Inside the Studio

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Steve Sutherland  |  Nov 05, 2021
From The Beatles to Kate Bush, Sir Edward Elgar to Kayne West... this year sees the north London studio celebrate 90 years of history and hits. Steve Sutherland on Abbey Road

We could begin at 8.54pm on the 25th of June 1967, when the cameras cut to the studio about 40 seconds earlier than expected to discover producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick scrambling to hide a bottle of Scotch whisky beneath the mixing desk. They'd been taking a tot to calm their nerves before the tricky task of mixing the audio for the live worldwide broadcast of The Beatles' contribution to Our World, the first ever live global television link.

Steve Sutherland  |  Apr 08, 2021
From the Stones to the Sex Pistols, and early Pink Floyd... Steve Sutherland tells the story of one of the world's pre-eminent studios, beginning with its turbulent past

It's the volcano that finally does for them. Hurricane Hugo, the tropical cyclone which struck in 1989 had been bad enough, of course, wiping out whole villages, cutting off all power supplies, tearing the roof off 90% of the buildings, killing ten and seriously injuring 89 citizens, and making 11,000 of the island's 12,000 population effectively homeless.

Steve Sutherland  |  Jan 07, 2022
It was where Big Star were born, Primal Scream embraced the Blues, and Isaac Hayes made Hot Buttered Soul. Steve Sutherland has the story of Ardent Studios in Memphis

Over there in the corner is a teetering tower of folding chairs. On the chairs are sheets of glass. And around the tower are something like 100 microphones, all set up and ready to capture what comes next. And what comes next is cacophony as the band hurl cinder blocks at the tower in an attempt to simulate the sound of a car crash.

Steve Sutherland  |  Aug 05, 2022
As much a community as a recording complex, Bearsville gave birth to albums as diverse as The Band's Cahoots and Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell. Steve Sutherland has the story...

His ultimate weapon was silence. Which was weird considering his vocation in life was managing musicians. Don't get me wrong, Albert could curse and scream and bully and belittle with the best of them, but when all the histrionics were getting him nowhere he'd just clam up and stare like a statue. For a very long time. Which usually freaked everyone out and then, of course, they'd accede and he'd get what he came for.

Steve Sutherland  |  Apr 29, 2022
Synonymous with legends such as Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Nat King Cole, this studio in Hollywood has a pedigree spanning over 60 years. Steve Sutherland on Capitol...

Imagine if Jimi Hendrix had decided to release an album that wouldn't feature any guitar. Or that John Coltrane announced a long player sans any sax. Or Miles Davis did an LP on which you didn't hear one toot of horn. Madness, right? No way José.

Steve Sutherland  |  Oct 08, 2021
Built by Jimi Hendrix, this studio is not only steeped in rock history but is still used by the top recording artists of today. Steve Sutherland catches the Greenwich Village vibes

The sum was $1,032,425.26. That's how much, in today's money, that his engineer Eddie Kramer reckons Jimi Hendrix was paying every year renting studio time in the late 1960s. And that's why, when Hendrix and his manager Michael Jeffery told Kramer they'd bought a venue at 52 West 8th Street in New York's Greenwich Village and were planning to turn it into a nightclub, he told them they were crazy.

Steve Sutherland  |  Sep 21, 2021
Founded by two brothers in the 1960s, this German studio was where David Bowie, Depeche Mode and U2 made much of their best music. Steve Sutherland has the story

There were pieces of me laying all over the floor.' That's how David Bowie remembered 1976. Living – though that's hardly the word – on a diet of milk, red peppers and cocaine, every successive alias he ditched – Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, The Man Who Fell To Earth – had been like shedding a layer of skin. And now, what's left of him is a skeletal ghost, a fading shadow of his former selves.

