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Abbey Road Studio, London, 4 June 2020. Photo by: Carsten Windhorst
Photograph: Carsten Windhorst

Abbey Road Studios has reopened

Musicians from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra returned to the famous studio to record there for the first time since lockdown

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Abbey Road Studios is back to making sweet, sweet music. Yesterday, the studio where The Beatles recorded almost every one of their albums finally reopened for business. The first recording session since lockdown went to Melody Gardot, who was due to record at Abbey Road just before the restrictions were put in place. As Gardot was unable to travel, she plugged in remotely while the members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra played in the studio. 

The lockdown saw Abbey Road studios close operations for the first time in almost 90 years, it even stayed open during World War Two. Thanks to the Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ album cover, it is forever associated with the zebra crossing outside its door, so it’s good to be reminded that Abbey Road is still a working studio, a place where so many other legendary artists have recorded work: Fela Kuti, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Kanye West and Florence + The Machine. 

While the studio has technically reopened, staff are still exercising caution. Where possible, players and studio engineers are wearing masks and social distancing. 

There has been one upside to the closure. The exodus of tourists meant that Westminster Council has finally been able to repaint that zebra crossing. So now, when the crowds return for their photo ops, that monochrome strip of road will be looking good as new. For about a week.

In other music news, the world’s first socially distanced immersive music venue is coming to London.

From virtual orchestras to socially distanced performances, there’s a new look for Proms 2020 at the Royal Albert Hall

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