Abbey Road Studios, tourism and Beatles heritage

Atkinson, Peter James orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8638-9808 (2015) Abbey Road Studios, tourism and Beatles heritage. In: Relocating Popular Music: Pop Music, Culture and Identity. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 129-147. ISBN 978-1-137-46337-1

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The concept of the ‘tourist gaze’ is used to examine how Abbey Road Studios is re-framed as a tourist site. Abbey Road was the principal workplace of the Beatles and where such seminal works as Revolver and Sgt. Pepper were produced. EMI and Apple capitalised on the studio’s archive holdings in the 1980s creating products that celebrated the studio’s legacy. The Beatles' brand development of the mid-1990s further emphasised the studio’s heritage at a time when Britpop’s ‘cultural revivalism’ was headline news. I argue that Abbey Road is fetishised as a space representing ‘roots and points of origin’. In a selective and idealising process it secures the ‘authenticity’ of one particular type of English music in a global exchange market and system of sign-exchange.

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