Friday, May 14, 2010

We're Off To Abbey Road!


As I've mentioned a few times in recent weeks, back in December brother Pete (photo left) bid on a charity auction. The winner would receive a guided tour of the EMI recording facilities in merry old England - better known to all the world as Abbey Road, the studio where the Beatles made their recordings all those years ago. Much to my surprise he won!
Tomorrow night my old pal and co-conspirator Kevin Swanwick and I will be catching a red-eye flight to London where we will meet up with Pete (who lives in Toronto). As the song says, "a splendid time is guaranteed for all."

One night in the autumn of 1964 (I was then all of six-years-old) my brother Jack came home with an LP called, "Beatles VI" - or "Beatles VEE EYE" as I pronounced it for years. What the hell did I know about roman numerals at six-years-old? As he dropped the needle on the first track which was called Eight Days a Week, I distinctly remember pondering the the back side of the cover. There were four photographs of each of the lads from Liverpool in the studio during the recording of the album. I remember thinking to myself, "That looks like a fun place to be. I'd like to go there someday!" Cut to forty-six years later: I'm goin', baby!

I have been there once before - in June of 1985. I walked into the the main reception area and asked a nice woman who worked there if the place was open to the public. Not to my surprise, it wasn't. I was able to console myself by knowing that I had made it as far as the lobby; that I could tell people that at least I had been stepped foot inside the hallowed building. For a fan of the Beatles, although the Abbey Road studios might not necessarily be Mecca or Lourdes or the Wailing Wall - it's pretty darned close. This is going to be really cool!

The tour will be be given to us by Giles Martin, son of the legendary producer George Martin and a respected one in his own right. The photo on the left is of he and dear old dad. It will commence on Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM, London time and will go on for four hours. It will cover every nook and cranny of the place - including the vaults where the master tapes are stored to protect them against the ravages of time. That's the part I'm looking forward to the most. To actually see those tapes - stacked silently on their shelves and to be able to reflect on the fact that the long-ago sounds etched magnetically within changed the world forever....Please forgive me for being repetitive, but this is going to be REALLY COOL!

There's really not enough time to write today. I've got to get ready for tomorrow's flight and there's so much left for me to do. I'm really glad I'll be going with Swanwick. I've known the guy since before the invention of dirt and in all that time we've never gone abroad together. This trip will definitely make up for lost time. That's him in the photograph on the left. It was taken a couple of years ago in the Costa Rican rain forest. Amiable looking lad, isn't he? We'll be meeting up with his friend John Beaumont who will be taking the tour with us. By all accounts the guy is a hoot-and-a-half and I'm looking forward to meeting him. In the two days before the event, he'll be charging around London Town with us, whooping it up.

So it's off to Abbey Road. We'll be back on Thursday and - as you can imagine - there will be much to tell you. A few months ago I attempted the impossible and tried to sum up the Beatles' message in a single sentence: We are the makers of our own dreams. That works for me! Dream. Dream away....

We're off to Abbey Road. I must be dreamin'!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The Beatles


I just realized that I did not make a single observation on politics in this entire piece. Let me remedy that:


There. I feel better.


At 10:38 AM, Blogger Opinionated Gifts said...

One word:

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Have a great trip Tom !! Remember to bring me back a piece of Syd Barrett's brain, THANKS !!

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Darlene said...

Yes, your trip is really cool. Have a safe flight and enjoy.

At 7:05 PM, Blogger Wildernesschic said...

I hope you have great time and not delayed by ash clouds.. I am a Liverpool girl so have grown up taking the Beatles and everything about them for granted.
I am sure you will have fun and the obligatory zebra crossing photo :) xx

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Thanks, folks! We're all looking forward to the experience. I am also reminded that London is also the birthplace of Charlie Chaplin - among many other things! Honestly, I'd spend one half of every years there if I could. When I was a very little boy - even before I discovered the magic of the Beatles - London was calling.

There's nothing you can know that isn't known....


At 9:32 AM, Blogger PetitPoix said...

I canĀ“t think of anyone better to be enjoying the tour of Abbey Road! I wonder if they will let you take pictures and videos to share with us? Maybe not.

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Ronni said...

Have fun!

At 8:30 AM, Blogger W.D. Shirley said...

My sister was the president of the Phoenix area Beatles fan club in the 1960's. She got all the latest scoop and records with original covers AND she had pool parties with her friends in which I got to see my first real understanding of the lure of boobies. Tom, my boy, you are doing all right for a young whipper-snapper. By the time you were born I was already well on my way to radical paganism. Coo-coo Katchoo.

At 1:17 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Tom Degan said...



The place is as beautiful as I remember it from the last ime I was here in 1985. There are some significant changes, however. Way back then you could not find a decent cup of coffee in the entire UK. Today I had two of the best cups of the stuff in my entire life!

We are staying at the Westpoint & Abbey Court Hotel in Sussex Gardens - right arount the corner fromPaddington Station. Pete has informed us that he will be arriving this evening - Icelandic volcanic ash notwithstanding. In the meantime, Swanwick and I plan on spending the evening causing a general commotion in and around London Town. Here I go again:

This is going to be REALLY COOL!

Cheerio! Pip! Pip!

Tom Degan

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous FL Geezer said...

I hope you enjoy London.

I apologize for little enthusiasm for Abbey Road. By 1964 I was 30 years old, married, with five children, and had my nose to the grindstone for their very expensive college expenses (5 BS, 2 JD, 1 MST, 1 LLM). I missed the entire musical scene starting with 1950's rock and roll. But at least all five finished their education with no student loans.

Most of my life was spent in the Northeast and I have been in Florida for about 20 years. Too bad you do not live in Florida. Things are so weird here that you would have to publish a daily rant to keep up with our wacky political happenings.

Many thanks for being a voice for sanity in this crazy world.

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Acedog said...

Have a great trip!

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

And don't forget the rooftop on Saville Row where they played their last "Get Back" and finally "passed the audition".

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Crucian by Choice said...

Oil, Ash, Floods and Greed -- what a relief to have some good news!

Thanks for sharing, looking forward to your saga.

All ya need is LOVE!
Beatlemaniac since 1963

At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife is a distant relative and significantly smaller human than Taft, but rascally just the same. And I would like to echo Opinionated Gifts: ENVY

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Do me a favor: find out if Paul is really dead while
your there. Cheers, Rip Tragle


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