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Sound 80 was the main professional recording facility in Minneapolis. Established by sound engineer Tom Jung and musician Herb Pilhofer in 1969, the studio was located at 2709 East 25th Street in south Minneapolis and comprised of three recording suites. It soon became the go-to place of the top musicians of Minneapolis; Bob Dylan recorded at Sound 80 in 1975, as did Cat Stevens in 1977 and was where Lipps Inc recorded its breakthrough track Funkytown in 1979. But the studio is perhaps best known as the place Prince cut his demo tape, which wowed Warner Bros. and launched his career.
Prince’s first manager, Owen Husney, booked studio time at Sound 80, and renowned local sound technician David Rivkin. Between the winter of 1976 through to the spring of 1977, the pair laid down six tracks at Sound 80 to create the demo reel which Husney would take to LA for his round of meetings with the major labels which would ultimately see Prince signed to Warner Brothers on 25 June 1977.
The tracks Prince and Rivkin captured on the studio’s 16-track recorder included, My Love Is Forever, Baby, Just As Long As We’re Together, Soft And Wet, Jelly Jam and We’ll Make It Through The Storm. These were shortlisted to three songs, which Husney included in the press kit and submitted to Warner: Just As Long As We’re Together, My Love Is Forever and Jelly Jam. That autumn, four of the tracks were re-recorded and released on Prince’s debut album For You.
Prince returned to Studio 80 in the summer of 1978 to record with mentor Pepe Wille, as a session musician for his band 94 East, recording the tracks Just Another Sucker, Dance To The Music Of The World and Lovin’ Cup. Pepe released these recordings in 1986 under an independent label, as a collection named Minneapolis Genius.
Sound 80’s building at East 25th Street was sold in 1990 and became an audio research facility for Orfield Laboratories. However, Sound 80 was recognised in 2020 when entered into the National Register of Historic Places.
Albums recorded at Sound 80
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