Coordinates: 40°45′33″N73°59′03″W / 40.7592°N 73.9843°W
New York City,
Unique Recording Studios was a five-room recording studio operating near Times Square in New York City from 1978 until 2004. Founders and co-owners Bobby Nathan and Joanne Georgio-Nathan installed the first Otari 24-track tape deck in New York. The studio was known for its extensive collection of synthesizers, which attracted Steve Winwood, who jammed for many hours in the process of creating his multi-Grammy winning album Back in the High Life (1986) at Unique.  
Bobby Nathan was born in New York, and learned to play guitar at age 11. In 1965 in his late teens, he played clubs on the Jersey Shore with his band the Pipers. In September 1973, Bobby met Joanne Georgio and they formed a band called Uptown, playing the Tri-State area, shifting to steady gigs in New York City. Georgio and Nathan married. In 1976 Uptown broke up and the Nathans formed another band called Strawberry, playing disco clubs, and backing disco singers such as Gloria Gaynor.  In 1977 Strawberry became a trio with a drummer supporting Joanne and Bobby both on keyboards. In 1978 while playing at Disco Sally's on 55th and Seventh Ave, the Nathans asked former Gaynor guitarist John Fetter to join the band, and Strawberry was renamed Unique "The Disco Experience". It was during these touring years that the Nathans began hauling around a larger-than-usual number of synthesizers for both to play, which would become a signature attraction of Unique Recording Studios. 
Unique Recording Studios started as a one-room rehearsal studio with a Tascam 8-track recorder in 1978, catering to new wave and hip hop artists. Early customers included Polyrock and Bill Laswell. In May 1980, the facility quickly expanded to 16 tracks and a 28 Input Sound Workshop series 30 console. In September 1980, Ian McDonald co-founder of Foreigner came to Unique to record a 16 track solo project. By November 1980, McDonald ran out of tracks and became the catalyst for the studios jump to 24 tracks with the first Otari MTR-90 tape recorder. In 1981 the facility upgraded with a 36 input MCI JH-600 series mixer with automation  and Tommy Boy Records began asking for lengthy bookings to accommodate their artists, especially Planet Patrol. Planet Patrol's Arthur Baker also started to produce other artists, and his bookings eventually required a second room. Into this larger space Baker brought New Edition, which recorded Candy Girl at Unique during 1982, with Baker and Maurice Starr co-producing.  Candy Girl reached number 90 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 33 weeks. 
The studio complex was located in Manhattan just off of Times Square in the top three floors of the Cecil B. DeMille Building,  adjacent to music-store row. The business was owned and operated by husband and wife team Joanne and Bobby Nathan.  The Nathans described themselves as "the pioneers in drum machines, samplers and digital recording on personal computers. 
Unique Recording Studios is credited for opening the first MIDI recording room in 1983 called "Midi City" which was later named Studio C, located upstairs from Studio A.  The studio could hold 30 synthesizers, with room left over for sequencers and interfaces. Wall jacks made wiring easier and neater.  The innovative concept gained Unique a nomination for the 1985 TEC Awards in the recording studio category. 
The studio was well known for its large collection of synthesizers and drum machines. Unique was one of the first studios to own a Polymoog synth, as well as the Minimoog, the ARP 2600, the Oberheim OB-X and 8-voice, and a Prophet 5. When Steve Winwood showed up in 1985 to get further inspiration for his project Back in the High Life , he booked all-nighters at Unique and played every synth, jamming with any other studio clients who were willing to join.  Back in the High Life was recorded largely at Unique by Tom Lord-Alge with assistance from his brother Chris; Tom remembers taking an impromptu drum break played between songs by drummer John Robinson, and moving it to the beginning of "Higher Love", which satisfied producer Russ Titelman as the album opener.  Titelman recalls that Winwood had been recording the album for a year at other studios but had reached a point where he needed more inspiration. Titelman brought the project to Unique for the variety of MIDI-connected synthesizers and for the familiar mixer – a Solid State Logic SL 4000E identical to the one at Winwood's home studio. Titelman obtained a huge drum sound by recording Robinson's drum kit in the center of Unique's main studio, surrounded by eight extra ambient microphones.  The song "Higher Love" won a Grammy Award for the best single record of 1987, and the album won a Grammy for the best engineered album, honoring Tom's mix: his first time as head engineer.  Chris recalled that the Lord-Alge brothers' status at Unique was raised after the success of the album: "Even though I'd had hits [before Unique], Bobby and Joanne Nathan insisted that I start out as an assistant, and they worked me really hard. But once Back in the High Life hit, it made it a lot easier for Tommy and me to do no wrong at Unique." 
