Whatever happened to Decca Studios?

When The Beatles couldn’t agree to visit Everest for a photo shoot for their final album which they intended to name after the mountain and instead named it after the studio in which they had recorded much of their wonderful music, they bequeathed upon Abbey Road the greatest marketing gift of all time. Abbey Road Studios is still going strong and approaching its 80th bithday in rude health.

But there was another recording monster on the block in London in the 1960’s. Decca Studios at Broadhurst Gardens was the home of many great recordings and had the equipment and a team of engineers to rival The Beatles Studio. Take a look at this picture of Decca Studio 3 which was forwarded by a former Decca engineer “to prove Abbey Road No.1 (its rival for recording orchestra’s) was nothing special”

But whilst there is much information about Abbey Road, there is little on the web about Decca Studios, other than that it was the venue for The Beatles audition with Decca in 1962 – which they failed. Its Wikipedia entry doesn’t even list opening and closing dates for the studio (the building is now rehearsal space for ENO). I believe Decca owned the studios from 1920 until 1980 which means it predates Abbey Road by 11 years. Can that be right? Does anybody out there have more information, pictures, videos of the great Decca Studios?

I did find this picture of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli recording in Decca Studio 2 in 1938:

Roger Chaput, Naguine, Django, Eugène Vées, Stéphane Grappelli, Louis Vola

Please get in touch with your memories of Decca Studios. And see here for an obituary for former Decca staffer, Kevin Daly.

Happy Birthday Brian Eno. Born on this day in 1948.

Lest we forget, the mavericks that forged the history of recorded sound did not die out in the first half of the twentieth century…..one or two are still playing around. None more famously and successfully so than Brian Eno, to whom we raise a celebratory glass on his birthday today.

Eno has twiddled his fair share of knobs and has prodded sound recording into new areas. This is an interesting interview from circa 1980 where he is talking about a new-fangled video disc and what it might offer a world where (American) TV has gone mad. In it he looks back at the revolution sound recording made up music’s place in the world. It’s worth a watch. He could have been describing the work of Edison, Gaisberg and the audio pioneers:

“The important thing about tape is that it transformed something [i.e. music] that existed in time and therefore wasn’t durable into something that existed in space [i.e. a physical medium] and is durable and is not only durable but malleable in lots of different ways”

Eno would take video and the new malleability of recorded sound to create “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts” with David Byrne which pioneered sampling techniques and nudged electronic music into a number of new directions.

He also invented the term “ambient music” and used recording technology and the physical medium of the LP record to spread it round the world.