Abbey Rd. for sale: home to Beatles, Floyd

abbey_road_studio_album_coverAbbey Road, the London recording studio where the Beatles and Pink Floyd crafted their classic psychedelic albums, reportedly has gone on the block.

EMI built the studio in 1929 and has owned and operated it since. Numerous sources told the Financial Times that the famed studio was being sold to help lower the debt from the 2007 leveraged buyout of EMI.

Update: EMI denied the FT report a week later: “We believe that Abbey Road should remain in EMI’s ownership,” the company said. EMI said it was in talks with third-parties about revitalizing the studio.

The Beatles, an EMI act, made almost all of their recordings there, including the psychedelic-era touchstones “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Revolver,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Magical Mystery Tour,” “The White Album,” “Yellow Submarine” and “Abbey Road.”

Pink Floyd — Abbey Road’s other “house band” — tripped out in the venerable studios with “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” “A Saucerful of Secrets,” “Ummagumma,” “Atom Heart Mother” and “The Dark Side of the Moon.”

While previously known as a classical studio, Abbey Road briefly ruled the pop charts. In 1963, 15 out of the year’s 19 No. 1 singles were recorded there. The Beatles and George Martin worked most of their magic in Studio 2.

The Abbey Road brand is considered as valuable as the studio facilities. The zebra-striped traffic crosswalk featured on the cover of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” still draws tourists from across the world to that corner of St. John’s Wood.

The studio, which can accommodate full orchestras, evolved into a film-recording destination, where scores for movies such as the “Star Wars,” “The Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” series were recorded.

The mutitracking technical innovations inspired by the Beatles now can be found on laptop computer software, making Abbey Road an expensive destination for rock musicians. “If an artist goes to a label and asks to record at Abbey Road they will be met with maniacal laughter,” a media lawyer told the Financial Times in its story on Abbey Road being sold.

Both the Beatles and Pink Floyd worked with the legendary house engineer and producer Norman Smith. The later rock star Alan Parsons was a staff engineer at Abbey Road who worked on “The Dark Side of the Moon.”

The Beatles’ satellite performance of “All You Need Is Love” (from the 1967 “Our World” linkup) was captured at 3 Abbey Road.

The Zombies recorded most of the baroque psychedelic classic “Odessey and Oracle” at Abbey Road while the Pretty Things created the rock opera “S.F. Sorrow” (produced by Smith). George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” triple album also came to life there.

Syd Barrett made several solo albums at Abbey Road. Later, the Alan Parsons Project recorded “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” and “I Robot.” Procol Harum’s “A Salty Dog” found the space for its orchestrations in the studio complex.

Other progressive artists making albums at Abbey Road included Kate Bush, Radiohead, Mike Oldfield, XTC and Camel.

The rereleased Beatles CDs of 2009 were remastered at Abbey Road, appropriately.


  1. The ALF says:

    don’t sweat it there’s already a movement to make the place part of the national trust I must say that the care afforded to the music in London is not matched to my knowledge anywhere else on earth – unfortunately though studios like Abbey Road are largely obsolete

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