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Queen star rocks up to celebrate ‘first recording studio’

Drummer Roger Taylor at unveiling to mark the opening of Gramophone Company

06 December, 2019 — By Tom Foot

Rock legend Roger Taylor

QUEEN drummer Roger Taylor has unveiled a commemorative plaque outside Europe’s “first recording studio”.

The 1970s and 80s rock band star was guest of honour at the event in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, on Wednesday.

The studio, now Fire & Stone pizza restaurant just off the Strand, was opened in 1898 by audio pioneer Fred Gaisberg and the The Gramophone Company.

It was a precursor to EMI and the famous Abbey Road Studios in St John’s Wood, which opened 33 years later.

Music journalist James Hall, and the EMI Archive Trust, made the application to Westminster Council for the new plaque.

He had learned about the studio while researching a novel set in the early days of recorded sound.

The early days of the studio. PHOTOS: EMI ARCHIVE TRUST

He said: “We take recorded music for granted today, but until the late 19th century music only lasted for as long as the notes hung in the air.

This building changed all that. The music industry outside America went from nothing to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in 60-odd years, and it all started with Fred Gaisberg and Maiden Lane.

“Fred was a visionary, eccentric genius. I’m thrilled the building has finally been recognised with a plaque, and to have Roger unveil it was the icing on the cake.”

Between 1900 and 1910 The Gramophone Company made over 14,000 field recordings in countries including India, Japan and Turkey.

The Westminster City Council Green Plaque scheme launched in 1991 and aims to “highlight buildings associated with people of renown who have made lasting contributions to society”.

The plaque in Maiden Lane

One-hundred-and-twenty plaques have been unveiled to date including a plaque at Watergate House, the 1919 birthplace of GCHQ unveiled by HM the Queen on its centenary; a Captain Thomas Riversdale Colyer-Fergusson VC plaque in Portman Square and pioneering social housing architects Darbourne and Darke who are honoured at Lillington Gardens estate.

The council’s culture chief, Cllr James Spencer, said: “This Westminster green plaque recognises a unique piece of music history and what could be a more fitting celebration than for it to be unveiled by Roger Taylor, a member of rock royalty.”

Queen’s anthems include We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions and their classic line-up was Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Mr Taylor and John Deacon.

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