In April 2011, I managed to tick another item off my bucket list. Abbey Road is an iconic street for anyone who is a fan of music, let alone any musician. Number 3 on the street is Abbey Road Studios, most famous for numerous recordings by the Beatles. For a musician, the trek to Abbey Road is like a pilgrimage one must make at least once in their lifetime.
Abbey Road is also the title of the Beatles Album that Rolling Stone magazine listed as the 14th best album of all time. It delivered classic tunes such as, Come Together, Oh Darling, Something and Here Comes the Sun. The album has ensured that a steady flow of Beatles pilgrims will make the trek every day.
Self proclaimed as the ‘Oldest recording complex in the world’, the studio has also played it’s part in the latest motion picture projects. This includes Lord Of The Rings trilogy: (Fellowship Of The Ring, Two Towers and Return Of The King), Harry Potter series (The Chamber Of Secrets, Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone) Shrek, Chicken Run and The Golden Compass, to name but a few.
Tips on the your pilrimage
Finding Abbey Road: The best way to get to Abbey Road is via the London Underground. St Johns Wood is the nearest station and less than 5 minutes walk from the Studios.
Organise a recording from Abbey Road Studios: Abbey Road streams a live web camera (With Audio) from their complex onto the crossing, so if you really want to capture your recording from Abbey Road studios, make sure that you get someone to record you off the web. You’ll find that there is some control over the camera via the website.
Getting your Abbey Road cover album shot: If you want to get your own Abbey Road shot, it would be good to plan ahead with your timing. Get there early, but not in peak hour times and avoid weekends and public holidays. Another thing to watch out for, are the impatient locals who are tired of tourists overusing the crossing. On the flip side, make sure that you respect that it is a public motorway, and common sense should prevail when running your all important photo-shoot.
Graffiti: One of the unexpected points of interest is the graffiti that is scrawled across the front brick fence of the studio. I always find this kind of thing really interesting, and worth a moment to stop and read.
Embattled owner in 2010: In February 2010, record industry label EMI the current owner of the studios, announced that the studios were for sale and recently (At the time of publishing this article), microphones and other items used by the Beatles will be auctioned off. The record label has struggled in recent years, and it looks that this is a part of its efforts to cover some of it’s debt.
Live From Abbey Road Series: There is a series of filmed live recordings from Abbey Road from solid range of current day popular artists including Jamiroquai, John Mayer, David Gray, Diana Krall and Panic at the Disco. These documentary style productions are well filmed and worth a watch.
Jamiroquai Live at Abbey Road:
Here is a sample of the Live From Abbey Road series. Click on full screen, turn up the volume, enjoy.
Beatles Recording, 1968 – Abbey Road, Studio 2
Additional info and Links:
- Abbey Road Album: Track Listing
- Come Together
- Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
- Oh! Darling
- Octopus’s Garden
- I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
- Here Comes the Sun
- Her Majesty