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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Mar 2019 > FIELD OF DREAMS: THE STORY OF ROCKFIELD STUDIOS

FIELD OF DREAMS: THE STORY OF ROCKFIELD STUDIOS

Opened in 1965, Rockfield Studios is the world’s first residential studio facility and is now rated among the world’s finest and most characterful recording environments. MusicTech visits the iconic facility to find out more about its history and its part in the recording of so many classic albums
The rural tranquillity of Rockfield has borne witness to some of the greatest songs ever recorded in the UK

Rockfield Studios is a legendary place, and with the recent release of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, the studio’s name has now been introduced to a whole new generation of people. Rockfield is also unlike any other studio that you may have heard of – in a good way. I first visited the studio in the summer of 2017 and knew I was in for something slightly different when, within 10 minutes of arriving, I was helping move a set of shelves from a garage and then being introduced to the herd of cows that live on site. I’m now returning to speak to founder Kingsley Ward and studio manager (and Kingsley’s daughter) Lisa about the fascinating history of the studio and what makes Rockfield unique.

HOME RECORDING

The story of Rockfield begins in 1959, when two young farmers, Charles and Kingsley Ward, decided they wanted to get into rock ’n’ roll. “I was into Elvis Presley and you can’t be into that unless you’ve got a guitar. So we got a guitar for five pounds and then, in 1960, my brother and I formed a little rock group, and he wrote a couple of songs.”

In the late 50s and 60s, recording studios were not very common and were predominantly based in London – not very easy for two lads from Wales to access. However, as Kingsley says: “There was a local gentleman and he had a tape recorder. So we borrowed it off him and we went in my mum’s front room. I operated the tape recorder and Charles strummed the guitar and played two little songs.”

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