Whether you’re an experienced musician or not, the imagery and make-up of a typical recording studio is engrained into most people’s brains. After all, many music videos are set in or around music studios or at least give us a glimpse at them, bands occasionally like to do live performances like in the case of Live from Abbey Road, and This is Spinal Tap gave us enough of a comedic insight to the musical world in general. No matter what band or musician you may be, there isn’t much of a chance of having any of your material released if it hasn’t been recorded and transformed into distributable media form; visiting a recording studio is therefore a must if you are a band that wants to lay down tracks for an album. Due to the resulting fame of the artists that have recorded in them, some studios have more of a reputation than others and are more instantly recognisable to the general public. Here is a list of some world-famous recording studios that have reached iconic status amongst musicians and the general public alike.
Monnow Valley Studios, Wales, UK
As one of the lesser known but insanely beautiful studios in the bunch, I feel Monnow Valley Studios requires the top place in this list. This isn’t because it is the most famous but from personal experience, is one of the most incredible studios to record at bar none. Set in the wonderfully scenic surroundings of Monmouth in Wales, this studio has accommodation, a practice hall, and a grand hall that provides a huge space for recording as well as lots of space for ambient microphones to sit in, providing a richer and more well-rounded sound. With clients including Led Zeppelin, Oasis, Stereophonics, Biffy Clyro, and The Darkness over the past 30 years, this studio has been host to some of the biggest names in music. If you look under the isolated sections of soundproofing material that litter the walls, you will find the signatures of many these artists, adding to the humbling and surreal nature of recording there.
There is no such thing as a top studios list that doesn’t contain Abbey Road, and if there is then you should question the list’s legitimacy and worthiness of being a list in the first place. Abbey Road was of course immortalised by the Beatles and since then has been a recording space by the likes of Kate Bush, Pink Floyd, and Radiohead.
Real World Studios, Wiltshire
This is Peter Gabriel’s studio and is quite the luxurious space for recording in, offering some unbelievably beautiful surroundings and housed within a grand building that has been an inspiration for artists such as Amy Winehouse, Arctic Monkeys, and of course Peter Gabriel himself.
Located in a humble building in Detroit, Hitsville USA has allowed artists to lay down tracks and propel their careers to unimaginable heights. Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, and The Jackson Five have all recorded there, making it an often overlooked but hugely iconic studio.
Sunset Sound, Los Angeles.
This is another studio that isn’t particularly on the tips of people’s tongues when asked to name famous studios but the fact that The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Counting Crows, and Tom Waits have recorded there is testament to its reputation.
Olympic Studios, London
It’s difficult to name an artist who hasn’t recorded in this studio, suffice it to say that it is probably the very best recording studio to have the pleasure of recording in, particularly in terms of sound quality and fantastic surroundings for musicians to be inspired by. Don’t just listen to me though: Jimi Hendrix, The Eagles, The Who, and Queen can (or would have if some of them were alive) attest to this fact as well.