Steve Sutherland  |  Jun 10, 2022
The Four Tops, Jackson Five, The Supremes... they all cooked up classics in a studio so small they called it 'the snake pit'. Steve Sutherland has the lowdown on Motown

Even a genius can have an off day, and this was turning out to be one of them. Berry Gordy was in his office in LA and was shaking his head in dismay. 'No', he kept repeating. 'No.' The recipient of his negativity was Marvin Gaye, who had flown in from Motown's Studio A in Detroit to play his boss what he'd planned as his prospective next single.

Steve Sutherland  |  Jul 15, 2022
Elvis, The Everly Brothers, Dolly Parton, Jim Reeves... Steve Sutherland tells the story of the home of a thousand hits – the recording studio that gave birth to the Nashville Sound

Dolly was in one heck of a hurry. She was running late for a recording session and if there was one thing that Dolly wasn't ever, it was late. Not only that, this was her debut appointment at Nashville's RCA Studios and she didn't want them thinking bad of her for being tardy.

Steve Sutherland  |  May 14, 2021
Talk about a room with a view... This radical recording studio is unusual with its control and live areas occupying the same space. Steve Sutherland tells the story of its genesis

What's the worst album ever made by a great band? I used to think it was Thank You, the cover versions LP released in 1995 by Duran Duran which, somewhat hilariously, found them stumbling through cack-handed versions of Melle Mel's 'White Lines (Don't Do It)' and Public Enemy's '911 Is A Joke' among its many abominations.

Steve Sutherland  |  Feb 16, 2021
Steve Sutherland kicks off a new series with the story of a farmhouse that became the world's first residential recording studio, and a home to hitmakers for over 50 years

The TV was out the window, still plugged in… The double-bed was broken in half... It was just like a hand-grenade had gone off in the room... The whole studio got smashed to pieces, the living room, everything got blitzed… There were smashed windows… just devastation…'

Steve Sutherland  |  Aug 20, 2021
In 1968 the band's road manager proposed putting a control room in a van, so creating the world's first independent mobile recording studio. Steve Sutherland hitches a ride...

We all came out to Montreux/On the Lake Geneva shoreline/To make records with a mobile/We didn't have much time/ We ended up at the Grand Hotel/It was empty cold and bare/But with the Rolling truck Stones thing just outside/Making our music there...'

Steve Sutherland  |  Dec 17, 2021
Beginning life in East London, SARM's name is synonymous with artists keen to use the latest tech to push the potential of sound to excite. Steve Sutherland has the story...

The Boy couldn't get out of bed. The phone rang. And rang. And rang again. The boy turned over, tugged the pillow down hard over his head, and fell back asleep. The phone rang. And rang. And rang again. Eventually the ringing roused him. He'd had a heavy night and was feeling rough. He answered the phone. The voice on the other end, Irish, cursed him.

Steve Sutherland  |  Mar 16, 2021
Used by Oasis, Muse and a raft of acclaimed indie artists along the way, this studio set in a secluded creek boasts a unique creative atmosphere. Steve Sutherland explains why

Leaving the main stream, they passed into what seemed at first sight like a little land-locked lake. Green turf sloped down to either edge, brown snaky tree-roots gleamed below the surface, while ahead of them the silvery shoulder and foamy tumble of a weir, arm-in-arm with a restless dripping mill-wheel filled the air with a soothing murmur of sound... It was so very beautiful that the Mole could only hold up both forepaws and gasp, "O my! O my! O my!"'.

Steve Sutherland  |  Jun 09, 2021
Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis... Steve Sutherland tells the tale of a studio housed in an old auto glass repair shop that is now called the birthplace of rock 'n' roll

Surely the most charming argument in the whole of cinema history is the one between the two impossibly stylish Japanese teenagers in the opening segment of Jim Jarmusch's 1989 indie triptych Mystery Train. The lovers are on a pilgrimage from their home town Yokohama to Memphis. Youki Kudoh's Mitsuko is obsessed with Elvis Presley and insists they visit Graceland as soon as their train arrives.

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