Abbey Road Studios: Wikis

  
  
  

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Coordinates: 51°31′56″N 0°10′41″W / 51.53214°N 0.17796°W / 51.53214; -0.17796

A two storey white building with grey window frames, several cars are parked in the foreground.
Abbey Road Studios in December 2005

Abbey Road Studios, established in November 1931 by a predecessor of EMI is a recording studio located at Abbey Road, St John's Wood, City of Westminster, London, England. Apart from their use as a recording studio, the premises have also been used to remaster many of the classical music recordings made at Kingsway Hall. It is most notable for being the venue in the 1960s for innovative recording techniques adopted by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and others.

Contents

History

Built as a Georgian townhouse in 1831, the premises were acquired by the Gramophone Company in 1931 and converted into studios. Pathe filmed the opening of the studios, when Sir Edward Elgar conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in recording sessions of his music.[1] The neighbouring house is also owned by the studio and used to house musicians. During the mid-1900s the studio was extensively used by leading British conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent, whose house was just around the corner from the studio building.[2]

Abbey Road Studios

The Gramophone Company later amalgamated with Columbia Graphophone Company to form EMI, which took over the studios. The studios were then known as EMI Studios until EMI formally changed their name to Abbey Road Studios in 1970.

Studio Two at Abbey Road became a centre of rock music in 1958 when Cliff Richard and the Drifters (later Cliff Richard and The Shadows) recorded "Move It" there, arguably the first European rock and roll single.

It was the Beatles who broke with tradition, changing recording techniques and forever changing the boundaries of what was considered popular music. Innovating with flanging, backwards recording, automatic double tracking, and controlled feedback, the Beatles utilised Abbey Road studios to full effect.

The zebra crossing in 2007

Abbey Road Studios is most closely associated with the Beatles, who recorded almost all of their albums and singles there between 1962 and 1970. The Beatles named their 1969 album, Abbey Road, after the street where the studio is located (the recording studio would only be named Abbey Road after the Beatles record in 1970). The cover photo for that album was taken by Iain Macmillan outside Abbey Road Studios, with the result that the pedestrian zebra crossing outside the studio, where the Fab Four were photographed soon became a place of pilgrimage for Beatles fans from all over the world. NOTE: The crossing is no longer in the same location as it was in 1969, having been moved further east in the 1970s. Looking across the street in the direction the Beatles crossed it, the crossing was moved from the left side of the light pole on the destination side of the street (the side John Lennon is closest to) to the right side of the pole. It has been a long-standing tradition for visitors to pay homage to the band by writing on the studio fence in front, although it is painted over monthly.

Pink Floyd recorded most of their late 1960s to mid-1970s albums, returning only in 1988 for mixing and overdubbing subsequent albums. (See List of Pink Floyd albums recorded at Abbey Road Studios.)

Abbey Road Studio Two

The Shadows named their Live At Abbey Road album after the studio, with the cover spoofing The Beatles' album.

Notable producers and sound engineers who have worked at Abbey Road include Sir George Martin, Geoff Emerick, Norman "Hurricane" Smith, Ken Scott, Mike Stone, Alan Parsons, Phil McDonald, John Kurlander, Richard Lush and Ken Townsend, who invented the groundbreaking studio effect known as automatic double tracking (ADT). The chief mastering engineer at Abbey Road was Chris "Vinyl" Blair, who started his career early on as a tape deck operator. He worked his way up the ranks to get to the top. A highlight of Blair's career was receiving an award for Radiohead's Kid A. Blair died on 7 November 2005.

In 1979, EMI commissioned the British jazz fusion band Morrissey-Mullen to record the label's first non-classical digital recording at Abbey Road Studios.

From 18 July to 11 September 1983 the public had a rare opportunity to see inside the legendary Studio Two where The Beatles made most of their records. While a new mixing console was being installed in the control room, the studio was used to host a video presentation called "The Beatles At Abbey Road". The soundtrack to the video contained a number of recordings that were not made commercially available until the Beatles Anthology project over a decade later.[3]

A grey topped white wall completely covered in handwritten messages
The graffiti-covered walls outside Abbey Road

In March/April 2005 Abbey Road Studios held a film festival. It included a tour of Studio One and Studio Two (excluding control rooms). They displayed several films in Studio One associated with the studio and an exhibition in Studio Two consisting of photographs, and a fully autographed sleeve from every original UK Beatles album. Also on display were several microphones, two upright pianos, and a Hammond Organ.

American rock band the Red Hot Chili Peppers included a photograph of themselves walking across the zebra crossing naked, except for the infamous socks, on the front of The Abbey Road E.P., released in 1988. They never actually recorded at the studio.

Location

Abbey Road has become a London tourist attraction.

Abbey Road Studios is a five-to-ten minute walk away from St John's Wood tube station. From Central London, it is accessible using the Jubilee line. When exiting the station, the visitor faces south at the intersection of A41 (Finchley Rd./Wellington Rd.) and Acacia Road (to the left)/Grove End Road (to the right). The studio is along Grove End Road, passing Waverley Place and Loudon St. on the right; addresses decrease in number along the way. As Grove End Road veers sharply to the left, Abbey Road is to the immediate right. The first pedestrian crossing is the crossing featured on the album (since moved). The studio, at 3 Abbey Road, is the unaddressed white building across the street.

Recording and mixing consoles

  • Studio One: 72 Fader Neve 88RS
  • Studio Two: 60 Fader Neve VR Legend
  • Studio Three: 96 Fader Solid State Logic 9000 J
  • Penthouse: 48 Fader Neve DFC Gemini

Film scores

Abbey Road Studios got its start in the film scoring business in 1980, when Anvil Post Production formed a partnership with the studio, called Anvil-Abbey Road Screen Sound. The partnership started when Anvil was left without a scoring stage when Korda Studios were demolished. It ended in 1984, when EMI merged with THORN Electrical Industries to become Thorn EMI.

Abbey Road's success in the scoring business continued after the partnership ended.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Sir Edward Elgar, 1931 "Land of hope & glory" THE MASTER OF THE KING'S MUSIC
  2. ^ Discography in Sir Malcolm Sargent: a Tribute
  3. ^ The Beatles Book July & August 1983.

51°31′54.93″N 0°10′42.07″W / 51.531925°N 0.1783528°W / 51.531925; -0.1783528

References

External links








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