7709 Skyhill Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Priced At $900,000
Skyhill Studios: Where Rock Royalty Recorded
Oklahoma-native son LEON RUSSELLÂ became an in-demand 1960s Los Angeles â€œsession musicianâ€ who quickly made the jump to rock-star status later in the decade. A businessman as well, he formed his own record label, built three recording studiosâ€”one in Los Angeles at his home at 7709 Skyhill Driveâ€”and later, two in Oklahoma, to write, record, and produce for himself and other artists.
â€œSkyhill Studios,â€ which he built in the summer of 1965 inside his Hollywood Hills home at 7709 Skyhill Dr., was inspired by the home recording studios heâ€™d seen and worked in at the homes of Ernie Kovacs, Gary S. Paxton, and Les Paul. Russell hired J.J. Cale (who later wrote the classic rock hits â€œCocaineâ€ and â€œAfter Midnightâ€) as his in-home studio manager. Russellâ€”with help from half the Beatles and nearly all of the Rolling Stonesâ€”recorded most of his first solo album at Skyhill. Also appearing on the record were rock giants Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood.
Hits piled-up for Russell; some he recorded himself, like â€œTight Ropeâ€ (his biggest single from his second solo album, â€œCarneyâ€), â€œA Song for You,â€ and â€œStranger in a Strange Land,â€ and others he penned, like â€œSuper Star,â€ were made famous other artists, like The Carpenters, â€œMasqueradeâ€ which was performed by George Benson, and â€œDelta Ladyâ€ which was sung by Joe Cocker.
Evidence of the recording activity at Skyhill included double-walls, sound-proofing, and elaborate electrical wiring. The house is, to this day, a 2,892 sq.ft. 4BR/3BA two-story home, and different instruments were reportedly set-up in various places, i.e., drums in the den, vocals upstairs in a bedroom, and keyboards in the living room. An upstairs bathroom was the reverb chamber. Another bedroom served as a control room. Whereâ€”and whenâ€”anybody slept is a good guess. J.J. Cale said in a 1982 interview with Rolling Stone magazine that the first legitimate session at Skyhill Studios took place in August of 1965 for country legend Glen Campbell, and that â€œthe neighbors thought the Hellâ€™s Angels lived at Skyhill because of all the cars, motorcycles, and loud music at all hours of the day and night.â€
Ultimately Russell removed his studio equipment from Skyhill and shipped it to Oklahoma when he relocated back to Tulsa. In December of 1972, Leon sold 7709 Skyhill to a close friend and business associate, Diane Sullivan, in whose Trust the house is currently held.