In early 1986 before Back in the High Life was released, Unique reported to Billboard that they had renovated their main studio with a larger control room so that more outboard processing gear and MIDI synthesizer modules could be placed next to the SSL 4000E 48-channel mixer with Total Recall automation. Recording units included two linked Otari MTR-90 Mk II decks each with 24 tracks, and one Studer A-80 half-inch 2-track for stereo mastering. Video decks were installed to feed a video projector so that audio-for-television projects could be accommodated. The studio also owned a 32-channel Neve 8068 mixer that had been in Electric Lady Studios.  Unique was nominated a second time for a TEC Award in 1987. 
Unique kept pace with technology developments by adding Pro Tools digital audio workstation (DAW) rigs to their studios, connected to 24-channel interfaces made by Digidesign and Focusrite. A total of five DAWs was installed by 1998. 
After 2001, all of the music industry in New York City was in a slowdown. The vintage Neve console was removed from Studio D in 2002 for sale to Glenwood Place, a new studio fitting out in Burbank, California. Nathan said that a vintage Neve in the tracking room was more of a trend in California. Studio D continued as a Pro Tools rig with Neve and API preamps.  In 2003, Unique introduced a suite of plugins for Pro Tools, called Unique Recording Software (URS). The plugins offered emulation of classic analog equalizers.  Through the URS plugin package, Unique picked up a third nomination for a TEC Award in the Software and Signal Processing category in 2004.  However, this industry honor was not enough to keep the business afloat, and Unique was shuttered in June 2004. Major clients were no longer renting time on a Pro Tools rig, they were instead buying one for the artist's home studio. 
The URS plugin products continued to be developed and sold after Unique closed. In 2008, a plugin named Classic Console Strip Pro was nominated for a TEC Award. 
|Artist||Album||Year released||Billboard 200||Top R&B/Hip-Hop||Certification|
|Material||Discourse - Single||1980|
|Peter Tork & the New Monks||(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone ||1981|
|Johnny Copeland||Make My Home Where I Hang My Hat||1982|
|Man Parrish||Hip Hop Be Bop (Don't Stop)||1982|
|Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force||Renegades of Funk ||1983|
|Hashim||"Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)" ||1983|
|Johnny Copeland||Texas Twister ||1983|
|Jonzun Crew||Lost In Space||1983|
|Malcolm X||No Sell Out ||1983|
|MC G.L.O.B.E. & Whiz Kid||"Play That Beat Mr. DJ" ||1983|
|New Edition||Candy Girl ||1983||90||1|
|Planet Patrol||Planet Patrol||1983||64|
|Shannon||Let The Music Play||1983||32||11||Gold|
|Afrika Bambaataa & James Brown||Unity||1983||87|
|Billy Ocean||Suddenly||1984||9||9||2× Platinum|
|Force MDs||"Love Letters"||1984||185||28|
|La Toya Jackson||Heart Don't Lie ||1984||149||65|
|Melba Moore||Read My Lips ||1984||130||24|
|Pet Shop Boys||West End Girls||1984|
|Cheap Trick||Standing on the Edge ||1985||35|
|Force MDs||Chillin' ||1985||69||14|
|Freddie Jackson||Rock Me Tonight ||1985||10||1||Platinum|
|James Brown||Rocky IV (soundtrack)Living In America ||1985||10||10||Platinum|
|Michael Bolton||The Hunger||1985||46||2× Platinum|
|Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force||Planet Rock: The Album||1986|
|Bob James & David Sanborn||Double Vision||1986||50||16||Platinum|
