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George Martin's AIR studio is a symbol of Montserrat's lost era as pop music hub

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Staring at her reflection in the old recording booth window, Michelle Graham recalled a seemingly long-lost era.

“It is very, very sad,” Graham, 48, said, pausing to look around the damp, moldy studio. “I just wish you all had seen it back the way it was before.”

When it was opened by George Martin in 1979, AIR (Associated Independent Recording) studio was a state-of-the-art recording facility which just happened to be in Montserrat, a tiny British Overseas Territory in the eastern Caribbean. Stars including Paul McCartney, Elton John, Boy George, Stevie Wonder and Sting passed through this studio to record some of the biggest hits of a generation.

Seventy-six albums were made here before the studio shut its doors in 1989, when the island was devastated by a hurricane. Six years later, Montserrat took another hit when the Soufrière Hills volcano began erupting, ultimately destroying the island’s capital, Plymouth, in 1997.

Nowadays the wasp-infested building which once housed AIR is a mere shell of its former self. But for many Montserratians, it remains a symbol for what their nation used to be.

By: Ryan Shuessler

Source: The Guardian

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