2010 – U.K. Declares Abbey Road A Historic Site
February 23, 2010
2010 – With all the talk about EMI possibly selling Abbey Road Studios, the U.K. government has stepped in and declared it a historic site so that no radical changes can be made. Culture Minister Margaret Hodge declared the iconic venue a “Grade II” listed building, which means that although changes to its interior are permitted, any proposed alterations must respect the character and preservation of the site. In a statement, Hodge said the listing had been granted “overwhelmingly on the historic merit of the studios” and because “it has huge cultural importance and a very special place in the hearts of recording artists and music lovers alike.”
“The Abbey Road Studios have been listed in acknowledgement of their outstanding cultural interest and to ensure that recording artists for generations to come can continue to make and record music in the same rooms as musical icons of years gone by,” said Hodge’s statement. “Music – of whichever genre – is the thread that follows us through all our lives and Abbey Road Studios have produced some of the very best music in the world. It’s a testament to both the importance of music in people’s lives as well as the passion this kind of issue stirs up, that so much interest has been generated by the perceived threat to the future of Abbey Road.”
Among those calling for the studios to be saved were Sir Paul McCartney and Andrew Lloyd Webber, who signaled that he was a potential buyer. However, EMI said over the weekend that it did not want to sell Abbey Road, although it was talking to other parties about revitalizing the site. EMI said it had been in discussions since November 2009 to find ways to regenerate the studios.
“EMI confirms that it is holding preliminary discussions for the revitalization of Abbey Road with interested and appropriate third parties,” the company said in the statement. “We believe that Abbey Road should remain in EMI’s ownership.”