|Carly Simon||Coming Around Again ||1986||25||Platinum|
|Chaka Kahn||Destiny ||1986||67||24|
|Don Johnson||Heatbeat ||1986||17||Gold|
|Pointer Sisters||Hot Together ||1986||48||39|
|Pretty In Pink Soundtrack||Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark If You Leave (song)||1986||5||Gold|
|Steve Winwood||Back in the High Life ||1986||3||3× Platinum|
|Stephanie Mills||If I Were Your Woman ||1987||30||1||Gold|
|The Fat Boys||Crushin'||1987||8||4||Platinum|
|Al B Sure||In Effect Mode ||1987||20||1||2× Platinum|
|Ramones||Halfway to Sanity ||1987||172|
|Information Society||Information Society (album)||1988||25||78||Gold|
|Run DMC||Tougher Than Leather ||1988||9||2||Platinum|
|Tommy Page||Tommy Page ||1988||166|
|Heavy D & The Boys||Big Tyme ||1989||19||1||Platinum|
|Public Enemy||Do the Right Thing Fight the Power ||1989||68||11||Gold Single|
|Keith Sweat||Keep It Comin'||1991||20||1||Platinum|
|Kool Moe Dee||Knowledge Is King||1989||25||2||Gold|
|Nine Inch Nails||Pretty Hate Machine ||1989||75||3× Platinum |
|Al B. Sure!||Private Times...and the Whole 9! ||1990||20||4||Gold|
|Madonna||The Immaculate Collection Justify My Love ||1990||2||42||Diamond|
|Celine Dion||Unison ||1990||74||Platinum|
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||Coming Out of There Shells ||1990||Platinum|
|Color Me Badd||C.M.B. I Wanna Sex You Up ||1991||3||1||3× Platinum|
|Kool Moe Dee||Funke, Funke Wisdom ||1991||72||19||Gold|
|Heavy D & The Boys||Peaceful Journey ||1991||21||5||Platinum|
|Naughty By Nature||Juice (soundtrack) Uptown Anthem ||1991||17||3||Gold|
|Naughty By Nature||Naughty By Nature(album) O.P.P. ||1991||16||10||Platinum|
|Miles Davis||Doo-Bop ||1992||1 Jazz||25|
|Naughty By Nature||19 Naughty III ||1992||3||1||Platinum|
|SWV||It's About Time ||1992||8||2||3× Platinum|
|LL Cool J||14 Shots to the Dome ||1993||5||1||Gold|
|Queen Latifah||Black Reign ||1992||60||15||Gold|
|2Pac||Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z... ||1993||24||4||Platinum|
|Aaron Hall||The Truth ||1993||47||7||Platinum|
|Poetic Justice Usher||Call Me a Mack ||1993||23||19||Gold|
|Run-DMC||Down with the King ||1993||7||1||Gold|
|2Pac||Me Against The World ||1994||1||1||2× Platinum|
|Anita Baker||Rhythm of Love ||1994||3||1||2× Platinum|
|Nas||Illmatic ||1994||12||2||2× Platinum|
|Junior M.A.F.I.A.||Conspiracy ||1993||8||2||Gold|
|Mobb Deep||The Infamous ||1995||18||10||Gold|
|Madeleine Peyroux||Dreamland ||1996|
|Lil Kim||Hard Core ||1996||11||3||2× Platinum|
|Capone-N-Noreaga||The War Report ||1997||21||4||Gold|
|KRS-One||I Got Next ||1997||3||2||Gold|
|Big Pun||Capital Punishment||1998||5||1||Platinum|
|Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star||Black Star ||1998||58||13|
|Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz||Make It Reign Deja Vu ||1998||38||8||Platinum single|
|Mary J. Blige||Mary "Give Me You"||1999||2||1||2× Platinum|
|Ruff Ryders||Ryde or Die Vol. 1||1999||1||1||Platinum|
|Nelly||Country Grammar ||2000||1||1||Diamond|
|Pink||Can't Take Me Home ||2000||26||23||2× Platinum|
|Alicia Keys||Songs in A Minor ||2001||1||1||6× Platinum|
|Brian McKnight||Superhero Groovin' Tonight (featuring St. Lunatics) ||2000||7||4||Gold|
|St Lunatics||Free City ||2001||3||1||Platinum|
|DMX||Cradle 2 the Grave Soundtrack "X Gon' Give it to Ya"||2003||6||3||Gold|
|Joe Bonamassa||Blues Deluxe ||2003||8 Blues|
|Joe Bonamassa||Had to Cry Today ||2004||5 Blues|
Grammy Awards earned by artists for projects that passed through Unique. 
