badly in the early 2000's, but in 2014, a restoration effort was mounted, and the mural is now looking almost as good as it originally did.

This is, of course, an office building, and it isn't open to public tours - so you'll have to be satisfied with admiring its unique exterior and their small lobby, where the walls are covered with their many gold records from artists like the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Duran Duran.

John Lennon's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is right outside the Capitol Records building, and is often the site of candlelight vigils on the anniversary of his death (December 8).

And that stretch of the Walk of Fame, near Capitol Records, is now a favorite spot to put the stars for music artists.  Here on the sidewalk, you'll see (besides John Lennon's) the stars of Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Neil Diamond, and Garth Brooks,

After dark, you might notice that the spire high atop the Capitol Records building is topped by a red light which continually blinks on and off. Some people think it looks like it's sending out a message in Morse Code. It is. The red light blinks out the word "Hollywood" in code, every few seconds. In 1956, the granddaughter of Samuel Morse (inventor of the Morse code) threw the switch that turned on the tower light. This single-word message was changed only once, in June of 1992, to celebrate Capitol Records' 50th anniversary. For that one year, it blinked: "Capitol 50."  In 1993, it returned to sending the original message: "Hollywood."

Newer artists currently recording with Capitol Records include Blessid Union Of Souls, Everclear, Meredith Brooks, Marcy Playground, and Megadeath.

[ Incidentally, right across the street from the Capitol Records building, on the west side of Vine Street, is the old Hollywood Palace, which opened back in 1927. Groucho Marx filmed his TV quiz  series "You Bet Your Life" here. It was also the site of the old Merv Griffin Show, and for a 1960's TV variety show called, appropriately enough, "The Hollywood Palace" (hosted by Jimmy Durante) which showcased a weekly cavalcade of superstars. In its heyday, "playing the Palace" was considered a major honor for any performer. Dean Martin introduced the Rolling Stones on TV here (and people are still complaining about his remarks). Later, in the 70's, it played host to acts like The Bangles and The Stray Cats. In recent years, it has been known simply as "The Palace" a nightclub featuring dance nights and live acts such as Smashing Pumpkins.  In October 2003, it re-opened as "Avalon Hollywood", which boasts a new state-of-the-art light and sound system, a 1,300-person capacity theatre (which will stage live music and comedy concerts and dance/DJ events), a lounge called "The Spider Club" an outdoor patio, and a bistro-style restaurant open 24-7.]

Getting thereCapitol Records is located just north of the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine. From Grauman's Chinese, just head east on Hollywood Blvd (about a mile) to Vine Street, then turn left (north). You can't miss it.

[For more information on this subject, you can access Capitol Record's official website at:]

Click here to browse CD's from Capitol Records

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