Basing Street (SARM) Studios

Recording studio in/near Notting Hill, existing between 1967 and now

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Recording studio · Notting Hill · W11 ·
December
27
2015
SARM Studios is a recording studio, established by Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records.

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They were originally known as Basing Street Studios. It has also been known in the past as Island Studios. SARM is an aconym of Sound and Recording Mobiles.

At the studios, built inside a former church that had been deconsecrated, Blackwell recorded a number of artists there for Island Records, such as Iron Maiden, Bob Marley, Steve Winwood, Free, Bad Company, Robert Palmer, Jimmy Cliff, Nick Drake, Fairport Convention, King Crimson, John Martyn, Mott the Hoople, Quintessence, Roxy Music, Brian Eno, Sparks, Cat Stevens, Spooky Tooth, Traffic, If, Jethro Tull, the Average White Band, and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

The studios were also used by notable non-Island Records acts, such as The Clash, Pet Shop Boys, KT Tunstall, Depeche Mode, The Eagles, Dire Straits, East 17, Take That, Boyzone, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Rihanna, The Rolling Stones, Genesis, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Joan Armatrading, Nik Kershaw and the Lighthouse Family.

In 1970, two famous albums were recorded at the studios at the same time: Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin IV and Jethro Tull’s Aqualung. Similarly, Bob Marley & The Wailers and the Rolling Stones were in the studios at the same time at one point in 1973. Marley also lived for a year in an upstairs apartment at SARM, and his personal chef cooked at SARM for most of the 1980s.

Queen booked the studios in summer 1977 and recorded part of their album News of the World there, including the hit "We Are the Champions"; Queen had previously used the studio to record sections of Bohemian Rhapsody and The Prophet’s Song at the studios in 1975, and to record the video for Somebody To Love a year later. The cathedral organ on George Michael’s album Faith was played there.

In the mid 1970s, Sarm was the first 24-track recording studio in England; it later became the first with 48-track facilities.

In November 1984, Studio 1 at Sarm West was the venue for the recording of "Do They Know It’s Christmas" by the members of Band Aid in support of relief efforts for the 1984–1985 famine in Ethiopia. In November 2014, the studios were used to record the Band Aid 30 charity single.

VIEW THE NOTTING HILL AREA IN THE 1750s
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VIEW THE NOTTING HILL AREA IN THE 1800s
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VIEW THE NOTTING HILL AREA IN THE 1830s
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VIEW THE NOTTING HILL AREA IN THE 1860s
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VIEW THE NOTTING HILL AREA IN THE 1900s
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Notting Hill

Notting Hill: A place whose fortunes have come, gone and come again...

Notting Hill is a cosmopolitan district known as the location for the annual Notting Hill Carnival, and for being home to the Portobello Road Market.

The word Notting might originate from a Saxon called Cnotta with the =ing part indicating "the place inhibited by the people of" - i.e. where Cnotta’s tribe lived. There was a farm called variously "Knotting-Bernes,", "Knutting-Barnes" or "Nutting-barns" and this name was transferred to the hill above it.

The area remained rural until the westward expansion of London reached Bayswater in the early 19th century. The main landowner in Notting Hill was the Ladbroke family, and from the 1820s James Weller Ladbroke began to undertake the development of the Ladbroke Estate. Working with the architect and surveyor Thomas Allason, Ladbroke began to lay out streets and houses, with a view to turning the area into a fashionable suburb of the capital (although the development did not get seriously under way until the 1840s). Many of these streets bear the Ladbroke name, including Ladbroke Grove, the main north-south axis of the area, and Ladbroke Square, the largest private garden square in London.

The original idea was to call the district Kensington Park, and other roads (notably Kensington Park Road and Kensington Park Gardens) are reminders of this. The local telephone prefix 7727 (originally 727) is based on the old telephone exchange name of PARk.

The reputation of the district altered over the course of the 20th century. As middle class households ceased to employ servants, the large Notting Hill houses lost their market and were increasingly split into multiple occupation.

For much of the 20th century the large houses were subdivided into multi-occupancy rentals. Caribbean immigrants were drawn to the area in the 1950s, partly because of the cheap rents, but were exploited by slum landlords like Peter Rachman, and also became the target of white racist Teddy Boys in the 1958 Notting Hill race riots.

Notting Hill was slowly gentrified from the 1980s onwards now has a contemporary reputation as an affluent and fashionable area; known for attractive terraces of large Victorian townhouses, and high-end shopping and restaurants (particularly around Westbourne Grove and Clarendon Cross).

A Daily Telegraph article in 2004 used the phrase the ’Notting Hill Set’ to refer to a group of emerging Conservative politicians, such as David Cameron and George Osborne, who were once based in Notting Hill.

Since it was first developed in the 1830s, Notting Hill has had an association with artists and ’alternative’ culture.
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