Abbey Road Studios

by chris cunningham

Today I got to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Go inside Abbey Road Studios. In particular, Studio 2. Every trip I’ve made to London has included a visit to Abbey Road. Now that I live here I think it’s fair to say I deserve to go in! I’m a bit of a recording studio fan. I think they’re incredibly exciting places that are slowly dying.

A few years ago I purchased a massive boxed book set called Recording The Beatles. It’s very comprehensive and I love it. If there was one book I would have wanted to bring with me it would have been that one. Just to massive and heavy. The two guys who wrote the book were doing a talk at Abbey Road, along with Ken Duncan who was an engineer on some of The Beatles recordings. So a little dream has come true.

I got up this morning and took my camera and walked to the station only to realize I left my ticket in another bag! Ran back, grabbed it and ended up in a cab just to make sure I got there in time. As I got out of the cab there were people already milling about. The Studios have installed a Crossing Cam that me and my friends back home always look at to watch people nearly get run over. Knowing I was going to be there the stayed up until about 2am waiting for me. It also has audio so I goofed around in front of the camera for a bit and then stood below it and yelled at Kevin. He heard me in Burbank. Ha.

The started letting us in at 10am, and in the door I went. The front part of. The studios. Is basically a house and reception area, while where gardens used to be is where the studios are. I walked down the hallway and in Studio 2. It’s a fairly large space and to the right as you enter is that famous staircase up to the recording area. They pulled out some of the pianos and organs, consoles, etc from the archives. I bought another book from one of the authors which also includes his work atTrident studios which is across the street from work. The talk was interesting and included a ge etchings I didn’t know, but one struck ore that others. It was where in thee studio the recorded. I happened to sit on the end of the row near the back end of the studio. They played some clips of a drummer that were recorded in each studio so we could hear the difference in sound. Then they played twist and shout and you could hear the same sound of the stidio. Quite amazing really. The they showed a diagram of how the Beatles used to record which was like a live set because that’s all they new. They diagram showed the very corner I was sitting in and basically was sitting whe the mic that john and Paul would sing into. Weird to think they sat there and recorded on that spot. Then they asked a few people to come up and they had 3 of the pianos there and marked of the chords for the massive chord at the end of a day in the life. 1, 2, 3…, bahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmm. End of Sgt peppers right there before your ears. Cool.