From 1963 to 1969, Abbey Road recording studios were where The Beatles and their legendary producer Sir George Martin worked their music-making magic. It was more than just a recording studio to them. Paul McCartney called it their monastery, and the band named their last recorded album after it.
But there’s even more to Abbey Road’s history than The Beatles. Some of the most accomplished musicians of all time have recorded there, including The London Symphony Orchestra, Pink Floyd, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Kylie and our Cilla. And in 2010, it became an English Heritage site.
If you’ve ever wanted to take a step inside these legendary studios and take a look for yourself, here's some great news. You can now explore it virtually, without having to brave the London traffic and Abbey Road recording studios' security guards.
All you need is your smartphone, a Google Cardboard VR headset and the Inside Abbey Road Cardboard app (free to download on Android, with an iOS version coming soon).
What’s it all about?
Inside Abbey Road might be familiar to some of you already. It actually started as an interactive website created by Google in early 2015.
But now Google has taken things a step further, by repackaging everything into a brand new app deisgned specifically for the Google Cardboard VR headset.
This makes the experience much more immersive. There’s a great mix of imagery and videos that you can now freely look around in glorious 360° virtual reality. Let’s kick things off with the guided tour.
Roll up for the mystery tour…
Your Abbey Road adventure begins with a nine-part guided tour narrated by Giles Martin (son of Sir George Martin), who shares the studio’s history from the 1930s to the present day.
The tour combines 150 different 360° panoramic images that bring everything to life, as you progress through studios one, two and three before being shown the mastering suite.
Go exploring on your own…
When the tour has finished, you can move around the studios at your leisure to unearth loads more fantastic images and videos. Keep a look out for our favourite finds:
- Studio three’s amazing looking mirrored drum room, where the likes of Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse have recorded.
- The London Symphony Orchestra’s recording session taking place in studio one, in surround sound.
- The interactive J37 4-track recorder that gives you a chance to play with the settings and mix your own track.
- A lesson in how to cut vinyl and make a finished record – a real favourite for the vinyl aficionados in The Lowdown office.
If you’ve gone Inside Abbey Road with Google Cardboard yourself, tell us your favourite bits. Did you discover any interesting musical gems that we missed?
And finally, if you're a fan of The Fab Four, check out the Paul McCartney VR app. It gives you a great experience of sharing the stage with Macca and his band during a live show in San Francisco.