The Record Plant Sausalito
2200 Bridgeway, Sausalito CA 94965 (Closed, but you can drive by)
January, 2017 Update: Local investors have negotiated a tentative deal to buy the building and open a recording studio and community music center and museum. We have reached out to them and will share what we know when we hear it.
Insiders Tip: If you want to stop by and see the exterior, the Bridgeway address is misleading because the location is actually on Marinship Way. It’s across the street from the Bay Model Visitors Center, which also has a confusing Bridgeway address while being located on Marinship Way.
(Scroll down for a partial list of major artists and their albums recorded at The Record Plant in Sausalito)
If you don’t plan to drive, Big Bus Tours, a hop-on hop-off service, has the widest combined coverage of the Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito and has a stop next door to The Record Plant at The Bay Model as well as downtown Sausalito and Fort Baker. This route allows you to also visit the Sausalito houseboats (several blocks to the north) and many more spots listed in our Fun Things to Do in Sausalito page. Note: Because of their enhanced services we sought them out and Big Bus Tours is now a sponsor of OurSausalito.
History of the Record Plant in Sausalito
In 1972 a famous recording studio in New York and Los Angeles called The Record Plant founded its third location here in Sausalito. Later renamed The Plant Studios, the facility at 2200 Bridgeway closed in 2008 after almost four decades hosting artists from Andrea Bocelli to Metallica, and from Santana to Carrie Underwood.
Several different teams, foundations and local music fans are all trying to build alliances and raise funds to buy the semi-vacant building and preserve it in some form related to music and musicians.
In the meantime the building is for sale, and hosts occasional classes and musical performances. Located just down the street from the OurSausalito.com offices, the main studio area spends most of its time empty.
Half of the complex has been subdivided and repurposed as architectural offices, although the unique diagonal wooden siding to the buildings betrays their heritage as part of the Record Plant.
The Record Plant was both studio and luxury resort, with musicians who were recording here being housed on the property in suites custom-renovated for the tastes of each new arrival. Stories circulated that for Rick James‘ visits a waterbed was installed that filled the entire floor of a conference-room-turned-bedroom.
The beatiful inlaid-wood front doors, which remain in place, were created by local artist Dave Richards, who also custom-painted Janis Joplin’s Porsche and designed the (now thoughtfully preserved) murals and interior woodwork at The Trident.
The old Record Plant building still does offer an occasional surprise. I was driving back to my office from lunch a couple of years ago and saw Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, who just happened to be laughing and taking a stroll down Marinship Way. Audio equipment was being moved into the building, a sign that occasional recording or rehearsal activity still goes on there. I resisted the temptation to stop and ask them for an autograph, a courtesy I learned from a friend who is also a public figure.
Fleetwood Mac recorded Rumours here, which was released in 1977 and has sold over 40 million copies. On a recent trip to California Mick Fleetwood dropped by to visit the place where they became a super-band, and was horrified to find it shuttered. The YouTube video he recorded in support of its preservation is below, and you can scroll down to the bottom of the page for a TV news story from about the same time:
Record Plant Sausalito Discography
This is just a partial discography of albums that were recorded at the Plant Studios:
1973 Grateful Dead — Wake of the Flood; Bob Marley and the Wailers — LIVE at the Record Plant
1974 Joe Walsh — So What (Gold); Three Dog Night — Hard Labor (Gold); Eric Burdon — Sun Secrets
1975 Pure Prairie League — Two Lane Highway; Stephen Stills — Stills
1976 Stevie Wonder — Songs in the Key of Life (effects) (Platinum x 4, Grammy Award); Flo and Eddie — Moving Targets; New Riders of the Purple Sage — New Riders; Sammy Hagar — Sammy Hagar (Gold)
