Alan Powell - The Drummer remembers
Alan Powell, drummer with Ivan's Meads, Richard Kent Style and Hawkwind, has given us permission to include this piece about recording at Abbey Road, taken from his forthcoming book "A Drummer Remembers"
I remember making my first record. By this I mean real record - major label (Parlophone), big time producer (Ron Richards - he was the guy behind all the Hollies hits) and big time Studio.That would be E.M.I. Studios on Abbey Road.
This was1966 so Abbey Road had not yet become the world famous icon it was destined to become. The band I was in then was Ivan's Meads, a "mod" band fashioned after the Who. We were the next big thing from Manchester, we already had screaming girls at the shows we did and we were well on our way to pop stardom but going to London to actually make a record with Parlophone, one of the top labels in the U.K. with the aforementioned Ron Richards was big time.
Heady stuff for a bunch of 18 year old Manchester lads. We left Manchester in our old converted ambulance, which served as our equipment wagon and bus, around 6a.m. so we would arrive at Abbey Road studios around 2p.m. None of us had ever been to swinging London, the centre of the known universe, before and we were excited and nervous. This was a big, big deal you must understand.
We parked our van near a pedestrian crossing which would, in just a few years become the most famous pedestrian crossing known to man. We carried our equipment into the unimposing building and were told to get set up in Studio 2. We walked into Studio 2.
The air was a little stale and full of smoke. Scattered around the room were half empty bottles of coke and some magazines. Obviously someone had just been using the studio. And there, right in front of us, next to where we would be recording was the most awesome, jaw dropping sight we had ever seen a line of vox amplifiers with a gretsch guitar on one, a Hofner violin bass on another, and a Rickenbacker guitar on the other. In the middle was a Ludwig drum kit. On the front head, written in black paint, it said "The Beatles".
You have to understand that in 1966 the Beatles were living gods. London, or swinging London as it was then referred to, was the most happening, fantastic place a teenage guy could possibly be. No other location on Earth had the mystique, the magic, or the allure that the city had. And the Beatles lived there so that sealed the whole deal. And there we were in the same studio THEY were in. just a few minutes prior to us walking in, the Fabs were recording a new album which would be called "Rubber Soul". They had just finished the basic track for a song entitled "Got to get you into my Life".
For some strange reason which I find hard to explain, being in the studio with just the Fabs guitars and drums had more impact on us than if the Beatles had been there in person.
Postscript: the record we made that day was released and became a hit and Ivan's Meads became pop stars for a year or so. I really believe that making that record whilst in the presence of the Beatles gave it some kind phantom push and helped it to become a hit.