Five Songs You’d Never Guess Were Recorded in Miami

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Music from Miami has a certain stigma. People think there’s got to be a Latin beat or some booty thumpin’ bass if a song was created in the 305. But the historic Criteria Studios which still records music as The Hit Factory Criteria Miami has housed some legendary artists who have crafted some unforgettable tunes. While locals from 2 Live Crew to Jaco Pastorius to Rick Ross have also used the studio, here are five classic songs that you’d never guess were recorded at 1755 NE 149th St. Miami.

R.E.M.- “Everybody Hurts”

The Athens college rock band settled into Criteria from May 4-22, 1992, not just to record the ballad “Everybody Hurts,” but several other tracks from their Automatic for the People record including “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite,” “Try Not To Breathe,” & “Nightswimming”.

Derek and the Dominos- “Layla”

Eric Clapton recorded a ton of his ’70’s solo material at Criteria, going so far as to name one of his records 461 Ocean Boulevard, after his South Florida home. “Layla” is probably his best known and most beloved, recorded in September 1970 with the guitar help of Duane Allman, after Clapton saw The Allman Brothers play a show.

James Brown – “I Got You (I Feel Good)”

The Godfather of Soul had Criteria’s first ever gold record with this brass heavy classic. Recorded in May 1965, as part of his album Out of Sight, “I Got You (I Feel Good)” hit #3 on the pop charts, a career high for the hardest working man in show business.

The Eagles- “Hotel California”

The band tried to record this Big Lebowski hated ditty twice at the Record Plant in Los Angeles, but perfected it at Criteria where numerous takes were spliced together to create the released version. It shows what a destination Criteria was in 1976, that The Eagles had to stop recording several times because Black Sabbath were being too loud recording Technical Ecstasy in an adjacent studio.

Grand Funk Railroad- “We’re an American Band”

The Michigan quintet recorded the Middle America anthem at the tip of the Caribbean over four days from June 12–15, 1973. Rock & roll legend in his own right Todd Rundgren produced the whole shebang. The song went to #1 and to this day can still be heard at just about any monster truck rally you ever attend.

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David Rolland

David Rolland edits The Jitney blog. He is the author of the novel The End of the Century.