For $4.1 million, you can own a legendary rock ‘n roll property in Malibu named “Shangri-La” where the likes of Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones played music, recorded, and partied. There’s just one catch: as the new owner, you need to remain the music steward of the property and carry on its legacy as a place for rockers to come, hang out and record albums. In other words, you can’t raze it and build a behemoth or develop the land.
Shangri-La (view listing) was recently listed on the Malibu real estate market for $4.1 million — the first time it’s been for sale in over 30 years. Known best as Bob Dylan’s recording studio, Shangri-La was also a studio and hangout for other rockers like Clapton, Robbie Robertson, Joe Cocker and Pete Townsend. More recently, the house hosted Adele and Kings of Leon while they each spent time in the recording studio.
The home wasn’t always a refuge for musicians. Built in 1958, the ranch house was designed by actress Margo Albert (simply known as “Margo” in her day) who starred in the 1937 movie “Lost Horizon.” She named the piece of California real estate after the mythical place portrayed in the film — Shangri-La. According to ShangriLaMalibu.com, the home was an “upscale bordello” for awhile, and is “rumored to have hosted the Hollywood elite of the 1950′s.”
When the 1960s rolled around, Shangri-La hosted a different kind of Hollywood star. TV’s talking horse, “Mister Ed,” was filmed there and the star of the show was actually stabled on location at the Malibu home.
In the 1970s, the home became what it is today — a rock music haven. Record producer Rob Fraboni built and designed Shangri-La Studios at the urging of Bob Dylan and The Band and almost immediately, rockers began flocking to the location. Dylan lived in a tent in the rose garden, Clapton spent time there, along with Van Morrison, Ringo Starr and others. Fraboni spent 10 years at this location and worked on The Band’s “Northern Lights — Southern Cross” album, Eric Clapton’s “No Reason to Cry” and Bonnie Raitt’s “Green Light,” among others. Clapton’s cover art for “No Reason to Cry” was photographed inside the property. Shangri-La was also where Fraboni worked with director Martin Scorsese and The Band on the soundtrack for “The Last Waltz,” considered by some the greatest concert film ever made. Scorsese turned the event into a documentary and interviewed many musicians for the film at Shangri-La.
Clapton’s biography “Crossroads” describes the sessions at Shangri-La as “an intensely creative period, where all-night jam sessions and wild parties were the norm.”
After years of heavy use, the home fell into disrepair in the mid-’90s and the home was on the “brink of being torn down by land developers.” In swooped a new owner who renovated the studio and the home, saving it from the wrecking ball.
Listing agent Shen Schulz of Sotheby’s International explained that the current owners are looking for a buyer who will carry on the property’s legacy.
“This is a very special property,” Schulz said. “They don’t want it to be torn down and turned into a McMansion. We want a musician that will carry on the energy and pass the baton.”
Although perched on the bluffs above picturesque Zuma Beach, this home doesn’t look like a typical million-dollar beach retreat in ritzy southern California where median Malibu home values are over $1.5 million. While the home doesn’t have a pool, it does have two recording studios — an extensive one in the lower level of the home as well as a smaller one in the vintage Airstream trailer parked on the lawn.
The recording studio in itself is unusual, explained Schulz. It’s one of the few analog recording studios remaining.
“It’s old school,” he said. “It’s for making albums, it has depth to it. It has real amplifiers and, all the special components that make an album sound.”
Besides the state-of-the art recording studio, the 4,449-square-foot home includes four bedrooms, three bathrooms, detached guesthouse, formal game room, and of course, the home’s decades of musical history.