Abbey Road: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Famous Recording Studio

Pegasus. Aug. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9781639364312. $28.95. MUSIC
British music journalist Hepworth (Nothing Is Real) reveals the nearly 100-year history of a facility for audio-recording instrumental and vocal performances that began before—and continues after—its association with its most iconic artists, the Beatles. Established in 1931 by Electric and Musical Industries (EMI), the Abbey Road studio has cut albums for classical stars Arturo Toscanini, Igor Stravinsky, and Pablo Casals, as well as pop figures Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Paul Robeson, Judy Garland, Eartha Kitt, Tina Turner, Pink Floyd, Adele, Oasis, and Kanye West. Since 1981, it has also been a major venue for movie scoring. Using the company’s archives, Hepworth traces the studio’s technological trajectory from 78 shellacs and vinyl LPs to audiotapes, CDs, and streaming. On the management side of the industry, the book has much to say about George Martin, the producer, instrumentalist, and mentor to the Fab Four. Abbey’s staff is now approximately 25 percent women, many of whom are engineers.
VERDICT After this substantive look at Abbey Road beyond the famous zebra-stripe crossing album cover, music mavens might also consider Alistair Lawrence’s Abbey Road and Kenneth Womack’s Solid State.
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