The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” recording console is set to be auctioned for over £1m.
The EMI TG12345 Mk I unit was used by the Fab Four at Abbey Road Studios to record their groundbreaking last album.
Bonhams will offer the historic equipment in a 14 December “The Sound of the Beatles” sale in Knightsbridge, London.
A spokesperson commented: “The department advises that the estimate, although unpublished, is a seven-figure sum.”
The historic importance of the console did not end with the recording of Abbey Road, as it continued to be used by each of the Fab Four on their respective solo projects; John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, George Harrison’s classic All Things Must Pass, tracks from Paul McCartney’s self-titled album and Ringo’s Sentimental Journey.
Developed specifically by EMI, the console was installed at the studio in 1968, and was used by The Beatles to record and mix their legendary album in 1969, resulting in a smoother more polished sound.
Claire Tole-Moir, Head of Bonhams Popular Culture department, says: “Abbey Road was unlike any of the Beatles’ previous albums. This TG console allowed the Beatles to realize their creative ambitions for what would be their final album recorded together.
“Since its release, ‘Abbey Road’ has sold over 19 million copies, and is considered one of the most important albums of the Twentieth Century.
“The album’s name and instantly recognizable cover has made it synonymous with the studios at which it was recorded.
“The commercial success and cultural impact were such that EMI Studios even rebranded as Abbey Road Studios, reinforcing their status at the forefront of the recording industry.
“This console is an incredibly important piece of Beatles history, and of music history overall – and Bonhams is honored to bring it to auction.”
The EMI TG12345 prototype (later known as the Mk I) boasted technological innovations that were previously impossible.
With eight-track recording in the late ’60s having pushed the technical capabilities of the REDD consoles to their limits, it was decided in 1967 that a new type of desk would be designed.
This was a joint project between the Abbey Road recording engineers and the Central Research Laboratories (CRL) at the EMI Hayes factories.
Initially installed in the experimental room (Room 65) at Abbey Road in the summer of 1968, it was then installed in Studio 2 for use by recording artists.
After being removed from service at Abbey Road due to the introduction of the latest TG MK II console in 1971, the desk was dismantled with parts being donated to a school in North London.
When no longer needed by the school, they were discarded, and later recovered by a tape machine maintenance engineer.
Bonhams says the current owner has painstakingly reunited the surviving original parts and professionally restored the console to its former glory.
They explain: “Having undergone a comprehensive, state-of-the-art restoration process over the last four years, the console is now back to working order and comprises the majority of original parts from the historic Abbey Road recording sessions.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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