Sol Studios

Sol Studios (also known as The Mill or The Sol) is a recording studio located in Cookham, Berkshire, England. The recording studio and control room are part of the complex property, along an old watermill and residential wheelhouse in the countryside.[1] The property was bought in 1974 by Gus Dudgeon, and the recording studio was built in the following year.[1] Gus ran the studio as his own production facility until running into financial trouble when the studio was sold to Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page. Page decided to revert to the old name of "The Sol".

The next chapter was written by HSH Music, a partnership of three friends - Rod Halling, Roy Shipston and hypno-therapist to the 1988 British Olympic Rowing squad Dr Simon Holmes who purchased the studio from Page in 1988. They redeveloped it into over the next two years into a commercial three-studio complex, utilising a quadruple garage on the site as Studio 2 and part of the old Mill Wheel housing as Studio 3. Chris Rea liked Studio 2 so much that he decided to block book it for a year at a time.

Whilst under the ownership of HSH Music, The Mill Recording Studios attracted many top clients - including George Harrison, Elton John, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Clannad, Deacon Blue, Chris Rea, The Electric Light Orchestra, Texas, The England World Cup Squad/Pet Shop Boys (Number 1 in UK) and many more.

In February 1994, HSH Music sold out and the site was sold as a "residential" property. The new owners, however, failed to grasp that the building was built like a nuclear shelter and not really suitable for conversion. They subsequently sold to Chris Rea, who owned it until 2006.[2]

HistoryEdit

Artists known to have recorded and records been produced at Sol Studios include:[3]

In 1977, the first music artist to record in the studio was the Dutch band Solution with Fully Interlocking (produced by Dudgeon). In the same year was recorded the single "Almost Gone" by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. In 1978 was recorded one song by Larry Smith, and the album Back and Fourth by Lindisfarne. In the same year there was recorded the Elton John's album A Single Man and some unreleased tracks, as well the Chris Rea's debut album Whatever Happened to Benny Santini? and in 1979 the second Deltics. In 1979 was also recorded the Shooting Star's self-titled debut album, and two Voyager's albums Halfway Hotel (1979) and Act of Love (1980).

In 1980, the Irish band The Boomtown Rats, as well Mary Wilson, recorded several unreleased tracks, Elkie Brooks her best-selling album Pearls, Gilbert O'Sullivan album Off Centre. In 1981 Mick Fleetwood mixed his solo album The Visitor, and Bill Wyman his soundtrack Green Ice and single "Je suis un rock star". In 1982 the band Vandenberg recorded their debut album, Wishbone Ash their album Twin Barrels Burning, and Twisted Sister their 1983 major label debut You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll.[4]

The Led Zeppelin songs "Poor Tom" and "We're Gonna Groove", which were originally recorded in 1970, were produced by Page at Sol Studios for release on the 1982 album Coda.[5] Page also recorded the soundtrack for the film Death Wish II at the studios.[6] Page's band The Firm recorded its self-titled debut album there in 1984, the album being released the following year. The Firm's subsequent album, Mean Business, was also recorded at Sol Studios, as was Page's 1988 solo album, Outrider.

Elton John recorded Ice on Fire in 1985, as well his subsequent album Leather Jackets released in 1986. In 1989, Jeff Beck recorded and rehearsed the album Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop, for which he received a Grammy award. Since 1989 or very early 1990s, the studio was in the property of Chris Rea until 2006, and there he co-recorded many of his songs and albums until 2006. In 2006 a Bonhams auction sold the Yamaha C7 piano which was used for The Road to Hell, The Blue Cafe, Stony Road, La Passione and Blue Guitars.[7]

The grand piano at The Sol was a special Bechstein E series that was originally reserved by Bechstein for performance & solo recital sales ("Tonenspielen"?) but was eventually purchased for use at the studio.

Stuart Epps, producer, engineer and studio manager worked at the studio from 1974 with Gus Dudgeon and then for Jimmy Page and Chris Rea. [8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b The Mill Recording Studio.
  2. ^ Talevski, Nick (2010). Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door. London: Omnibus Press. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-85712-117-2.
  3. ^ The Mill Recording Studio (Recording Sessions).
  4. ^ "Twisted Sister - You Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll". Overstock. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  5. ^ Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
  6. ^ "Session drummer Dave Mattacks will share pages from his recording diary—beginning with Jimmy Page!". T Bruce Wittet.com. 2 January 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Chris Rea's "Road To Hell" Piano Sells at Bonhams Auction". World Collectors Net. 26 April 2006. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Epps Music Production - Home". Eppsmusicproductions.com. Retrieved 2 September 2020.

SourcesEdit