Howard Massey: The Great British Recording Studios

A hefty, definitive chronicle rich in prog rock history.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Even prog’s furthest-reaching visionary epics had to be hatched at some earthly spawning ground.

Thanks to being listed on the gatefold sleeves that adorned albums through the pivotal 1970s, the recording studios enjoyed their own legends during the golden years before computer technology meant an album could be recorded in a Spanish castle or at home on the farm. These fabled establishments where the magic happened included Abbey Road (Pink Floyd), Advision (Yes), Trident (Van der Graaf), Island (Genesis), The Manor (Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells) and Wessex (King Crimson). With a foreword by Sir George Martin, former musician-producer Howard Massey has constructed an exhaustive, beautifully presented account of every major studio operating during those seminal times, giving detailed histories, discographies, layouts, technical breakdowns and over 100 memories from the artists and production staff who used them. These are illustrated with rare photos and often accounts from those present, such as Mick Glossop recounting how the punch-drunk drum sound on Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight happened by accident. Each major studio gets its own chapter, along with essential independent establishments such as Apple, Marquee and The Manor, plus curios such as Joe Meek’s first home studio on Holloway Road and mobile studios. This often fascinating book has plenty to intrigue Prog readers, including engineer Eddy Offord’s account of recording The Yes Album at Advision. With most of these studios now gone, this is the first time anyone has attempted such a project. This fascinating tome will now stand as the definitive account.

Kris Needs

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!