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Magic Shop, Where Bowie Secretly Recorded ‘Blackstar,’ To Close

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Magic Shop, the New York studio where David Bowie secretly recorded his final album Blackstar and its predecessor The Next Day, is to close next month. The location, on Crosby Street in SoHo, was also a favourite recording spot for David Crosby, Norah Jones and the late Lou Reed, among others, and was featured in Dave Grohl’s 2014 documentary mini-series Sonic Highways.

Above photo: Tony Visconti and David Bowie at the Magic Shop
with producer/engineer Brian Thorn

Founder Steve Rosenthal said in a statement on Facebook: “After an amazing 28 year run, I will have to close The Magic Shop Recording Studio. 16 March, 2016 will be our last day open.”

Grohl Magic Shop

Dave Grohl at work at the Magic Shop in ‘Sonic Highways’ (courtesy Roswell Films)

The studio is known to have been in dispute with its landlord for the last year or more. “Everyone knows why I have to close, so there is little point in rehashing my story,” continued Leventhal. “My eternal thanks goes to Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters and Lee Johnson for stepping up big time last year to try and save the studio from this fate.

“I would also like to thank the late, great David Bowie for recording Blackstar and The Next Day at the studio. It was an honour to have him and Tony Visconti working here for the last few years.”

Visconti, responding on Facebook, wrote: “Just too many people and now places passing this year. We recorded Blackstar and The Next Day there. [St. Louis-born singer-songwriter] Kristeen Young’s new album was recorded there. I’m so sad. Steve Rosenthal and [studio manager/engineer] Kabir Hermon are saints.”

magicshop01Leventhal went on to thank Hermon and the rest of his current and former staff, his friends and family. “To the talented artists, producers and engineers who passed through 49 Crosby Street over the years, I know it was you who made the Magic that made it special.”

He concluded: “One last thing, I get that New York City is always changing and adapting like the living city it is. Maybe what I believe in is no longer of value, but it was for us and we lived it. As the city becomes more of a corporate and condo island, some of us wish for a better balance between money and art, between progress and preservation, and we hope that one day we will see a reversal of the destruction of conscience and community we are witnessing. Or maybe not…after all I’m just a guy from The Bronx.

“Although the Magic Shop will be gone, I won’t! I intend to continue my restoration and archiving work. So feel free to email or call. Rock on! Steve Rosenthal.”

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Huw ap Conwy Evans

    February 24, 2016 at 8:05 am

    To me this studio is as important as Abbey Road, it’s a great shame

  2. nic

    February 24, 2016 at 8:19 am

    a studio is a building for fuck sake, just move and create something even greater

    • huwrees

      February 24, 2016 at 9:01 am

      You miss the point entirely mate, a studio is not just a building.

    • JackedCat

      February 24, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      I am sorry to say you really don’t get it. The building that houses the studio also houses a community and most importantly a vibe. That is what helps create something great. Something that is lost more times than not today.

    • doug

      February 24, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      Actually, the problem isnt so much losing a studio. It’s losing a real, human created space to some lifeless, corporate, capitalist piece of shit. Doesnt matter if it’s a studio, a deli or a camera shop. As soon as Starbucks or Panera Bread or Rite-Aid moves in, NYC becomes less cool. Who wants to go to a place that is just like the strip mall at home?

    • David

      February 25, 2016 at 2:00 am

      It’s not that at all it’s where people create more then music,as a artist it’s what’s deep in our souls.Not just a building.

    • Andrew

      February 25, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      You’re a stupid piece of shit, nic.

    • byron

      February 27, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      Harsh! you have a point, but you could’ve been more sympathetic.

  3. freddy ol

    February 24, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    le reste de ma vie pour écouter BOWIE encore et encore et encore …………….

  4. Adelaida Martin

    February 24, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Seguro que queda el alma de todo y todos los que habeis creado musica/arte en The Magic Shop. Seguid en otro estudio. Lo importante es lo que haceis.Suerte en la nueva etapa de vida.

  5. Tony Coke

    February 24, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    What a great statement by Mr. Rosenthal.
    I’d love to have a beer with that guy.

  6. Cory Alexander

    February 24, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    So sad to see another piece of music history fade away only to be remembered in story and glory.

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