|1985||Billy Ocean||Suddenly Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)||Grammy||Best Male R&B Vocal Performance||Won|
|1985||Shannon (American singer)||Let The Music Play||Grammy||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|1985||Melba Moore||Read My Lips||Grammy||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||Won|
|1986||Freddie Jackson||Rock Me Tonight||Grammy||Best New Artist||Won|
|1986||Jimmy Cliff||Cliff Hanger||Grammy||Best Reggae Album||Won|
|1986||Steve Winwood||Back in the High Life||Grammy||Album of The Year||Nominated|
|1986||Steve Winwood||Back in the High Life Higher Love||Grammy||Song of The Year||Nominated|
|1986||Steve Winwood||Steve Winwood & Russ Titelman||Grammy||Non- Classicical Producer of The Year||Nominated|
|1986||Steve Winwood||Back in the High Life||Grammy||Record of The Year||Won|
|1986||Steve Winwood||Back in the High Life Higher Love||Grammy||Best Pop Performance – Male||Won|
|1986||Steve Winwood||Back in the High Life||Grammy||Best Engineered Non- Classical Album||Won|
|1987||Bob James and David Sanborn||Double Vision Since I Fell For You||Grammy||Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male||Won|
|1987||Bob James and David Sanborn||Double Vision (Bob James and David Sanborn album)||Grammy||Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Vocal or Instrumental||Won|
|1987||James Brown||Rocky IV (soundtrack) Living in America||Grammy||Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male||Won|
|1988||Joe Cocker||Unchain My Heart||Grammy||Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance, Male||Nominated|
|1988||Joe Cocker||Unchain My Heart||Grammy||Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|1987||Anita Baker||Compositions||Grammy||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||Won|
|1990||Public Enemy||Fight the Power||Grammy||Best Rap Performance||Nominated|
|1991||Naughty By Nature||Naughty by Nature (album) O.P.P.||Grammy||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|1992||Color Me Badd||C.M.B. I Wanna Sex You Up||Grammy||Best New Artist||Nominated|
|1992||Color Me Badd||C.M.B. I Wanna Sex You Up||Grammy||Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal||Nominated|
|1992||Naughty By Nature||Naughty by Nature (album) O.P.P.||AMA||Favorite New Artist – Rap / Hip-Hop||Won|
|1993||Inner Circle (band)||Bad Boys||Grammy||Best Reggae Album by a Duo or Group||Won|
|1993||Miles Davis||Doo-Bop||Grammy||Best R&B Instrumental Performance||Won|
|1993||Naughty By Nature||19 Naughty III Hip Hop Hooray||Grammy||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|1994||Toni Braxton||Toni Braxton (album)||Grammy||Best New Artist||Won|
|1994||Toni Braxton||Toni Braxton (album)||Grammy||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||Won|
|1994||Toni Braxton||Toni Braxton (album)||AMA||Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist||Won|
|1994||Toni Braxton||Toni Braxton (album)||AMA||Favorite New Adult Contemporary Artist||Won|
|1994||Toni Braxton||Toni Braxton (album)||AMA||Favorite Soul/R&B Album||Won|
|1995||Anita Baker||I Apologize||Grammy||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||Won|
|1996||Naughty By Nature||Poverty's Paradise||Grammy||Best Rap Album||Won|
|1996||Naughty By Nature||Feel Me Flow||Grammy||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|1996||SWV||It's About Time||Grammy||Best New Artist||Nominated|
|1997||Get Shorty||Soundtrack||Grammy||Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television||Nominated|
|1999||Big Pun||Capital Punishment||Grammy||Best Rap Album||Nominated|
