Abbey Road Studios

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Abbey Road Studios, created in November of 1931 by EMI in London, England is best known as the legendary recording studio used by the rock artists: The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Pink Floyd and The Shadows. The studios are located in Abbey Road, in St John's Wood in the City of Westminster.


[edit] History

Built as a Georgian townhouse in 1831, the premises were acquired by The Gramophone Company in 1931 and converted into studios. 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.

Image:Beatles - Abbey Road.jpg
The iconic album cover. The studios are just off the picture to the left.
Image:Abbey Road Photo By Sander Lamme.jpg
Abbey Road as it looks today.

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 they changed their name to Abbey Road Studios formally in the 1970s.

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, arguably the first European rock 'n' roll single. It also witnessed the beginnings of a change from "rock 'n' roll" to "Rock". The Beatles also found great success in Studio Two, and during the early-to-mid-'60s, The Beatles and Cliff and The Shadows became almost like joint owners of the studio, with friendly battles for recording time.

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 final 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. Among the less desirable effects of this notoreity has been the unsightly graffiti written on the studio fence by visitors and the regular theft of road signs. Pink Floyd recorded most of their late '60s to mid-1970s albums (like The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and The Piper at the Gates of Dawn) at the studio as well. Syd Barrett also recorded Barrett here. Elliott Smith also recorded In the Lost and Found from his Figure 8 album at the studio.

Image:Abbey Road Studio 2.jpg
Abbey Road Studio Two

The Shadows named their Live At Abbey Road album after the studio, with the cover spoofing The Beatles' album. Studio Two was also used by the Hollies, Manfred Mann, the Seekers, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Martin Briley, Mrs Mills and others.

Notable producers and engineers who have worked at Abbey Road include Sir George Martin, Geoff Emerick, Norman "Hurricane" Smith, Ken Scott, Mike Stone, Alan Parsons, Phil McDonald, Richard Lush and Ken Townshend, 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 Chris's career was receiving an award for Radiohead's Kid A. Chris died on November 7 2005.

In 1979, EMI used the Abbey Road Studios for their first non-classical digital recording. The track chosen was a cover of Rose Royce's 1978 hit Love Don't Live Here Anymore performed by the British jazz fusion band Morrissey-Mullen.

Kanye West had a live concert in the Abbey Road Studios in late 2005, following the release of Late Orchestration- the live-album version of Late Registration. Featured on the cover is his mascot, Drop Out Bear, on Abbey Road street (imitation of The Beatles cover).

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 a photographic exhibition in Studio Two. Also on display were several microphones, two upright pianos and a Hammond Organ.

U2 began recording their new album with Greg Fidelman and Rick Rubin at Abbey Road Studios in September 2006. [1], during which time they recorded a cover of The Skids' "The Saints Are Coming" with Green Day to commemorate the reopening of the Louisiana Superdome which was damaged following Hurricane Katrina.

[edit] Recording and Mixing Consoles

  • Studio One: 72 Fader Neve 88RS
  • Studio Two: 60 Fader Neve VR Legend
  • Penthouse: 48 Fader Neve DFC Gemini

[edit] 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 to become Thorn EMI.

Abbey Road's success in the scoring business continued after the partnership ended. Films whose scores were recorded at the studios include:

[edit] External links

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Abbey Road Studios

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