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Went to Abbey Road yesterday - Studio 2 in fact!!
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26 April 2014
3.23pm
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Ron Nasty
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Yay! Joe has a stalker!

If anyone was gonna find him crossing Abbey Road it would have to be AG!

AR is a remarkable place for those not lucky enough to have been inside. It's almost Tardis-like when you get the chance to explore. It reminds me of those scenes where, in recent years, you have new companions running in, gasping, running back outside and walking around it to check the brain isn't playing tricks.

I was lucky enough to go to the original 1983 opening.

I was even luckier when a friend's band spent three days (actually nights) recording in #2 in 1992-ish. (I'm bad on dates in my life!) I was there for every session and could wander (virtually) unhindered!

Hope you have had a great day, @Joe. Have a very happy Berkdave - 

     Happy Berkdave to you
     Happy Berkdave to you
     Happy Berkdave dear founder
     Happy Berkdave to you-oo-ooo!

Looking forward too your thoughts on your visit.

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26 April 2014
5.40pm
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TheOneBeatleManiac
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Here I uploaded a video capture from the Abbey Road webcam of Joe crossing Abbey Road. (The video is unlisted so you can only see it through here):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2FU3hQrKZk

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Let me take you down 'cause I'm going to...Strawberry Fields.

26 April 2014
6.35pm
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Ahhh Girl
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TheOneBeatleManiac said

Here I uploaded a video capture from the Abbey Road webcam of Joe crossing Abbey Road. (The video is unlisted so you can only see it through here):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2FU3hQrKZk

Can you capture the whole 3:14?

26 April 2014
7.00pm
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Ahhh Girl
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TheOneBeatleManiac said

Ahhh Girl said

Can you capture the whole 3:14?

I think I can though I have some time constraints; if I am not wrong at the first two minutes or so, Joe is taking pictures on the left side, then disappears and comes back a couple of minutes later to do the crossing and walk towards the webcam (this bit is what I recorded only).

Yes, you have it right. See this post and the one after it.

If you have a time constraint, can you make capture it in three sections? I videoed the screen with my cell phone. The quality is pretty good, but having the video your way too would be great.

26 April 2014
7.41pm
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meanmistermustard
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A 2 minute video!! So we all now know that you dont tell anyone here if you go across the Abbey Road crossing. 

 

Hope you had a fab day inside such a sacred dwelling Joe.

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26 April 2014
9.34pm
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TheOneBeatleManiac
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Sorry for the delay, here it is the 2 minutes where Joe appeared on the Abbey Road webcam.

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Let me take you down 'cause I'm going to...Strawberry Fields.

27 April 2014
10.44pm
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Linde
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Never realized that Abbey Road is such a busy street. I mean, when I was there there were some cars, but not that much. Perhaps I was lucky. Look at how many cars go by in that 2 minute video. How could you ever get a pic taken in that situation?

Must be very frustrating to work nearby too. Everytime you get hold up because of some tourists who come to take pictures of the crossing.

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28 April 2014
7.43am
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edwardr2000
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Attended the talk on Friday 25th at 3pm. It was my third visit to Abbey Road. Interestingly, the later talk at 8pm was not sold out and tickets were on sale at the door for £50. According to http://www.seetickets.com there are still tickets available for this weekend. If you are in London on the day you might just get a "bargain".

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28 April 2014
9.53am
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Joe
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Hahaha! Who's that skinny guy loping around the zebra crossing? Oh yeah, it's me!

@TheOneBeatleManiac and @Ahhh Girl - thank you so much! That's amazing. It's funny seeing yourself wandering around like that. I forgot there was a webcam on the crossing.

I was taking photos on my phone for Twitter, and again with the DSLR for better-quality. I'm a terrible photographer so I really only do point-and-click stuff.

Incidentally, when I disappeared off the bottom-left of the picture I actually stood in the middle of the road for a short while, taking photos of the monument and the other view of the crossing. I quite like seeing pics like that. When I stood in the Hamburg doorway where Lennon's Rock 'N' Roll album cover shot was taken, I also took pics of what he would have seen while standing there (not a particularly interesting scene, though).

I was going to go straight in to the studio after taking the monument pics, but it's daft not to actually walk over the zebra crossing, isn't it?

