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Abbey Road: The Best Studio in the World Hardcover – 19 Jul 2012
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Lucid and lavishly illustrated-a fine gift for pop and music history buffs.
Appropriately ambitious biography of the recording studio that gave the world the Beatles' eponymous swan song-but also, lest it be forgotten, the works of Helen Shapiro and Vanessa-Mae.
Helen and Vanessa who? It helps to be a music geek, if not of a certain age, to appreciate the depths of BBC music critic Lawrence's history of Abbey Road studios, which has been online for nearly nine decades now. For those who are not such geeks, then the basic bits of essential knowledge, all to be found in his pages, are these: The studio was built in the heart of St. John's Wood, "London's first garden suburb," in a refitted Georgian mansion, and in those august surroundings was inaugurated under the baton of none other than Edward Elgar, he of "Pomp and Circumstance" fame. It was also a sonic laboratory, a place to test not only gear to help King George VI work through his stutter (the stuff of the hit movie The King's Speech) but also the stereophonic, aurally deceptive goodies that would be put to use in the psychedelic era under the tutelage of good Sir George Martin. Before all that, though, Abbey Road had to make the transition from stuffy classical facility to pop wonderland. If you knew that the first pop hit to emerge from Abbey Road was "Cowpuncher's Cantata" in 1952, then you will not need or profit from Lawrence's considerable labors, but if you did not-or did not know that Pink Floyd, Radiohead and even Mel Gibson recorded here-then this book is certainly worthy of time and exploration. One might quibble with some of his assessments (Was Jeff Beck's Truth really a forerunner of metal? Were the Hollies really just another cover band?), but Lawrence makes up for it with plenty of fine factual writing, especially on the technological side.
Lucid and lavishly illustrated-a fine gift for pop and music history buffs.(Kirkus 2012-10-01) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
The first photographic celebration of the most famous recording studio in the world with a foreword by Sir George Martin.See all Product description
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The book starts back at the beginnings of recorded music and describes how the facilities were developed and updated. It has chapters on the pre-war years, and then a chapter on each decade through to the 2000s. If there is a decade of particular importance to you, you will find memories in these pages. Indeed, many of the photographs and descriptions evoke long-forgotten memories 'oh yes, I remember them ...' The Abbey Road studios were important to thousands of artists and therefore to millions of listeners.
Later chapters include an analysis of experimentation and invention, the unsung staff heroes who held it all together and a brief timeline of the technical developments. These emphasise that the book has been written with great affection and, indeed, pride.
I take the point from other reviewers that there are some omissions, but this doesn't claim to be a textbook. It is an affectionate history of a building that has played a more important role in millions of peoples' lives than they might otherwise realise.
A lovely book to own: five stars.
The book has quotes from Abbey Road staff, including a brilliant one from the producer John Leckie, on page 233 where, to sum it up, he describes Studio 2 as being "designed to be an amplifier." Anyone who has either had the priviledge of being in that room, or really listened properly to music produced in there will understand and agree with this statement.
I would warn ardent Beatles fans that this isn't Beatles-centric, and somewhat bizzarely, there is nothing at all from or about Geoff Emerick, but it will broaden your understanding of what else happens at Abbey Road, and which other artists have passed through its doors.
All in all, a fantastic book for your average music enthusiast.
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