The Beatles ‘Red and Blue’ albums celebrated in Abbey Road Studios.

On 15th November a special event was held in Studio One at Abbey Road Studios to celebrate the release of Now and Then and the ‘Red and Blue’ albums. Just 24 hours before, I received a Facebook message from Apple asking me if I would like to come along and bring some friends. The answer was ‘yes’!

I assumed it was going to be a ‘listening party’ for the new albums – which would have been good enough – but we were treated to so much more!

On arrival we were given special cloth wrist bands and led into Studio One. The huge studio was fittingly bathed in red and blue lighting and looked incredible. We also saw that the Studio was set up for a big orchestra. To start with I thought it was for a following recording session – but on in inspection I saw the Beatles ‘dropped T’ logo on the sheet music and realised it was for us!

Before the orchestra filed in, we were given glasses of wine and ‘red and blue’ cupcakes. We were then invited to pose on the original balcony The Beatles stood on for the Red and Blue album covers. The balcony was originally overlooking the stairwell at EMI house, but when the building was demolished, the balcony was preserved by EMI, and became the property of Universal when they took over the company. Normally it is in Universal’s offices, but was brought to Abbey Road for this special occasion.

The evening was presented by Matt Everitt of the BBC – who introduced us to Giles Martin,

The orchestra then arrived, but before they played, we were shown the ‘Making of Now and Then’ video on a big screen.  Hearing John’s isolated voice in such a hallowed location was breathtaking.

Immediately at the end of the video we were played ‘Now and Then’ – with the 52-piece orchestra playing along with The Beatles, conducted by Ben Foster, who orchestrated Now and Then with Giles – a truly amazing, moving experience.

If the event had ended then, it would have been truly memorable – but no, we were in for much more. Giles Martin told us stories of how his father orchestrated Beatles songs, and the orchestra proceeded to play All You Need Is Love, Something, A Day In the Life, I Am The Walrus, Eleanor Rigby, Yesterday, The Long And Winding Road and Hey Jude – accompanying The Beatles original recordings!!

A highlight was All You Need is Love – which was recorded in that very room on June 25th 1967. Another was the orchestral build-up of A Day in the Life, for which the orchestra donned funny props, just like in the original video. One was wearing a ‘piggie’ head and another a duck!

Amongst the orchestra was drummer and percussionist Tristan Fry – who played on the original version of A Day in the Life.

Giles Martin talked very affectionately about his father’s work with The Beatles.

A surprise inclusion was ‘The Long and Winding Road’, which was orchestrated by Richard Hewson, not George Martin, and was rather controversial at the time, especially with Paul McCartney who wasn’t consulted by the others when Phil Spector recorded it. However I was very moved hearing it in Studio One.

 The evening ended with ‘Hey Jude’. My friends and I had tears in our eyes. A once in a lifetime experience.

The event was filmed by YouTube and will be shown soon.

Blogger Richard Porter in Studio One at Abbey Road Studios.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *