On a recent trip to somewhere I got the opportunity to tour the world’s most famous recording studio. The reason I said somewhere and not my location is that I wanted to make you guess where that recording studio is and what it is called. Do you have any idea?
Okay fine, my trip was to London and the recording studio was, you guessed it, Abby Road Studios. This, of course, is the studio where the Beatles recorded, but there were plenty of other famous acts that recorded here as well.
Some of the more notable artists to record here are Pink Floyd, Amy Winehouse, Syd Barrett, Tony Bennett, Mary J Blige, James Blunt, Blur, The Black Keys, Kate Bush, Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Carlton, Depeche Mode, Dido, Duran Duran, Placido Domingo, Enya, Ella Fitzgerald, Florence And The Machine, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Jamiroquai, Alicia Keys, Patty Labelle, Lady Gaga, mMeatloaf, Kylie Minogue, Alanis Morrissette, Oasis, Pet Shop Boys, Queen, Radiohead, Red hot Chili Peppers, Roxette, Rush, Sigur Ros, The Spice Girls, Taylor Swift, U2, Kanye West and Robbie Williams. And, of course, many, many more.
But what some people don’t know is that it was almost shut down in 2009. The British government protected it by granting it a heritage status in 2010, which preserved the building from any kind of development or alterations.
The studio actually had different names in the past. Its first well-known name was EMI studios, since EMI owned it. It wasn’t until the 1970s that it was renamed to Abbey Road studios after the famous 1969 album by the Beatles called Abbey Road. Their fame had made the studio famous, so they changed the name to reflect that. It was a brilliant move, because it is now the most famous studio in the world. People like me, who come to London on vacation, visit it as a tourist attraction.
So many famous musicians and so many famous singers have passed through the studio. If I ever learn how to sing well, you better believe it will be my ultimate goal to record at Abbey Road. And yes, I realize that will never happen. Indulge me, it’s a dream. Another dream is to outfit my own studio with some of the same equipment.
Getting to Abbey Road Studios is pretty easy. It’s only about five or 10 minutes from the tube station at St. John’s Wood. This is on the Jubilee line. I won’t give you exact walking directions, because these days we all have smart phones and we can look them up easily enough. Trust me, it’s easy to find and it’s well worth a visit, if you’re ever in London.
Abbey Road Studios were not only used for recording music, it was also the location where many film scores were recorded. Movies like Star Wars (not all of them) and the Lord of the Rings trilogy had their film scores recorded here. So if you’re a film buff, you might be interested in the studio as well. It looks really cool inside and is something I’ve actually seen before in movies, so it was really nice to actually see that in real life. I was kind of starstruck and there were no actual stars there while I was there. It was just a location.
As I said, if you ever find yourself in London, definitely make it a point to visit Abbey Road Studios. You only need an hour to to see it, so it should be easy to fit in your schedule. They have really good espresso and coffee too, as any recording studio should. If you can make it at all, check it out. You owe it to yourself. It’s a great place.
Modern music fans usually don t listen to music live, unlike our ancestors, who listened to live music exclusively. As I stood outside Abbey Road Studios and watched a 16-year-old Colombian girl weep at the site where the likes of Golden Slumbers, A Day in the Life, and All You Need Is Love were recorded, I realized that a musical tour of the world a tour of the songs that moved you to tears, or helped you through a hard time, or amped you up for a big moment would actually be a tour of the studios, these often nondescript buildings that are typically hidden in plain sight in our cities. Here are some of the world s greatest studios.