The arc of American music can be seen by the sounds that came out of Sound 80 recording studio. This anonymous, ivy covered one-story structure in the Seward neighborhood is now a research lab.  But it once housed a music laboratory that produced an iconic 70s songbook.  Prince produced elements of his record deal clinching demo in Sound 80.  Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks had tracks recorded in this studio.  And the Suicide Commandos recorded in the space… often without clothes as they proudly recall.

The Sound 80 staff strike a groovy pose for this publicity photo

But the star of Sound 80 was founder and composer Herb Pilhofer. His vision, ambition and artistry gave Sound 80 it’s luster. His team, including innovative engineers, pioneered new approaches and technologies like digital recording. And Herb’s skills paid the bills, as his advertising jingles generated revenue. But like all decades, all good things come to an end and the dawn of the 80s, saw the end of Sound 80’s good run.  But not before it gave us the eternal, disco earworm Funky Town!


Materials Provided by the Minnesota Historical Society


This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.