|1999||Ruff Ryders||Ryde or Die Vol.1 Ruff Ryders' Anthem||MTV VA||Best Rap Video||Nominated|
|2001||Nelly||Country Grammar||Grammy||Best Rap Album||Nominated|
|2001||Nelly||Country Grammar||Grammy||Best Rap Solo Performance||Nominated|
|2001||Pink||Can't Take Me Home||AMA||Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist||Nominated|
|2002||Alicia Keys||Songs in A Minor Fallin' (Alicia Keys song)||Grammy||Song of the Year||Won|
|2002||Alicia Keys||Songs in A Minor Fallin' (Alicia Keys song)||Grammy||Best R&B Song||Won|
|2002||Alicia Keys||Songs in A Minor Fallin' (Alicia Keys song)||Grammy||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||Won|
|2002||Alicia Keys||Songs in A Minor||Grammy||Best New Artist||Won|
|2002||Alicia Keys||Songs in A Minor||Grammy||Best R&B Album||Won|
|2002||Nelly||Country Grammar Ride wit Me||Grammy||Best Rap Solo Performance||Won|
Clapton Chronicles: The Best of Eric Clapton is a compilation album by English guitarist Eric Clapton featuring his hits from the 1980s and 1990s. The album was released on 12 October 1999 by the Duck / Reprise Records label. Two new songs are included on the disc, "Blue Eyes Blue" which was previously released as a single and "(I) Get Lost" which Clapton wrote for the soundtrack to the film The Story of Us.
"Higher Love" is a 1986 song by English singer Steve Winwood. It was the first single released from his fourth solo LP, Back in the High Life (1986). It was written by Winwood and Will Jennings and produced by Russ Titelman and Winwood. The female vocals on the song were performed by Chaka Khan, who also appeared in the music video.
Behind the Sun is the ninth solo studio album by Eric Clapton, released on 11 March 1985 by Duck Records / Warner Bros. Records. It is Clapton's first collaborative project with Phil Collins who co-produced the album and played on some of the tracks. While recording the album Clapton temporarily split with his wife.
Crossroads is a 1988 music collection box set of the work of Eric Clapton released by Polydor Records. The set includes his work with the Yardbirds, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends and Derek and the Dominos, as well as his solo career.
"Change the World" is a song written by Tommy Sims, Gordon Kennedy, and Wayne Kirkpatrick and recorded by country music artist Wynonna Judd. A cover version was recorded by English singer Eric Clapton for the soundtrack of the 1996 film Phenomenon. Clapton's version was produced by R&B record producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds.
Rockabilly Blues is the 64th album by American country singer Johnny Cash, released on Columbia Records in 1980. Highlights include "Cold Lonesome Morning," which had some minor chart success, "Without Love," by his son-in-law, Nick Lowe, and a cover of the witty "The Twentieth Century Is Almost Over." The first two of the aforementioned songs were the only singles from the album, though "Without Love" hardly enjoyed any chart success, peaking at No. 78. "The Twentieth Century is Almost Over" was re-recorded five years later by Cash and Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, collectively known as The Highwaymen, on their first album entitled Highwayman, though it was, in essence, a duet with Nelson.
Chris Lord-Alge is an American mix engineer. He is the brother of both Tom Lord-Alge and Jeff Lord-Alge, both of whom are also audio engineers. Chris and Tom are known for their abundant use of dynamic compression for molding mixes that play well on small speakers and FM radio. Lord-Alge frequently collaborates with Howard Benson, who has produced the plurality of his mix discography.
