"I paid for a couple of those floors," said MC Hammer looking up towards the needle atop Hollywood's Capitol Records Tower on the night of its 75th anniversary celebration. "Nat King Cole took care of the first floor, the Beatles bought a few, and Katy Perry, she's probably responsible for the penthouse."
The "U Can't Touch This" rapper was exaggerating, of course (although his selling 50 million albums certainly contributed to the company's bottom line), but the sentiment rang true: there are few artists in music history who can claim such a lasting bond with a building -- yet that's exactly what Perry, Neil Diamond, Beck, One Direction's Niall Horan, 5 Seconds of Summer, Bob Seger, Halsey, Tori Kelly and Ryan Adams all had in common as they made their way to 1750 Vine on a Tuesday night.
The purpose of the event was to reveal the new Taschen book, 75 Years of Capitol Records -- a doorstopper in the shape of a vinyl album cover -- which was meticulously curated by Capitol Music Group (CMG) chairman Steve Barnett. As an accompaniment, designers transformed famed recording Studios A & B inside the landmark tower into a museum-style space featuring a photo retrospective of Capitol stars through the decades, among them Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Nat King Cole, Bonnie Raitt, Glen Campbell, the Kingston Trio, Duran Duran, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys and dozens of others.
Approximately 1,000 guests were on hand to salute the record label founded by Oscar-winning composer Johnny Mercer in 1942. The party spilled into a tented outdoor space, which was also set up as a striking photo gallery - this one featuring stars such as Perry, Kelly, Sam Smith, Disclosure and 5 Seconds of Summer.
"It takes your breath away," said Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, parent company to Capitol since 2012. "The artists who are on these posters and who have recorded in these studios and sung into these mics -- that is history, that is culture and it epitomizes America."
Kelly said her first moments three years ago inside the building "were huge," adding "There's so much history here. Legends have been here. My first meeting here, I was geeking out."
Similarly, Halsey called her addition to the Capitol roster "massive."
Diamond, one of the best-selling recording artists of all time with more than 120 million albums sold, joined Capitol in 2014. "It meant I was now going to be with the biggest record company in the world," said Diamond, who recently released a holiday record, Acoustic Christmas. "It's amazing just being part of that group -- The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, Nat King Cole, the Kingston trio, and now… Neil Diamond! This is a very special night."
Earlier in the day, Capitol's permanent place among the stars of the Hollywood Walk of Fame was cemented (Barnett, Grainge and Perry were on hand for the dedication) while much of the night saw the CMG crew -- among them: lieutenants Michelle Jubelirer, Don Was, Ashley Newton, Ambrosia Healy and Harvest Records' Jacqueline Saturn and Piero Giramonti -- greeting well-wishers from every corner of the industry.
Among the industry executives in attendance were veteran music attorneys Donald Passman, Ken Meiselas, Eric Greenspan, Peter Paterno and Jill Berliner; Managers Brandon Creed (Mark Ronson, Troye Sivan), Jeffrey Azoff (Harry Styles, Meghan Trainor) and Steve Moyer; ABC executive Scott Igoe; iHeartRadio's John Sykes; Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich; agents Sarah Newkirk Simon and Kirk Sommer (WME) and Rick Roskin and Allison McGregor (CAA); Spotify's Troy Carter; Maverick's Greg Thompson; and Irving Azoff.
For some, like Beck and wife Marissa Ribisi, Mrs. Katie McNeil Diamond and producer Eric Valentine and girlfriend Grace Potter, it was date night, though the conversation steering to work -- or the election -- was inevitable.
The label's anniversary activities also include The Capitol Records 75th Anniversary Collection, which features 75 albums released on vinyl, spanning all eras and genres. Corporate partners aligned with Capitol for the occasion include American Airlines and Crate & Barrel.