Basing Street Studios was a recording studio in a former 17th century chapel at 8–10 Basing Street, in Notting Hill, London, England. Originally established in 1969 as Island Studios by Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, the studio’s location also housed the offices for Island Records from 1969 until 1973, and was renamed Basing Street Studios in 1975. Island/Basing Street Studios produced many notable recordings in the 1970s from artists including Bob Marley and the Wailers, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Traffic, and Dire Straits.
Two recording studios were constructed within the building to establish Island Studios. The construction of the studios utilized a concrete inner room design to prevent the transmission of sound within the building’s structure. Studio One’s live room was 60 by 40 feet, with 25 foot ceilings, and was large enough to accommodate 80 musicians. The smaller Studio Two, in the building’s basement, was 30 by 20 feet, with 10 foot ceilings.
The Basing Street studio was one of the first in London to have a 16-track recorder, and Blackwell commissioned former Olympic Studios Technical Director Richard “Dick” Swettenham to build a recording console for the new studios, resulting in the formation of Helios Electronics and its first console, Island Studio 2, a 20-input, 8-buss console with 16-channel monitoring.
The Wailers did a lot of rehearsing at the Basing Street studios in 1973, both in their preparation for the shows they played in the UK but also for their performance on the BBC’s The Old Grey Whistle Test.
Also included here is a feature about The Wailers recording in London and the problems which surrounded this crazy period…