The legendary studios are opening to the public for one week only. Stephen Dalton got a sneak peek
A musty aroma wafts from inside a cramped, windowless room in leafy North London. Considering its legendary reputation, this former air raid shelter looks oddly mundane close up. A handful of free-standing cylinders loom out from the murk, former sewer pipes later repurposed as makeshift acoustic barriers. But there is no magical buzz, no ghostly alchemy, no lingering trace of musical genius.
The echo chamber at Abbey Road’s fabled Studio Two may have revolutionised the sound of 1960s rock, notably on a run of groundbreaking Beatles and Pink Floyd albums, but it stills feels like a charmingly shambolic storage cupboard. Like most of Abbey Road, it is a living testament to the ingenuity of recording engineers in the lo-fi, cut-and-paste, pre-digital age. Behind the faint whiff of rising damp, you can smell the history in here.