One of the beauties of London, both for locals (expats included) and tourists, is that it is full of places that are iconic, for reasons requiring little explanation. Abbey Road Studios is one such place.
But in case you don’t know the real history, the world’s most famous recording studio was established in 1931 and from 1962 to 1970, it was the studio where The Beatles created 90 percent of their records (190 out of 210, to be precise). Obviously, as the original boy band increased in popularity, so too did their girl fans; it is now a rite of passage for visitors to write an homage to The Beatles on the wall outside the building—and the slick coat of white paint it gets every few months only keeps this long-standing tradition alive.
Other notable moments in the history of Abbey Road Studios?
• November 1931: Abbey Road Studios opened, with Sir Edward Elgar conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in Studio One’s first ever session
• September 1944: During WWII, jazz musician Glenn Miller recorded several songs with Dinah Shore; they became his last when his plane was lost over the English Channel several weeks later
• June 1967: The Beatles performed “All You Need is Love” from Studio One to an audience of 350 million people (think the entire population of the United States, and then some)
• 1964-1979: Dame Shirley Bassey recorded the theme songs to Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, and Moonraker at the studios
• 1973-1975: Pink Floyd recorded The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here at Abbey Road Studios
• May 2011: Florence and the Machine spent a month recording Ceremonials in Studio Three; parts of the video for “What the Water Gave Me” (the album’s lead single) were also filmed in the studio
What sets Abbey Road Studios apart from many other British cultural landmarks is that it continues to function in its original capacity while simultaneously updating and modernizing. Indeed, in January 2012, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts announced plans to refurbish the studios’ lounges, with a design aesthetic inspired by The Savoy hotel, which saw its own restoration—the most ambitious in British history—completed in 2010. This month marked the launch of the Savoy-inspired, Fairmont-branded lounges at Abbey Road Studios. The look? Spacious yet intimate, sleek, and elegant.
To celebrate, Fairmont brought its “Sounds of Fairmont” program to Abbey Road Studios. New and emerging EMI artists give live performances at select properties around the world; our treat of the evening was London’s own Jessie Ware. Top knotted and newly engaged (and finally talking about it publicly, thanks to her sister Hannah announcing it during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel!), the sweet songstress performed a set of “outdoor shindig inappropriate” ballads (and we could hardly blame her—she’s appeared in dozens of festivals this summer). Her hit, “Devotion”, had everyone (studio execs included) doing some serious swaying and head-bopping.