Tuesday, June 24, 2014

London Studio where Candle in the Wind '97 was Recorded Sold to Developers

The London studio where the biggest-selling single in chart history was recorded is to be turned into flats after being sold for £7.5 million.

Townhouse Studios in Shepherd’s Bush was used by Sir Elton John in 1997 to record a reworked version of Candle In The Wind, his tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales.

Some of rock’s best known albums were recorded there, including Blur’s Great Escape, X&Y by Coldplay, the Jam’s Setting Sons, and Different Class by Pulp. Others who worked there included Kylie Minogue, Bryan Ferry, Muse, Oasis and Robbie Williams.

But it closed in 2008 and the building in Goldhawk Road has been largely empty since then.

Now it has been bought by Irish property company Perpetuum Developments, with planning permission for the studios to be partially demolished and converted into 11 apartments likely to go for sale at up to £2 million. There will be no affordable housing on site.

The sales particulars claim: “Townhouse Studios offers the opportunity to redevelop this exciting landmark site into a luxury, residential-led development in the heart of London.” But local rock historian Adrian Bray said: “It’s sad when our historical heritage slowly slips from view. All the iconic musical venues are disappearing.

“The Townhouse is not a beautiful building and its economic life is clearly over yet it’s significant. The fact is that if the council let Hammermsith Palais disappear without a backward glance, this place didn’t have a chance.”

Planning consent from Hammersmith and Fulham council includes provision for a tiny studio to remain in the basement. But it will only be a fraction of the size of the three state-of-the-art re-cording facilities that have been lost.

The Townhouse was known for its advanced technology, and was where the distinctive drum sound for Phil Collins’s In The Air Tonight was devised.

Built by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin label in 1978, it was first used by glam rock bank Sweet. Fat Les recorded 1998 World Cup song Vindaloo there, while Freddie Mercury and soprano Monserrat Caballe created the track Barcelona at the Townhouse in 1988.

Mr Bray, who run the rock tours of west London, added: ”I would be interested to see if the developers pay any lip service to the past.”

- Standard

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