In the City of Westminster in London resides a Georgian townhouse containing the famous Abbey Road Studios. A long-established recording studio, Abbey Road was the place where it all happened for the recording of many famous artists over the years, including the likes of Pink Floyd, the Hollies and most notably: the Beatles.
Below is a guide to the infamous location.
Abbey Road History
In 1931, the premises were acquired by the Gramophone Company and converted into recording studios going on to become one of the most prominent in London and remaining thus throughout its lifetime as a studio. However it wasn’t until the 50s that it developed to become a real centre for rock music, and it wasn’t until the 70s that it officially begat the name ‘Abbey Road.’
Of all the big names to make use of Abbey Road, the Beatles are the most notable; indeed many would argue that the Beatles are responsible for its lasting renown today. Between 1962 and1970, Abbey Road became the home of Beatles recordings. As such, Abbey Road was the source of the hit popular music that swept the globe.
Considering the supreme success of the Beatles’ music career, anything linked with the Beatle-mania that overcame the nation and indeed the world, was subsequently elevated to a much higher position and standing in culture.
Abbey Road, the Album
Not only is there the existing link between Abbey Road and the Beatles, but the band themselves made a big deal of it when they released their eleventh studio album under the title of ‘Abbey Road.’
The album enjoyed great commercial success; it was very well received by the masses, so much so that even today it is their best-selling album. Some critics consider Abbey Road the Beatles’ greatest work. Furthermore it’s even been valued as one of the greatest albums of all times by certain publications.
Alongside the actual recordings, the cover work of the album became iconic for the Beatles too. This has knock-on benefits for Abbey Road again as it features all four members crossing a zebra crossing that lies just outside the studios. The album cover is so iconic that it is the image that immediately comes to mind when some people think of the Beatles. As is evident, Abbey Road and the Beatles have become inextricably linked.
Abbey Road Today
Today Abbey Road is still a functioning recording studio. Until recently it was owned by the British company EMI but following a take-over acquisition in 2012, Abbey Road was taken over by Universal Music.
Regardless of the politics behind the venue, it still is a central spot for popular music, with affiliations with big names such as Robbie Williams and One Direction. The Abbey Road team even get involved further afield; for example, they were responsible for the recordings of One Direction’s latest live tour.
Lastly, Abbey Road today is the home of many great film scores. The most recent ones include Iron Man 3, Skyfall and the Hobbit.
Visiting Abbey Road
At any time of the year, you can visit Abbey Road to take in something of the rich musical heritage it possesses. In fact, local motorists no doubt have a significant disdain for the frequent stream of people using the zebra crossing just outside the studios.
Unfortunately, as it is a fully functioning studio, they can’t allow people to walk around the studio every day, so you can’t just show up and expect a tour. However, the studio hosts scheduled tours and events which allow you access into its hallowed halls.
Thanks to the Beatles, Abbey Road is possibly the most famous recording studio in the world. If you’re nearby, it really is worth a visit to take a photo of yourself crossing the zebra crossing, or if you can get yourself a ticket to one of the events and tours they run you’ll be in for a real treat.