A Day in the Life of Abbey Road Studios

Abbey Road street sign
Abbey Road Reception
Studio 2 Abbey Road

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Upon hearing all the latest news on the possible closure of Abbey Road Studios (which once was called EMI Studios) I thought this would be an ideal time to write a post I’ve been keeping on the burner for some time now.

When I was younger we travelled to visit an aunt in London, while in the city I was determined that we would visit this studio and take pictures crossing the famous zebra crossing (or is it a pelican crossing?).   We visited the studio and had a great time reading all the graffiti on the walls outside the studio and obviously took part in the legendary crossing of the road, to much annoyance of the drivers and to confess wasn’t as good as I thought / hoped it would be.

Studio 2 Live Room
Studio 2 Control Room
Reel Tape machine

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However back to the point of this post.   A few years back I had the opportunity to visit the studio and actually take part in a full day recording session with a great friend and Catholic musician / songwriter Tom Booth who had came over from the USA to record a greatest hits album.   Tom and myself were introduced through a good friend Fr Neil and we were both like children in this huge toy shop  that is Studio 2 in Abbey Road Studios.

We had a tour of the studios and spent the entire day recording using the instruments left over from generations of fantastic albums and musicians, including:

  • The piano from “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles
  • The piano from “Let it Be” by the Beatles
  • The piano from “Lady Madonna” by the Beatles
  • Various melotrons and hammond organs

We visited the Studio 1 room where all the great film scores were recorded and mixed, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Indiana Jones Trilogy, Star Wars, Harry Potter and many many more.   The entire room had a great feeling and electric atmosphere.   But nothing that would compare to Studio 2.

Studio 2 Live Room
Let it Be Piano
Day in the Life

Studio 1 Live Room

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I guess the reason I feel drawn to write about this is because it would be a great sadness to lose this fantastic building full of magic and history.   Over recent years it has become more and more difficult to make a living as a recording engineer or producer in the music industry, especially when most new albums that are progressing to the top of the charts are recorded in bedrooms across the country.

I was completely surprised & shocked to learn throughout the day in the studio that the engineer we were working with in Abbey Road was looking for another job, he was tired of people coming into the studio to record drums and then leave with them on a LACIE HD to layer the rest of the tracks on them in more affordable studios or a home.  Its almost as though the beauty and experience of taking the raw material and turning it into a classic album like “Sgt Pepper”, “Electric Ladyland” or even “Solid Air” are vanishing with the very rooms & studios they were recorded in.

Albums
Albums
Studio 1 Live Room

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I’ll leave this post with a funny little irony that i’ve noticed (being a complete Beatles geek!) The recent reporting mentions that;

“There is reported interest by property developers with the intent of redeveloping the site into luxury apartments.[4] It has also been reported that there is a possibility that the studios could be purchased by the National Trust[5] in an effort to preserve what in effect is an historical building”.

Does this lyric sound familiar?

“Which he ate and donated to the National Trust / I need a fix ’cause I’m going down / Down to the bits that I left uptown” (The White Album).

Zebra Crossing Abbey Road
Outside Abbey Road Studios
Corridors of Equipment
Studio 2


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