Abbey Road Studios turns 80!
Abbey Road Studios, where the Beatles recorded all their famous albums, including the one they named after the studio, has just celebrated its 80th anniversary. And what did it give? It sold! On the eve of his 80th birthday, he was sold as part of the EMI sale. EMI’s recording division owned Abbey Road and was taken over by Universal Music.
Perhaps the most famous recording studio in history opened its doors in 1931. Was it its first client? Sir Edward Elgar and the London Symphony Orchestra, performing “The Land Of Hope And Glory”. Over the years, everyone from Glenn Miller to Connie Francis to Radiohead and Lady Gaga have made ways in their hallowed halls.
It wasn’t until the early 1960s that the studio began to house rock and rollers and produce recordings that would change the world forever. In 1960, Cliff Richard & The Shadows scored a string of big hits there, and although barely a footnote here in the US, they were huge stars in Britain. Rock and roll had come to Abbey Road.
A few years later, the Beatles would call it home, recording nearly every note of their career under the golden ears of producer Sir George Martin. Their legendary 1969 album, named after the studio, made the place a household name and its crosswalk a destination for tourist photos year after year.
Former EMI manager Brian Southall told the BBC it was unclear what the future of the studios would be now that they were no longer under British rule. “There are no more British record companies to buy EMI,” he said, “what Universal will do with Abbey Road, I don’t know.” Southwell has just written a book about the history of the label and the studio called “The Rise And Fall Of EMI Records”.
Notable Abbey Road clients include Pink Floyd, The Hollies, The Zombies, Billy J Kramer, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Manfred Mann, The Buzzcocks, XTC, Radiohead and Oasis.