Abbey Road Studios

Abbey Road Studios

Abbey Road Studios, established in November 1931 by EMI in London, England, is a recording studio located at number 3 Abbey Road, in St John's Wood in the City of Westminster. 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.See list below of artists who have recorded at the studios.


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. [ [ Sir Edward Elgar, 1931 "Land of hope & glory"] [ THE MASTER OF THE KING'S MUSIC] ] 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. [Discography in "Sir Malcolm Sargent: a Tribute"]

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.

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. (See zebra crossing [ webcam] .) 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 at the studio, returning only in 1988 for mixing and overdubbing subsequent albums. (See List of Pink Floyd albums recorded at Abbey Road Studios.)

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 November 7 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 July 18 to September 11 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. [ The Beatles Book July & August 1983. ]

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 EP, released in 1988. They never actually recorded at the studio.

Also U2 have mastered there their musical DVD "". It was mastered on the B&W Nautilus 801 loudspeakers.

Artists who have recorded at Abbey Road

The studios have been used by musicians such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Oasis, Dido, Fats Waller, Absynthe Minded, Josh Groban, Colbie Caillat, Hilary Hahn, Kutless, Cliff Richard, Adam Ant, Nightwish, Radiohead, Al Stewart, Muse, XTC, Gemma Hayes,The Zombies, Take That, Scarlet Party, Green Day, U2, The Used, Bucks Fizz, Camel, The Killers, James Taylor, Peter & Gordon, The Shadows, Morrissey - Mullen, Gnarls Barkley,Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elliott Smith, Syd Barrett, Plácido Domingo, Michael Nyman, Trevor Jones, Mecano, Sigur Rós, Mashina Vremeni, Aly & AJ to record acoustic version of 4 songs from their sophmore album Insomniatic, , and Panic at the Disco. [ [ WAGNER Tristan and Isolde Domingo Stemme EMI 558006-2 [MB: Classical CD Reviews- August 2005 MusicWeb-International ] ] [ [ Wagner: Tristan und Isolde / Pappano, Domingo, Stemme, Pape | ArkivMusic ] ] Studio Two has been used by David Gilmour, The Hollies, Manfred Mann, The Seekers, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Martin Briley, Mrs Mills, Madness, Lucie Silvas, Kanye West, Kate Nash, Eliza Lynn, the Spice Girls, Point of Grace,Kutless, Darren Burn, Fanzine,and others. Chris Moyles also recorded his jingles for The Chris Moyles Show here.

See also

*Chronological list of recordings made at Abbey Road Studios
*List of Pink Floyd albums recorded at Abbey Road Studios

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. For a list of film scores recorded at the studios please see List of film scores recorded at Abbey Road Studios.



*Discography in Sir Malcolm Sargent: a tribute (1967). London: Daily Mirror Newspapers.
*"All You Need Is Ears", by George Martin (with Jeremy Hornsby)
*"The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions", by Mark Lewisohn
*"Abbey Road", by Brian Southall, Peter Vince and Allan Rouse

External links

* [ Abbey Road Studios — official site]
* [ Live from Abbey Road - official site]
* [ Video interviews shot at Abbey Road and studio tour]
* [ WikiRecording's Article on the Abbey Roads Studios Orchestra Setup]

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