The Abbey Road studios, recording home of The Beatles and many other British hitmakers over the years, from Cliff Richard to Pink Floyd to Radiohead, are to be sold by the EMI group. London’s Financial Times describes the sale as an attempt to reduce EMI’s highly publicized debt burden.
The studio gained worldwide fame via the hugely successful albums the Beatles recorded there in the 1960s, specifically the Abbey Road album of 1969 with its iconic cover shot of the band members walking across the pedestrian crossing in the road outside the studio. Although the crossing has since been moved, it still attracts fans from around the world.
The 1831 Georgian town house in the suburbs of north London became the world’s first custom-built recording studio in 1931.
The Financial Times quoted a media lawyer saying, “The brand is worth more than the building … what you have is a very expensive piece of heritage.”
Yesterday (2/17) BBC DJ Chris Evans and former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney both raised the prospect that the building might be purchased by Britain’s National Trust, a government agency that protects special places in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their proposition triggered an immediate outcry from listeners, with many emailing support for the idea. The public has also been voicing widespread support for the idea via Twitter.
‘It’s not often that the public spontaneously suggests that we should acquire a famous building”, said a National Trust spokesman, “However, Abbey Road recording studios appear to be very dear to the nation’s heart – to the extent that we will take soundings as to whether a campaign is desirable or even feasible.”