San Francisco’s Hyde Street Studios has been around since 1969, starting out as a recording and production studio. Now, the jewel of the Tenderloin is officially a Legacy Business. It’ll soon get a bronze plaque along its front entrance boasting the honor.
San Francisco District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney nominated the business for the honor. Next, he says he wants to make it a historic landmark.
What do 2pac, Green Day, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, & Creedence Clearwater all have in common? They all recorded at Hyde Street Studios, successor to Wally Heider Recording.— Matt Haney (@MattHaneySF) December 21, 2021
I nominated them as a Legacy Business for their 30+ years, we just made it official! pic.twitter.com/Voz2Y1HSBr
When the spot first opened, it was called Wally Heider Recording. As Hoodline reported back in 2015, the studio’s namesake was a recording engineer for CBS who turned a 20th Century Fox soundstage into his own new recording studio. His goal was for Bay Area artists to be able to record right in their own backyards, rather than having to travel to Los Angeles or New York to find a good sound.
Singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, and producer Michael Ward took the place over with his partners in 1980.
The City describes Legacy Businesses as “longstanding community-serving businesses that are recognized as valuable cultural assets to San Francisco by the Office of Small Business.” To earn recognition, the business has to meet the following standards:
- It must have operated in San Francisco for a minimum of 30 years
- Must have contributed to the history or identity of a particular neighborhood or community
- Must be committed to maintaining the physical features and/or traditions that define the business itself
Hyde Street firmly meets all those requirements. Recording studios A and D remain open. One of its owner’s proudest accomplishments is that the facility remains unchanged, despite occasional updates. That allows the studio to maintain the same sound it did back in the 70s, while also featuring specialty features like an echo chamber, tape vault, and plate and spring verbs.
Hyde Street Studios has had countless legends walk through its doors, including Green Day, Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Kanye West, One Republic, Willie Nelson, and more. Hyde Street offers its services to other notable artists outside of the world of music, too, with celebrities like David Crosby showing up to record podcasts.
The news of its Legacy status is especially notable with the timing. The studio had to close for a bit during the pandemic and was at risk of going under. The owner even had to start up a GoFundMe campaign just to keep the lights on. But the studio reopened triumphantly, and will now have an extra honor to post up along its famed wall of records.
You can browse San Francisco's other Legacy Businesses here.