31 Oct 2019: In the celebrating of the 5th year of graduates from the Abbey Road Institute, Music Producers Forum was invited to join in the festivities at the most iconic studio in the history of modern popular music. For me it was my first walk through Abbey Road Studios, a walk through music history that never expected I’d have the chance to take and a moment to catch up with an old friend.
About Abbey Road Studios
One of the few surviving studios from the peak of the music industry’s vinyl record days of the 60’s-80’s, Abbey Road was under threat of being redeveloped into apartments, but is now English heritage protected. Today it remains a fully functioning world class recording studio. It has also carved a reputation for be the leading studio for large symphony orchestra recordings for with film scores recorded for The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back, Avengers: End Game and Black Panther.
Walking through the Abbey Road Studio’s from Reception to Studio One
In my first walk through Abbey Road Studios, after passing the reception it is hard not to stop in front of the walls covered with framed black and white photographs of the many artists and producers who have recorded at the studios. From the Beatles, Amy Winehouse, Nile Rodgers to name just a few, there are many historic images that hit you with the enormity of history that has been produced in this building.
Down the stairs and to the right is the doorway opening to the famous studio one. The first thing that puts you in awe, is the sheer size of the room, both in depth and the height of the ceiling. It is hard to imagine that there is a room of this size and scale in amongst some a prime real estate area of London. You can certainly understand how property developers in 2010 would have eye’d this space for optimal profit.
Timeline History of Abbey Road
- 1831 – Built as a nine-bedroom Georgian townhouse
- 1929 – Converted into studios by the Gramophone Company
- 1930s – The studio came to be known as EMI Recording Studios
- 1958 – Rock and Roll comes to Abbey Road with Cliff Richard and the drifters
- 1962 – The Beatles start recording their albums (Up until 1970)
- 1967 – Pink Floyd begin their album recordings (Up until 1975)
- 1970 – The studio is officially renamed as Abbey Road Studios
- 1979 – Digital Recording comes to Abbey Road Studios
- 1980 – Orchestral Film score recording starts with Raiders of the Lost Ark
- 2010 – EMI list the studio for sale
- 2010 – Abbey Road Studios becomes Heritage Listed (As well as the Crossing)
- 2013 – Universal take over control of Abbey Road Studios
- 2015 – Abbey Road Institute launches
Though it has a history as a recording studio dating back to the 1930’s, this space is a fully modernised large room recording facility with the walls and ceiling treated for optimal acoustics. The sound booth has the largest glass window I have ever seen, that would give the engineers and producers an uninterrupted view of performing musicians.
Abbey Road Institute
In 2015 the Abbey Road Institute was founded, making the Studio also a place of learning and supporting the next generation of music creators in the industry. The institute runs a one-year Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering, where students get to learn from practicing industry professionals as well as work on projects in the studios.
For more information on the Abbey Road Institute, visit: AbbeyRoadInsititute.co.uk
I was lucky to be able to have a quick moment to catch up Carlos Lellis Founding Program Director at the Abbey Road Institute. Carlos is the man who has kept me on the invite list over the past 5 years, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to accept the invitation.
It was great to reconnect with an old industry colleague I met through the Music Producers Forum. Today, Carlos is now an even bigger influencer in the industry, and for me, it is great to see that a true gentleman like Carlos is making a positive impact. We agreed not to leave it for another 5 years to catch up again, and I look forward to more discussions on experiences, thoughts and with Carlos.
Read PRODUCTION FOUNDATIONS: THE RECORDING TEAM by Carlos Lellis from his book “Music Production: Recording: A Guide for Producers, Engineers, and Musicians”.
Shout out and thanks to Jens Ulrik Lange – Fellow musician, friend and Tech-friend of the Music Producers Forum for being my +1 and organising our accommodation down the road.