Complete this analogy: London is to Abbey Road as Berlin is to…Well? Hansa Studios, of course, that seminal recording studio that has exerted a gravitational pull on international artists since the Cold War. Now used as an event location, the only way to get inside this famous building (and find out why Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore stripped down naked for the recording of a love song) is with the highly recommended Berlin Music Tours.
The ‘Big Hall by the Wall’ was how David Bowie fittingly dubbed its glorious Studio 2, better known as the Meistersaal (Masters’ Hall). As you look through arched windows, imagine Bowie looking over the concrete barrier and perhaps waving at the gun-toting guards in their watchtowers. In the late '70s, the White Duke recorded his tortured visions for the seminal album Heroes here, after completing Low, both part of his Berlin Trilogy. Bowie also produced The Idiot and Lust for Life with his buddy Iggy Pop, who he bunked with at Hauptstrasse 155 in Schöneberg.
There's a long list of other music legends who have taken advantage of the special sound quality at Hansa Studios, including Nina Hagen, Nick Cave, David Byrne, Einstürzende Neubauten, Die Ärzte, Snow Patrol, Green Day, REM and The Hives. Depeche Mode produced three albums here – Construction Time Again, Some Great Reward and Black Celebration – between 1983 and 1986.