I still don't know where the webcam is mounted. There's a bus stop outside the studio - it might be somewhere there, or on a lamp post. Next time I'm there I'll look for it.

I'll write up some thoughts on Studio Two when I get the chance. I haven't gone through my pics yet but I'll upload some more soon. In the meantime here's the Twitter feed:

I didn't post any more. I took some grainy shots of Ken Scott at the end but they weren't good enough to tweet. I've got better ones on my proper camera.

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28 April 2014
1.53pm
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Joe
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Compulsory spoiler alert for anyone who is planning to go: there are spoilers ahead.

The talk was by Brian Kehew and Kevin Ryan, authors of Recording The Beatles (Brian did most of the talking). It was a PowerPoint-style talk, two hours long, including the origins of EMI, how they bought 3 Abbey Road, converted it to studios, early recording methods, the dawn of multitrack and stereo, the move from classical and easy listening into pop, how the layout of the studios changed over the years and how Studios 1, 2 and 3 sounded different (they had clips of one of the studio staff playing a snare drum inside each studio and you could really hear the tonal difference).

Then there was a big section on The Beatles, going from the early recordings and tracing how they changed things over the years. About midway through Ken Scott was introduced, and he told a few anecdotes - not much that isn't in his book Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust. Ken seemed like a lovely man.

He did tell a new story about how Ringo overdubbed layers of snare drums to bulk up the five "Blap blap" bits on Glass Onion. When they were overdubbing the recorder part he accidentally erased the snare overdubs that came just before it, leaving just Ringo's original part. Ken said he was convinced he'd be thrown off the session but John Lennon, who was sitting next to him at the console, said "Y'know, people would expect the drum bit to be bigger, coming straight after the loudest bit of the song. I quite like how it's underplayed." So that's why one of the "blap blap" bits is quieter than the rest - Ken hit Record rather than Play at a crucial point.

Brian invited some people from the audience to play the final A Day In The Life chord on three different pianos. It was amazing how the three instruments combined to make something so instantly familiar. He also said how The Beatles really liked the soft tone of the Challen upright, then played the opening chords of The Fool On The Hill on it. So good to hear it right there, in Studio Two.

There were some other interesting audio samples, including Lennon's vocals on LITSWD without varispeed (he sang it about a tone lower than it sounds on playback) or phasing. They also spoke about the Mellotron, and demonstrated some preset sounds including the Spanish guitar at the beginning of Bungalow Bill. They also played some Mellotron preset rhythms that sounded a lot like the bossanova in You Know My Name (Look Up The Number), but they didn't say whether it was the same - I suspect it was.

Ken spoke about other engineers and producers at Abbey Road, including a clip of Norman Smith telling the George Harrison/George Martin "I don't like your tie" anecdote. People laughed politely, but really, is there a single Beatles fan left who hasn't heard that a hundred times before? I always think of this, from the sketch show Big Train:

There was a bit at the end where they spoke about how Abbey Road Studios has changed into the 21st century, with film scores, digital recording and whatnot. At one point they mentioned how EMI had considered getting rid of Studio One altogether and turning it into a car park, but common sense prevailed.

The biggest jaw-dropping bit for me was when they showed an advert from the 1980s, where the studio auctioned off a load of old recording consoles "used by The Beatles to record Sgt Pepper!", tape machines and even John Lennon's Mellotron. I knew they'd sold bits of kit back in the day but the sheer scale of it was amazing, as was the absence of foresight that this stuff would be worth millions in future.

Afterwards I bought Ted a "Future Engineer" t-shirt. They had some books, mugs, mousemats etc on sale but I didn't need anything. Ken Scott was signing autographs and meeting fans - the bloke in front of me got his Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane LPs signed. I got my book signed by Ken and shook his hand, but didn't really stay for a chat. Afterwards I thought of half a dozen things I wished I'd asked, but never mind.

It was very well done. Tickets were quite expensive but I think it was worth it. At the beginning they had a show of hands asking who had never been inside Abbey Road Studios before, and almost everyone put a hand up. For a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, £100 isn't that bad.

I'll post some more photos at some point. I met my dad afterwards for lunch and he took my pic in the entrance to the studio building.

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2 May 2014
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