Pythian Temple studio

Manhattan – Upper West Side

Pythian Temple studio

135 W 70th St (bet. Amsterdam and Columbus Aves.)
Manhattan, NY 10023


The Pythian Temple was erected in 1927 as a sumptuous meeting place for the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization. In the early 1940s, Decca Records transformed the Temple’s huge main auditorium, with its magnificent domed ceiling, into a recording studio that was used by Billie Holiday, Coleman Hawkins, Louis Jordan and Sammy Davis Jr., among many others. Milt Gabler directed many of these dates, but the renowned producer made his most historic Pythian Temple recording on April 12, 1954, when Bill Haley and His Comets cut “Rock Around the Clock” in the last 10 minutes of their first session for Decca. After it was selected as the theme song for the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle, “Rock Around the Clock” shot to the top of the Billboard chart and became the first international rock-and-roll hit. Other visitors to Pythian Temple included Jackie Wilson, who cut his breakthrough hit “Reet Petite” in 1957, and Buddy Holly, whose last studio session took place there on October 21, 1958.

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