Shopfront Portraits: Regent Sounds
The studied retro typography of Regent Sounds’ frontage is a sign of its owners’ awareness of the history of the building that houses their shop. The subtitle Recording & Phonographic Studios and pre-STD telephone number format (the shop’s actual number is 020 7379 6111) are conscious references to a heritage rooted in the early 1960s.
The name Regent Sounds is itself a revival of that of Regent Sound Recording Studios that opened at 4 Denmark Street in the late 1950s. Most famously, the Rolling Stones cut their first album there over ten days in 1964 and Black Sabbath recorded Paranoid in 1970. Other acts to make use of its facilities included Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Kinks, The Yardbirds and Mott the Hoople.
After the recording studio closed in the mid 70s, No. 4 became an early home to the comic bookshop, Forbidden Planet, and then Sean Brody’s well-loved Helter Skelter music bookshop, before becoming a guitar shop under the name Regent Sounds in 2004.
New ownership in 2010 saw the shop refurbished and begin trading as a specialist in Fender and Gretsch guitars. The distressed finish of the shop’s fascia today is perhaps an appropriate mirror to the relic finish of some of the Fender guitars being sold there: re-issues of models from the 1950s and 60s that are deliberately aged in the factory to look as if they are well-used fifty year old instruments.