It’s the world’s most famous studio and everyone from Pink Floyd to Ella Fitzgerald — and, of course, the Beatles — has made music there. Jon Savage looks back over 80 years of Abbey Road and its unique musical heritage. Abbey Road would be unthinkable today. Just imagine building a custom-made facility with three separate studios on a prime slice of north central London real estate - no chance. It's indelibly associated with the Beatles, but Abbey Road is also a unique time capsule from a different musical era.
The studio was set up in 1931, the same year that EMI - Electric and Musical Industries - was formed in a merger that brought together three labels: His Master's Voice, Columbia and Parlophone. Each had its own studio in the large converted nine-bedroom Georgian town house.
Along with the pressing plant in Hayes in Middlesex, Abbey Road Studios closed the circle. EMI could develop artists, record them and then press their records. This was a powerful, integrated company that - along with its rival, Decca - dominated British music for at least 40 years.
Certainly, the list of talent that passed through the three studios is extraordinary. In the 1930s and 1940s, classical music took precedence, with Arthur Rubinstein and Beniamino Gigli. On the jazz side, Fats Waller visited, as did Paul Robeson and Glenn Miller.