Saturday, 6 March 2010


One of the biggest pieces of music related news around the Western half of London recently was the rumour EMI were to sell their Abbey Road Studio for property developers to turn into luxury flats. This attracted outrage across the media spectrum and the Government rushed through a Grade II protected status on the studios in popular response. But should the studios be protected in their current state?

Abbey Road has been the site of many historic British music recordings, from the composer Elgar, who opened the studios in 1931, to the first European recorded rock’n’roll single (Cliff Richard and the Drifters “Move It”) through to the groundbreaking album “Dark Side of the Moon” by local band Pink Floyd. Between the fey pop rock’n’roll of Cliff Richard and the space rock sounds of Pink Floyd stood the most famous residents of 5 Abbey Road. The Beatles laid down almost every studio recording they made at Abbey Road studios, named their final recorded album for the studio and announced “All you need is Love” live to the world in 1967. After the late 70’s, the studios most high-profile use was in recording film scores for British-filmed movies Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark, until it was “rediscovered” by British bands in the mid-to-late 90’s British rock boom. The recorded sounds produced at Abbey Road have doubtless inspired millions of people, both as fans and anti-fans (Malcolm McLaren recruited John Lydon to the Sex Pistols on the strength of his "I Hate Pink Floyd" T-Shirt). It is undeniable 5 Abbey Road is the site of some the most important cultural artifacts of post-war 20th century Britain. But will protecting it positively contribute to an emerging music scene?

I hope this protected status doesn’t freeze the studios into a fixed nostalgic point. Instead it could become part of a network of people, places and events which are to be celebrated as part of our cultural heritage to inspire image and sound into the future. Groove Grove Graphics aims to be a part of this and tell the story of the surprisingly large number of people, places and events associated with music in West London.

(Photo: Kerry Riordan)

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