1977 Fleetwood Mac — Rumours (Platinum x 19); New Riders of the Purple Sage — Who Are Those Guys; Pablo Cruise — A Place in the Sun (Platinum)
1978 Dan Fogelberg — Twin Sons of Different Mothers (Platinum); Pablo Cruise — World’s Away (Platinum); Delbert McClinton — Second Wind; Prince — For You
1979 Jefferson Starship — Freedom at Point Zero (Gold); Van Morrison — Into the Music
1980 Maze with Frankie Beverly — Joy and Pain; Dan Fogelberg — Phoenix (Platinum x 2)
1981 Jefferson Starship — Modern Times (Gold); Bob Weir — Bobby and The Midnights; Rick James — Street Songs (Platinum)
1982 Van Morrison –: Beautiful Vision
1983 Huey Lewis and The News — Sports (Platinum x 7); Van Morrison — Inarticulate Speech of the Heart
1984 Jefferson Starship — Nuclear Furniture (Gold)
1985 Aretha Franklin — Who’s Zoomin’ Who (Platinum); Huey Lewis and The News — Power of Love (Gold); Heart — Heart (Platinum x 5); Starship — Knee Deep in the Hoopla (Platinum); John Fogerty — Centerfield (Platinum x 2)
1986 Aretha Franklin — Aretha (Platinum); Huey Lewis and The News — Fore! (Platinum x 3); Journey — Raised on Radio (Platinum x 2); Kenny G — Duo Tones (Platinum x 5)
1987 Sammy Hagar — I Never Said Goodbye
1989 Doobie Brothers — Cycles (Gold); Michael Bolton — Soul Provider (Platinum x 6)
1990 Mariah Carey — Mariah Carey (Platinum x 9); Tony! Toni! Toné! — The Revival (Platinum); Mother Love Bone — Apple
1991 Michael Bolton — Time, Love &Tenderness (Platinum x 8); Primus — Sailing the Seas of Cheese (Platinum); Doobie Brothers — Brotherhood; Harry Connick Jr. — Let Me Love You, It’s OK; Mariah Carey — Emotions (Platinum x 4); Peabo Bryson — Can You Stop the Rain? (Gold); Marky Mark and Funky Bunch — Music For the People (Platinum)
1992 Mariah Carey — Music Box (Platinum x 10); Carlos Santana — Milagro; Kenny G. — Breathless (Platinum x 12); Celine Dion — Celine Dion (Platinum x 2); SWV — It’s About Time (Platinum x 3); Tracy Chapman — Matters of the Heart
1993 Metallica — Live Sh!t: Binge and Purge (Platinum x 9); Joe Satriani — Time Machine; Carlos Santana — Sacred Fire – Live in South America (Gold); Primus — Pork Soda (Platinum); Van Morrison — Too Long in Exile
1994 Carlos Santana — Brothers; The Breeders — Last Splash (Platinum x 6); American Music Club –San Francisco; Luther Vandross — Songs (Platinum x 2); New Kids On the Block — Face the Music; 4 Non Blondes — Bigger, Better, Faster, More (Platinum)
1995 John Lee Hooker — Chill Out/Naked; Chris Isaak — Forever Blue (Platinum)
1996 Metallica — Load (Platinum x 4); John Lee Hooker — Don’t Look Back; Charles Brown — Honey Dripper; Rusted Root — Remember (Gold); Big Head Todd and The Monsters — Beautiful World
1997 Metallica — ReLoad (Platinum x 3, Grammy Award); G-3 — G-3; Faith No More — Album of the Year; Joe Satriani — Crystal Planet
1998 Santana — Supernatural (Platinum x 30, 8 Grammy Awards); Metallica — Garage, Inc. (Platinum x 5, Grammy Award); Too Short — Can’t Stay Away (Gold); E-40 — The Element of Surprise (Gold); Candlebox — Happy Pills; Primus — Rhinoplasty; Dave Matthews Band — Before These Crowded Streets
1999 Metallica — S & M (Platinum x 6, Grammy Award); Guster — Lost and Gone Forever; Kenny Wayne Shepherd — Live On; Third Eye Blind — Blue (Platinum x 2); The Deftones — White Pony (Platinum x 2, Grammy Award)
2000 Blues Traveler — Bridge; Oleander — Unwind; Stabbing Westward — Stabbing Westward; Too Short — You Nasty (Gold)
2001 Zucchero — Shake; DJ Shadow — The Private Press; Oysterhead — The Grand Pecking Order
2002 Tracy Chapman — Let It Rain; Joe Satriani — Strange Beautiful Music; Dave Matthews Band — Busted Stuff (Platinum x 2)
2003 The Donnas — Spend The Night; Train — My Private Nation (Platinum)
2004 Andrea Bocelli — Andrea (Gold); Sonia Dada — Test Pattern; Von Bondies — C’mon C’mon
2005 Carrie Underwood — Some Hearts (Platinum x 3); Mudvayne — Lost and Found (Gold)
2006 Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy — Adieu, False Heart; Michael Franti — YellFire!; Charlie Musselwhite — Delta Hardware
2007 Noisettes — What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?; Negramaro – La Finestra (#1 in Italy)
2008 Journey — Revelation; Ligabue — Primo Tempo (#1 in Italy)
2009 The Fray — The Fray (recorded in 2008)