Saturday, February 27, 2010

Historic Rooftop Beatles Concert Locale Threatened

By Brenne Meirowitz

At the time of the infamous Abbey Road Studios rooftop Beatles concert, George Harrison was several weeks shy of his 26th birthday. The rooftop concert was performed at the end of January 1969 at Abbey Road Studios, in the fashionable London district of St. John's Wood.

Other famous artists and musical groups who have recorded there are David Gilmour and Pink Floyd, David Bowie, U2, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Andre Previn, Yehudi Menhuin, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Major motion picture soundtracks such as Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Star Wars Episodes I II III V and VI, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the Harry Potter film series were recorded at Abbey Road.

Despite it being nominated as 'Studio of the Year' by the magazine Music Week, EMI has not been able to keep the studio profitable and intends to sell it. The award ceremony is to take place on April 15. Paul McCartney, who has also recorded at the studio in non-Beatle projects, has not made public any offers, but has been vocal with his support to keep it open and running, rather than being converted into apartment buildings as some rumors have suggested.

Other sources quote an Andrew Lloyd Webber representative as stating that Sir Webber will buy the ailing studio at any cost. Additional speculation includes s possible purchase by the British National Trust, which would protect the building, but not necessarily keep it operating.

In 2007, Abbey Road Studios was taken over by Terra Firma, a private equity firm, although it continues to operate. It is the world's oldest operating recording studio, having opened its doors in 1931. The studio's website has posted its plans to open an online store, featuring t-shirts, laptop cases, and notebooks. If the store goes over well, the studio will expand its line of exclusively designed products. Perhaps it will coincide with George's birthday, who was born on February 25, 1943 in Liverpool, England. George was the youngest of the four Beatles and passed away from lung cancer on November 29, 2001; John Lennon was murdered on December 8, 1980. The Crossing, a private garden and restaurant, now operates where the 1969 rooftop Beatles concert took place.

In order to further improve its bottom line, the studio recently partnered with SoundCloud, an online music service founded in 2008. The service offers musicians and producers the opportunity to have their music mastered by Abbey Road engineers from anywhere in the world. There does not be a provision for users to upload files directly to Abbey Road; they must open an account with both SoundCloud and Abbey Road Online Mastering. Once the accounts are established, files are uploaded from SoundCloud to their Abbey Road account. Files must be in uncompressed stereo WAV or AIFF file formats. The cost is currently $139 per track or whatever the current exchange rate of £90 comes out to be.

On January 3, 1970 - a year later and almost to the day following the rooftop Beatles concert, the Beatles recorded their last song together as group - recording George's I Me Mine. George completed his first and perhaps greatest solo album All Things Must Pass several months later in Studio 3. As we remember George this year, many of us are actively trying to prevent Abbey Road Studios from being dismantled.

Written by Brenne Meirowitz, B.A., M.S., M.A. This article, Historic Rooftop Beatles Concert Locale Threatened was written while researching information about Rooftop Beatles Concert.

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1 comment:

  1. The rooftop concert was performed on the roof of APPLE studios, not Abbey Road. Dave G