I'll save Abbey Road: Andrew Lloyd Webber promises £30m-plus to buy studios

By Sara Nathan and Ben Todd
Last updated at 10:43 AM on 19th February 2010

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Interest: Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber has vowed to buy the Abbey Road studios at any cost to preserve its status as the home of British music.

The composer, who has an estimated fortune of £750million, wants to step in and take ownership of the studios in St John's Wood, North-West London, after troubled record group EMI put the building up for sale.

The showbusiness world has launched a full-scale bid to prevent the site being sold to property developers and being bulldozed.

The studios are steeped in history, with the Beatles recording their greatest hits there and featuring the zebra crossing outside on the cover of their Abbey Road album.

Sir Paul McCartney is 'desperate' for the building to remain a working recording studio. The National Trust has also said it is interested in buying it.

EMI is believed to have turned down an offer of just over £30million and yesterday a source close to Lord Lloyd-Webber said: 'Andrew knows that any offer will have to be north of £30million.

'He wants to buy Abbey Road because it is very dear to his heart. When he records there, he uses an orchestra with up to 90 musicians, and there aren't many places you can do that.'


A spokesman for the composer told the Mail: 'Andrew first recorded there in 1967 with Tim Rice and has since recorded most of his musicals there, from Jesus Christ Superstar to his new musical Love Never Dies.

'He thinks it is vital that the studios are saved for the future of the music industry in the UK. Abbey Road has such great facilities, with three major recording studios.'

Abbey Road Studios

Musical history: The studio building in St John's Wood

The informal leader of the 'Save Abbey Road' campaign is DJ Chris Evans, who believes the studios should be sold to the National Trust, which already owns both Sir Paul's and John Lennon's childhood homes in Liverpool.

However, McCartney wants the building to continue as a recording studio.

A source close to the former Beatle said: 'Sir Paul is desperate to keep Abbey Road open as a working studio.

'Of course, if that could be married with the National Trust's ownership that would be a good scenario.'

The source ruled out Sir Paul, who lives in St John's Wood, rescuing the property himself, saying he was 'not in the business of buying recording studios'.

Dame Fiona Reynolds, director general of the National Trust, said the charity would be interested in buying the property. 

Abbey Road

Iconic: The cover of teh Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road

She said: 'We were absolutely bowled over by Chris Evans, Sir Paul McCartney and other people saying the studios really needed to be saved, and could we help.

'The answer is only if people really want us to and only if they help us. So I really want to know what people think.'

She revealed there had already been interest from the U.S. to help the National Trust purchase the site and said she expected support from Japan as well.

She urged pop legends who have recorded at the studios to help the National Trust secure the building for the nation.

She said: 'Not just The Beatles, but Cliff Richard, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Oasis.

'Maybe they can help us because they are the kind of people who have huge affection for this place.'

Evans is planning to play only records that have been recorded at Abbey Road on his Radio 2 show this morning.

He said: 'All records lead to Abbey Road. We will have a big pre-weekend push in our innocent but sincere efforts to heighten awareness of the importance of saving Abbey Road as a musical landmark.

'The National Trust wants it to happen  -  and has the power to move mountains  -  but only if there is public support. So come on, gang, today is the day.'



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

The comments below have not been moderated.

Surely between the millionaire music producers/musicians/bands/writers/publishers coupled with the National Trust and the Goverment they can throw in a few bob each to preserve what is a 'National Treasure'. It also brings in an awful lot of business to the UK, with all the tourists wanting to have their photo taken on the infamous 'Zebra Crossing'
Like mentioned previously, where else in the music field, other than Gracelands can you name that people worldwide travel to to vist and take photos of.
what would be amazing is if Jay-Z bought it.... Imagine that a US Rapper buying a piece of British Music History. He mastered Glastonbury, he would smash it if he bought Abbey Road !!!! ;-)

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Sir paul seemed quite happy to see others step-in to save abbey road and would receive his "support" according to his phone interview on newsnight.
No doubt he has given to many causes. Yes there are other more worthy causes at the moment than a studio but it'll make a nice memorable musical legacy of his regardless of the mismanagement of the EMI board. Take a leaf out of the generous nature of the gates/buffets and SEE the fruits of their giving while still here and still leave sufficient provision for their families/ other causes.

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Saving Abbey Road should be a necessity, its a musical institution after all and has had so many talanted muscians record in it.

The music of The Beatles especially has inspired me in so many way, giving me hope when despair was all I knew, beautiful music really can mend a torn soul. So anyone with an ounce of soul know the merits in saving Abbey Road.

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Apart from Gracelands where Elvis lived, how many other places can you name where people come from all over the world to visit and just be there, when the reason is pop music. Do you live in London? I used to. Have you ever driven past the studios? Have you ever seen the people sitting on the benches and standing there by the street crossing? Have you ever looked at them to see the multinational features?
I can't understand why all these people can't just get together and do it between them. Apparently Lloyd Webber and McCartney are worth 1.5 billion between them. £30 million would be less to them then you and I buying a penny chew at our local corner shop

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Wouldn't that 30 million be better spent on 'skoolz and ozpitals'?

Why is it that when money is spent on science the nutters claim that it's a waste of money, yet arty farty rubbish is seen as OK to waste money on?

Who cares about Abbey Road? Have you been there, it's a dump and idiots keep walking across that stupid crossing, it should be removed. Someone will get knocked down on it sooner or later.

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COMMENT - Sir Paul is desperate to keep Abbey Road open as a working studio.
Well if he's that desperate then why is he not going to contribute to the cost of saving it?? CHEAPSKATE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not enough publicity if there are others taking some of the limelight? YUK!!!!!!!!!!!
- barbara, Edinburgh, Scotland, 19/2/2010

How do you know that he's not going to put money in WITHOUT all the publicity?

In 2003, he played a personal concert for the wife of a wealthy banker and donated his one million dollars to the charity, no you dont see him spouting off about in the sun like Bono etc.

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