Beatle McCartney hopes for Abbey Road studios rescue

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The Independent Culture

Former Beatle Paul McCartney has spoken of his hopes that the band's historic Abbey Road studios could be saved after reportedly being put up for sale by British music group EMI.

"There are a few people who have been associated with the studio for a long time who were talking about mounting some bid to save it," McCartney told BBC television Tuesday.

"I sympathise with them. I hope they can do something, it'd be great."

The Financial Times has reported that EMI put the north London studios up for sale in an effort to reduce its debts.

They have been used by a long line of artists since the Fab Four made them famous and their sale could raise tens of millions of pounds, said the business daily.

"I have got so many memories there with the Beatles," said McCartney.

"It still is a great studio. So it would be lovely if somebody could get a thing together to save it."

EMI has declined to comment, but the FT quoted people familiar with the situation as saying the music group is courting bidders as it looks to reduce a debt burden stemming from its 2007 buyout by private equity firm Terra Firma.

It is unclear whether EMI would sell the Abbey Road brand as well as the studios, but one media lawyer told the paper: "The brand is worth more than the building... anybody who wants the studios will want the brand."

EMI bought the property in the St. John's Wood area for 100,000 pounds in 1929. The Beatles used it for most of their recording in the 1960s, including the 1969 album "Abbey Road", which featured them walking over a pedestrian crossing outside the studios before they split up.

Other artists who have used the studios include Pink Floyd, who recorded "Dark Side of the Moon" there, as well as Radiohead, the Manic Street Preachers, Travis and Blur.

EMI is seeking to bolster its finances as Terra Firma tries to avoid breaching agreements on 3.3 billion pounds (5.2 billion dollars, 3.8 billion euros) of loans, the FT added.