Using the large garden at the rear, they constructed the world’s first purpose-built recording studios in 1931. On 12 November of that year, following a merge with the Columbia Graphophone Company to form Electric and Musical Industries, EMI Studios were opened in a ceremony that saw Sir Edward Elgar conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Land of Hope and Glory.
Since EMI engineer Alan Blumlein patented stereo at Abbey Road in 1931, the studios have been famed for innovation in recording technology, largely developed by the Record Engineering Development Department (REDD) who were responding to the needs of the artists and producers using the rooms. Their innovations include the REDD and TG desks, as well as studio techniques such as Artificial Double Tracking (ADT), created by studio technician Ken Townsend, who went on to become the studios’ MD, as well as Vice President of EMI Studios Group.
Since those exceptional years, artists from Kate Bush, Radiohead, Oasis, Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Kylie and Muse to Sam Smith, Florence + The Machine, Ed Sheeran, Frank Ocean, Lady Gaga and Adele have made Abbey Road their creative home, producing countless landmark recordings.
As the demand for classical recording spaces declined, Ken Townsend found a new role for the big rooms – movie scores, with the first major film score being Raiders of The Lost Ark in 1981. Since then, Abbey Road has developed into one of the world’s premier destinations for movie scoring. Blockbuster films such as The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, Skyfall, the Harry Potter series and the Oscar-winning Gravity feature scores recorded here, while recent projects include Black Panther, Solo: A Star Wars Story and the multi award winning The Shape of Water.
The studios house a number of state-of-the-art mastering suites, with engineering expertise spanning direct to vinyl and half-speed mastering. Recent projects mastered or re-mastered by Abbey Road’s award-winning engineers include music from The Beatles, Sam Smith, Sade, Abba, Krept & Konan, Graham Coxon, Novelist, Johnny Marr, Roxy Music and The Rolling Stones.
In Spring 2017, in the biggest transformation since first opening, two new contemporary studios were launched - The Gatehouse and The Front Room - making the magic of Abbey Road accessible to a whole new generation of recording artist. They have already hosted artists from James Bay, Jess Glynne, George Ezra and Skrillex to legends like Nile Rodgers plus grime MCs Novelist and Jammer BBK.