Edward Germano, owner of the Hit Factory recording complex in New York and Miami, died February 6 in New York following a long illness.
A colorful figure who prided himself on his relationships with his artist clients, Germano was one of the pioneers of the modern studio industry — a trend-setter who built the most lavish and uncompromising rooms in the world.
“He turned the recording studio side of the business into a real industry,” said Troy Germano, Ed’s son, and CEO of the Hit Factory. “He made something that had been a hobby into a real business. That legacy will live on.”
Troy Germano attributes his father’s success in part to his sensitivity to the artistic process.
“He really knew what it was like to offer the right kind of creative environment when people came into the studio,” he said. “That goes back to his being a singer and a producer.”
Ed Germano’s career in the music business began in 1961, when he made the rounds in the New York circuit as a singer who had brief contracts with RCA, Decca and ABC Dunhill. He soon migrated to the production side and, in 1970, joined RCA as a staff producer/A&R.
In the early ‘70s, he helped negotiate a buyout of the Record Plant from Warner Seven Arts and joined the studio as one of its 17 partners. Then, on March 6, 1975, he purchased the Hit Factory from original owner Jerry Ragavoy.
Under Ragavoy, the Hit Factory enjoyed major credits and a reputation for sonic excellence. However, Germano elevated the studio to a multiroom powerhouse on an unprecedented scale.
Germano’s first client as the owner of the Hit Factory was Stevie Wonder, who initially booked a three-day session but stayed for nine months and recorded his magnum opus, Songs in the Key of Life. The studio’s streak continued through the late ‘70s and ‘80s, with credits such as John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy, the Rolling Stones’ Emotional Rescue, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. and Paul Simon’s Graceland.
In 1989, the Germano family entered into a joint venture with Sony to form the Hit Factory London, which operated until 1993. Also in 1993, the Hit Factory opened a 100,000-square-foot recording complex at 421 West 54th St., which became its flagship location. (Recently, the studio consolidated all of its New York operations in the building, which the Germanos own.)
In 1999, the Hit Factory made news by purchasing the storied Criteria Recording Studios in Miami. The Hit Factory retained most of the staff and the vintage flavor of the Miami rooms, but undertook a remodeling that brought the facility in-line, technologically and design-wise, with the company’s New York rooms.
Commenting on his father’s uncompromising commitment to quality, Troy says, “Nothing was ever the best; it could always be made better.”
Ed Germano is survived by his wife, Janice; his son, Troy, and daughter, Danielle; and two grandchildren: Jacob and Nicolas.
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