Will Sir Paul McCartney rescue the Shrine to The Beatles?

February 18, 2010

abbey-roadIt  is almost inconceivable, but just possible, that the EMI Executives will sell Abbey Road Studios to the Arabs to transport brick by brick to Dubai to become a luxury apartment in the desert.

On the surface this seems absurd, but history tells us that similar crimes have been committed to iconic landmarks in the UK, notably London Bridge moving to a new home in the USA and the original Cavern in Matthews St, Liverpool being demolished and tarmac-ed over as a car park. Admittedly these shortsighted acts of vandalism took place in the late 1960s / early 1970s, when we were still immunised by large swathes of our cities being laid waste by the Luftwaffe!!

Abbey Road Studios was immortalised in 1969 by The Beatles striding across the zebra crossing outside the studios, on the front cover of the album of the same name. However it’s history goes back much further than The Beatles and their 1960s escapades. EMI bought No3 Abbey Road for £100-000 in 1929 and transformed it into the world’s first state of the art, custom built recording studio. As early as 1931 Sir Edward Elgar graced the corridors of this elegant Georgian house, using Studio One to record “Land of Hope and Glory” with The London Symphony Orchestra.  Of course that became one of the great national anthems during the war years, which saw the studios used for Government propaganda recordings and BBC radio broadcasts.

Ultimately and fittingly EMI’s Abbey Road Studios will best be remembered as home from home in the 1960s for George Martin and John, Paul, Ringo and George – The Beatles recorded 90% of their back catalogue in this majestic building, situated in the leafy surburban environs of St John’s Wood, London NW8.

In a month that has seen further asset stripping of national institutions with the sale of Cadburys, it will stick in the national throat if this venerable building does not remain the Shrine to The Beatles and global tourist attraction it is. However there is already a salutory and ironic tale in the history of Abbey Road.  In 1874 The Abbey Road and St John’s Wood Permanent Benefit Building Society was formed. Later it was understandably abbreviated to the Abbey National!  In 2008 it was sold to the Spanish banking conglomerate, Santander!!

Having bailed out our own banks, maybe Abbey Road Studios near neighbours in the City of Westminster, based in The Houses of Parliament, will come to the rescue and buy the building as a national monument. Failing that our only hope is that the spirit of Edward Elgar or John Lennon visits the decisionmakers in The National Trust or Sir Paul McCartney and persuades one of them to intervene…….

Top 20 Most Seminal / Groundbreaking Albums recorded at Abbey Road Studios in the last 50 years  ( 1960 to 2010 ) –

5 responses to “Will Sir Paul McCartney rescue the Shrine to The Beatles?”

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  4. Carole Gebo says:

    Paul McCartney is a true superstar…both of yesteryear and today!

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