According to legend, singer Nat King Cole and songwriter Johnny Mercer suggested that the record company's headquarters should be shaped to look like a stack of 45s, and their comment produced this lasting symbol of '50s chic. Or so the story goes. Architect Welton Becket claimed he just wanted to design a structure that economized space, and in so doing, he created the world's first cylindrical office building.
On its south wall, L.A. artist Richard Wyatt's mural Hollywood Jazz, 1945–1972 immortalizes musical greats Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Miles Davis. Of course, pop icons the Beatles, who are on display in stunning photos near the Vine Street entrance, are Capitol's most treasured offering. John Lennon's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is in the sidewalk out front and is often the scene of gatherings on his birthday.
The recording studios are beneath the parking lot; all kinds of major artists, including Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, and Radiohead, have filled the echo chambers with sound. At the top of the tower, a blinking light spells out "Hollywood" in Morse code. The building is not open to the public.