Published: Friday, February 19, 2010
LONDON — The National Trust could buy and preserve the Abbey Road studios — where the Beatles recorded many of their classics — after an outpouring of public concern over its possible demolition, the British heritage-protection charity said Thursday.
Anxious not to see it fall into private hands, many people have contacted the National Trust asking that it buy the London landmark, the charity said. It has been put up for sale by cash-strapped record company EMI.
There had already been an “astonishing outpouring” of public support for the idea and it is possible the agency may intervene if it is clear the public wants more Beatles sites protected, trust spokesman John Hewitt said.
The campaign to save Abbey Road studios — which could be sold and turned into upscale housing in the St. John’s Wood neighborhood in North London — was spurred by former Beatle Paul McCartney and prominent disc jockey Chris Evans.
McCartney, who has long had a house near the studios, said on a national news broadcast earlier this week that he would be delighted if the building could be saved. He said some people long associated with the studio were considering an effort to preserve it.
McCartney did not, however, offer to put up the cash himself — the studios are thought to be worth between 10 million pounds ($16 million) and 30 million pounds ($48 million).
Abbey Road has become an important part of Beatles lore, in part because of the 1969 album named after the recording studio. The crosswalk in front of the building was immortalized on the album cover, and many fans visit the site each year.
Since The Beatles’ heyday, Abbey Road has been one of the world’s most famous rock music studios, used by such artists as Pink Floyd, McCartney, George Harrison, Jeff Beck and Radiohead.
But EMI has been unable to find a buyer for the studio, in part because recording technology now permits many artists to conduct their own sessions at home using personal computers.
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