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Abbey Road not for sale

EMI want to retain ownership of the iconic studios

  • 21/02/2010
  • Ruth Barnes and Victoria Hannaford

The struggling record label EMI has issued a statement about the future of its Abbey Road recording studios in west London – saying it does not intend to sell the site.

After days of speculation about the fate of the iconic locale, the label released the statement saying it believes the studios should remain under its ownership.

Public outcry followed reports that it may sell Abbey Road, but  the company now says it rejected an offer for the building last year and is in talks about a project to "revitalise" the studios which "would involve a substantial injection of new capital".

EMI also said it welcomed reports that English Heritage planned to list Abbey Road, a step that would make it very hard for any developer to do anything radical to the site. A report in weekend paper The Times claim that the body's chairwoman, Baroness Andrews, will confirm to culture minister Margaret Hodge next week they'll stand by a previous recommendation that the studios be given Grade II listed status. It's a move designed to stop them being turned into flats.

The trust also said that it had received unprecedented public support to step in and preserve the studios.

The campaign to save the save the site had been gathering momentum over the past week. A spokesperson for Andrew Lloyd Webber issued a statement saying that the musical theatre mogul would be 'very interested in buying Abbey Road Studios.'

The studios were made famous by the likes of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Maria Callas, Elgar and comedian Arthur Askey, with the zebra crossing at the front of the building is regularly used by tourists and music fans from across the world to recreate the iconic Beatles cover for their 1969 album Abbey Road.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's spokesperson had said he was "very interested in buying Abbey Road Studios.

"He first recorded there in 1967 with Tim Rice. Andrew has since recorded most of his musicals there, from Jesus Christ Superstar to his new musical Love Never Dies."

"He thinks it is vital that the studios are saved for the future of the music industry in the UK."

Spokesperson for Andrew Lloyd Webber

Fears were centred around the potential sale of the studios to property developers.

The National Trust had earlier expressed concern about protecting the site's legacy. The charity said in a statement that "if there is enough momentum, we may launch a campaign to save the studios".

Prior to that, Radio 2's Chris Evans started an unofficial campaign and this morning posted on Twitter: "Lord Lloyd Webber saves the day. Good Lord - Good News. Abbey Road for ever thanks to The Webber. Peace and Love."

Sir Paul McCartney, had told the BBC he hoped the studios could be saved.

"I do know that there have been a few people who have been associated with the studio for a long time who were talking about mounting some bid to save it, and you know I sympathise with them.

"Obviously, I've got so many memories there with the Beatles, and it still is a great studio, so it would be lovely for someone to get a thing together to save it."

Lloyd-Webber's statement ended with an added plaudit for the studios ability to accommodate large sessions, particularly orchestras for soundtracks:

"Abbey Road has such great facilities, with three major recording studios, and Andrew has probably brought more musicians to record there than anyone else, because it has the capacity to record large orchestral productions."

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