Music News

Will Someone Please Buy Out the Caribou Ranch Auction and Open Denver's Coolest Bar?

Nearly 200 artists recorded recorded at Caribou Ranch, just outside of Nederland, throughout the '70s and early '80s. Starting with Joe Walsh's 1972 debut solo album, Barnstorm, the ranch's recording studio hosted some huge names in music, including Michael Jackson, the Beach Boys, Chicago, Frank Zappa, Billy Joel, Elton John and Johnny Cash. But when a fire destroyed the control destroyed the control room in 1985, owner James Guercio closed the studio. Three decades later, Guercio and his family are auctioning off 400 lots, including studio instruments, memorabilia and furnishings from Caribou Ranch. Between the furniture and memorabilia there's easily enough stuff here to outfit what could be a very cool bar concept or music venue.While the auction starts tomorrow, January 24 at 3 p.m., there's still time to preview what's included in the auction in the Denver Design Center East Building (595 South Broadway) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow. Here's a taste of what to expect.

See also: Rock and Roll History Is for Sale at the Caribou Ranch and Studio Memorabilia Auction

Most of the musical instruments are near the entrance, including this 1972 Rhodes keyboard, which was in the studio from the time it opened until it closed in 1985. The keyboard was used on Chicago's hit single "Just You and Me" as well as several Earth, Wind & Fire number one singles.

For a bass amp that's five decades old, this Vox, which comes with the original Beatles advertisement, looks like it's in pretty sweet condition.

Wm. Knabe & Co. baby grand piano in the foreground was used by Michael Jackson, Elton John, Frank Zappa, Stephen Stills and Dan Fogelberg for writing and rehearsing.

Caribou Ranch owner James Guercio bought this piano from New York-based antiques dealer, who claimed it was once owned by the Metropolitan Opera.

Beach Boys founding member Dennis Wilson was signed to Guercio's Caribou Records, which released Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue. The 2008 re-issue on Sony Legacy included unreleased tracks from Wilson's Bambu sessions that were recorded at Caribou Ranch.

While there's a lot of memorabilia and musical instruments up for auction, there's a ton of furniture as well, including the leather Chesterfield upholstered furniture above and in some of the photos below.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon