I lived for a short period in London in the late 90’s, and one of my regular routes used to be from Chelsea, in the West End, to St. John’s Wood, the bucolic spot where Abbey Road is located. Truth to be told, one of the greatest qualities of Britain’s capital is the Underground – or Tube – system. So, without any technical trouble in the way, you could easily get there in about 15 minutes. The most amazing thing was that I did get to explore the studios a few years later, thanks to friends who worked for EMI (More on that later). It was a dream just being inside the place The Beatles recorded most of their LPs and Paul…Well, Paul has recorded a lot there, too. He does consider EMI Abbey Road Studios sort of his “second home”.
As a matter of fact, anyone familiar to Beatles’ history is aware that Paul McCartney still has a nice Victorian house located a few blocks away from Abbey Road.
Travelling back in time, it’s known that Paul recorded, mixed and mastered a few of the tracks from his first album, McCartney, at Abbey Road, from February-April, 1970. Ram was created mostly at New York’s CBS studios, but its instrumental version Thrillington was done in June, 1971, at Abbey Road. The Wings debut LP, Wings Wild Life, was done in the same venue through August 1971.
Their second disc, Red Rose Speedway, was also partially taped there in 1972. Band On The Run broke the tradition, as it was basically made in Lagos, Nigeria, and finished up at A.I.R, London in 1973. After a hot trip to Nashville to record the single “Junior’s Farm” in 1974, Wings moved to Abbey Road to shoot One Hand Clapping and The Backyard shows. The work continued with the recording of a few Venus and Mars tracks in November.
Wings left England again in January, 1975, to continue working on Venus and Mars at Sea Saint, New Orleans. Later that year, the band returned to Abbey Road to cut “The Note You Never Wrote”, that would be featured on Wings At The Speed Of Sound (also quickly laid down in 1976 at EMI).
The sessions for London Town, started off in Abbey Road in February 1977, but soon moved to the sunny Virgin Islands. Paul and band wrapped it up at London’s EMI and A.IR Studios later that year. The last Wings album, Back To The Egg, was also recorded in several places. Its monster track, “Rockestra Theme”, was done inside Abbey Road, October 1978, along with a few other tracks.
Flying solo again, McCartney II was taped in the Summer 79’ down in Sussex and Scotland, but mastered at Abbey Road. The disc’s follow-ups Tug Of War and Pipes Of Peace were both produced by George Martin at A.I.R Studios, London and Montserrat, from November, 1980 to November, 1982. Some of the songs included on Give My Regards To Broad Street were also recorded at Abbey Road, from 1982 to 1984.
Abbey Road would be rarely visited from 1985 on, since Paul finally opened his own The Mill studios for business in Sussex. Over there, his 1986’ Press To Play was built brick by brick. His next records (Flowers In The Dirt (1989), Off The Ground (1993) and Flaming Pie (1997)) also saw the light of the day, with a few exceptions, at The Mill.
Tracks such as “Beautiful Night” and “Calico Skies”, for example, were partially cut at Abbey Road. His second The Fireman disc, Rushes, was done at The Mill, too, but Paul served his fans with a cool webcast taped inside Abbey Road, in 1998.
After Linda’s death, Run Devil Run – the rock and roll 1999’ album – was made there, too, but Driving Rain was a L.A album, released in 2001. Paul’s latest studio efforts: Chaos And Creation In The Backyard and Memory Almost Full, released in 2005 and 2007, respectively, were conceived in a number of venues, including RAK and A.I.R, in London, and Ocean Way and Henson, in Los Angeles.
Finally, The Fireman’s third release Electric Arguments, is also a The Mill product, recorded with the help of producer Youth, and released in late 2008.
Of course, Paul has done a lot more in the Abbey Road facilities. But that will have to wait for another post…