Roll with It is the fifth solo studio album by English blue-eyed soul artist Steve Winwood, released on 20 June 1988. It became Winwood's most commercially successful album, reaching number four on the UK Albums Chart and number one on the US Billboard 200, and has sold over three million copies.
Back in the High Life is the fourth solo album by English singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Steve Winwood, released on 30 June 1986. The album proved to be Winwood's biggest success to that date, certified Gold in the UK and 3× Platinum in the US, and it reached the top twenty in most Western countries. It collected three Grammy Awards and generated five hit singles, starting with "Higher Love", which became Winwood's first Billboard Hot 100 number-one chart topper, coming 20 years after he first entered that chart with "Keep on Running" by the Spencer Davis Group. Other global hit singles from the album were "Freedom Overspill", "Back in the High Life Again" and "The Finer Things". The single "Split Decision", with ex-Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, was a US hit.
"Lately" is a song by American singer Stevie Wonder recorded for his album Hotter than July (1980). The song reached number three in the United Kingdom, and was later covered by R&B group Jodeci and released as a promotional single for the live album Uptown MTV Unplugged in June 1993, which reached number one on the R&B charts and the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Tom Lord-Alge is an American music engineer and mixer. He began his career at The Hit Factory in New York. Subsequently, he was the resident mixer at what used to be known as "South Beach Studios", located on the ground floor of the Marlin Hotel.
Dregs of the Earth is the fourth studio album by Dixie Dregs, released in 1980. This album was the band's first release on Arista Records, their last one before changing its name to The Dregs, and contains a re-recording of one of their earlier songs, which appeared on their 1976 demo The Great Spectacular.
The Door is a studio album by Delta blues artist Keb' Mo', released in 2000.
"Can't Find My Way Home" is a song written by Steve Winwood that was first released by Blind Faith on their 1969 album Blind Faith. Rolling Stone, in a review of the album, noted that the song featured "Ginger Baker's highly innovative percussion" and judged the lyric "And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home" to be "delightful".
Destiny is the sixth studio album by American R&B/funk singer Chaka Khan, released on Warner Bros. Records in 1986.
"Living for the City" is a 1973 single by Stevie Wonder from his Innervisions album. It reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 1 on the R&B chart. Rolling Stone ranked the song number 104 on their 2004 list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
John Frederick Robinson, known professionally as JR, is an American drummer and session musician who has been called "one of the most recorded drummers in history". He is known for his work with producer Quincy Jones, including Michael Jackson's multi-platinum Off the Wall album and the charity single "We Are the World". JR's drum fill kicks off Jackson's chart topper "Rock with You", and his drum solo opens the Steve Winwood album Back in the High Life (1986) to begin the number 1 song "Higher Love".
"Dile" (English: Tell Her) is a song by Puerto Rican reggaetón recording artist Ivy Queen, from her fourth studio album, Real (2004). It was composed by Queen along with Eliel Osorio and Alvaro Arroyo, produced by DJ Nelson and Noriega and released as the lead single from the album on via Airplay in November 2004. It ended 2005 within the top 40 Tropical Songs in Billboard magazine. The musical style as well as the lyrical content is very similar to the song released by Don Omar by the same name, the same year.
"Freedom Overspill" is a 1986 song by Steve Winwood that reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart. It was the second single released from his fourth solo album, Back in the High Life. It was produced by Russ Titelman and Winwood. James Hooker, Winwood's touring keyboard player and a former member of the Amazing Rhythm Aces, was credited with co-writing the song with Winwood and George Fleming.
"Blue Eyes Blue" is a pop song written by American songwriter Diane Warren. The tune was written for the 1999 soundtrack of Runaway Bride. The British rock musician Eric Clapton recorded the song for the soundtrack and released his performance of the song as a single on July 20, 1999, for Reprise Records.
Recorded at Unique Recording, N.Y.