To recover! Abbey Road Studios reopens after COVID hiatus


By William Russell and Mike Davidson

LONDON, June 4 (Reuters)World-famous Abbey Road Studios in London reopened on Thursday after closing during the coronavirus lockdown for the first time in 90 years of history.

Famous for recording artists like Edward Elgar, The Beatles and Lady Gaga, the studio’s mixers got underway for a socially distanced session with acclaimed American jazz singer Melody Gardot.

“We haven’t even stopped for a world war, so it’s a real time to come back,” Isabel Garvey, general manager of Abbey Road Studios, told Reuters.

Music industry workers have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus lockdown, enacted in Britain on March 23. Many have been excluded from state foreclosure support programs due to the irregular nature of working in music.

Garvey said about half of Abbey Road’s staff were unable to work away from the studio building during the lockdown.

“I think the music has lifted people up over the last 10, 11 weeks of lockdown,” Garvey said.

“So having artists again to record, make music again, maybe even relate to the experience they had, it really feels good. We need that as humans, I think. . “

Gardot’s recording session offered a potential glimpse into the future of music production in a post-COVID world.

The singer joined her producer Larry Klein from Los Angeles remotely from Paris. Both appeared on the big screen at Abbey Road to contact the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, whoplayed there for the first time since confinement.

“We use the best of the technology and the musicians in space to make it all work,” Garvey said.


Gardot said it was an honor to become the first artist to record at Abbey Road since it reopened and told Reuters “the music must go on”, although it lacked a bit of magic because of its distance from the musicians.

“It’s a little frustrating at times because of course, like with so many other things, you lack tactility,” said Gardot, who had previously recorded at Abbey Road in 2009.

Opened by Elgar in 1931, the studio reports a healthy list of future bookings, but social distancing measures mean there will be some limitations – especially for large orchestras often in attendance for recording soundtracks from major films.

Abbey Road boss Garvey said the orchestral capacity of his larger studios had been cut in half following a review.

“Recording here is still really viable – it will be just with smaller numbers,” she said.

“There is a strong pent-up demand… so it looks good, but it will take time to get back to normal levels.”

Gardot said she wanted to seize the opportunity rather than wait until 2021 before making music again, when life could return to normal.

“I can’t wait to do something, to create something, to make music,” she said.

(Written by Andy Bruce, additional reporting by Sarah Mills; editing by Stephen Addison and Estelle Shirbon)

(([email protected]; +442075423484; Reuters messaging: [email protected]))

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