I think a lot of Tape Op readers have been waiting years for a book like this. Howard Massey is the author of the Behind the Glass series and co-author of Geoff Emerick's Here, There and Everywhere [Tape Op #57, #55]. For his new book, Howard documented the history of classic British recording facilities, like Abbey Road, Olympic, Trident, and many other studios where popular and historic recordings were made. Howard must have interviewed hundreds of folks, and I know this took a long time to write; you can see the care and love that went into this tome. The book occasionally reaches back into the early decades of recording itself, or pulls us into the ‘90s or current days, but the focus of this book is certainly the "heyday" of the ‘60s and ‘70s, with glimpses into the changes the ‘80s wrought.
The foreword was written by the late Sir George Martin, and most of the chapters focus on a single studio or company, covering the history of its rooms or spaces; acoustic treatments, equipment used, as well as key managers, engineers, and producers are discussed. The book is illustrated with hundreds of photos (many never before published) and graphics of room layouts, and is appealingly laid out with sidebars on techniques, plus wonderful stories from the past, spread liberally throughout. A real bonus is an amazing, in-depth glossary at the end of the book. Howard is the perfect author for a book like this, and his perspective as an American who moved to the UK in the ‘70s and worked in studios (Pathway, Trident) through the ‘80s, lends an understanding and appreciation of the subject that works very well. The book was also written with the cooperation and instigation of the British APRS (Association of Professional Recording Services), and we should be grateful for their involvement. Our pal, Phill Brown (Tape Op published his Are We Still Rolling? memoir), also lent a lot of excellent information to this book. In the end, I'm so glad that Great British Recording Studios is not a general- interest coffee-table book with big photo spreads and no content. Instead, it is a resource that people like us will devour; and it's filled with real, geeky insight into the history, people, and techniques that helped create some of the most iconic recordings ever.