Something of an oddity and rarity this weekend. Nat King Cole with a demo of a song he co-wrote with Don George and recorded at Studio & Artists Recorders in Hollywood around 1948. Unfortunately, no exact dates – just guessing, looking at the label.
I originally posted this several years ago via another site I was affiliated with. It has since disappeared (the site and its contents) and I had always been meaning to repost it, in better sound than what was available at the time. But, like so much that goes on, you get distracted, overwhelmed and good intentions wind up on the side burner until someone reminds you that you forgot.
So, as promised is that demo featuring Nat King Cole, singing and at the piano, “I Wake Up Screaming After Dreaming Of You”.
The demo, which predates the Capitol Recording session, is different from the finished product – this is rough and with no frills. As was often the case, and with studios like this, they were ideal spots for artists and publishers looking to record a demo for consideration by labels or for publishers looking to sell a song to another artist.
Studio & Artists was a hotbed of demo recordings as well as off-the-air recordings for clients during the heyday of Radio. The Studio was located less than a block away from the famed CBS Broadcasting Studios in Hollywood and about three blocks east of the NBC Studios on the corner of Sunset and Vine.
Like a lot of the small studios in business in Hollywood at the time, Studio & Artists was centrally located to all the Network Operations. And some studios, like the famous Radio Recorders, were going 24 hours a day between sessions with such notables as Elvis Presley and recording daily Soap Operas off the Network line for clients and Advertising agencies.
When Radio became a thing of the past, so did the studios. And even though Radio Recorders was still “kind of ” in business, but only as a location for filming, it has since been destroyed by a fire, the other studios closed up shop and tossed their goods. With gems like this relegated to the dumpster, it begs the question of what else was lost and what else is still lurking around.
But for now, here’s a sample of what got rescued. Nat “King” Cole at his always best.