Trident Studio was the most important singular studio in the world at a time when music was the most important singular subject.
Harry Nilsson - Radio1 interview (1992)
The greatest studio on the planet:
Trident hasn't always specialised in recording voice overs, when it originally opened in Soho in 1968 it quickly became the most in-place to record on the planet!
If you look on the back of some of your favorite old records, there's a good chance you'll see the Trident Studio name. Trident opened back in the late sixties and was the launch pad for many legendary artists such as David Bowie, Elton John, Queen and Marc Bolan. The names don't stop there. Trident was also booked by The Beatles (and later on Ringo Starr, George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney as solo artists / producers), Lou Reed, Carly Simon, Genesis, Supertramp, Black Sabbath, the list goes on.
It was seen as a revolutionary place to record: with its laid back, talented engineers and inspirational atmosphere. It broke the mould and set both technical and professional standards for others to follow, including the then already famous Abbey Road Studios. Seen as a shrine to music fans across the globe, some of the world's most famous recordings have taken place here at 17 St. Anne's Court. We continue to work in the same studios and carry on the Trident legacy and although our business is no longer solely music, the art of sound recording, pioneered here, is.
How Trident used to be:
The basement area, now occupied by Control Room One and Studio One, used to be the main studio area — much of the original ground floor was knocked out to give a double height studio, some 20 feet high by 40 feet long. The original control room — now our Control Room Two — was on what remained of the ground floor and looked down onto the studio. Abbey Road's Studio Two had a similar layout. The Sheffield brothers built and ran Trident from 1967. The first major hit recorded here was My Name's Jack by Manfred Man in March 1968 and it was that which launched them as a professional studio. Lou Reed recordedTransformer here at Trident, produced by David Bowie who in turn, recorded many of his own albums here including Ziggy Stardust. Rick Wakeman was the in-house session keyboard player at the time and can be heard on many of these recordings, including the classics, Life on Mars and Changes.
It was the Sheffield brothers relaxed attitude to engineering that made many artists want to record here. In other studios, such as Abbey Road, the engineers walked around in white coats. Although the brothers didn't exactly know a lot of how everything worked, they managed to get by on the idea that giving it a kick might solve the problem. Trident always had the newest and most ground-breaking equipment. They were the first in the UK to use Dolby and own an 8-track machine. Whereas other studios would spend months testing anything new, the Sheffield brothers believed that if it had been manufactured in the first place, then it was good enough for studio use. Their 8 track machine was why The Beatles came here in 1968 to record Hey Jude (Abbey Road still only had a 4 track machine).
The White Album tracks Dear Prudence, Honey Pie, Savoy Truffle and Martha My Dear were also recorded here. Many other artists were recorded for the Beatles' Apple label including Billy Preson, Mary Hopkins, James Taylor, George Harrison's triple album, All Things Must Pass, containing the massive hit My Sweet Lord, and Ringo Starr's It Don't Come Easy. Harry Nilsson recorded Without You here and met up with John Lennon, forming a long association of drinking and socialising. Paul McCartney inadvertently helped Queen on their road to success — he used to block-book the studio and not always turn up. Queen, signed to Trident's management arm, were allowed to use this down time for free and the result was Bohemian Rhapsody.
Trident gained a reputation for its piano which can be heard on Hey Jude, Elton John's Your Song and many other tracks. It was a handmade Beckstein that was over 100 years old and its classic sound was much sought after but, after being re-strung towards the end of Trident's history, lost its magic and was never quite the same. Trident was sold in December 1981 and the studio carried on under different management until 1985 when Tape One took over. The Sound Studio took over in 1993 and although we don't record supergroups, we do see our fair share of famous actors; in fact it was a recent VO session with Bob Geldof where he confirmed he came to Trident with The Boomtown Rats to record I Don't Like Mondays.
Trident stopped recording music in the mid 1980s, then in 1993 Trident Audio Post opened specialising in voice over recording.
BJ Cole interviewed at Trident for The One Show:
Martha My Dear
I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Candle In The Wind
Goodbye Yellowbrick Road
Saturday Night's Alright
You're So Vain
Life On Mars
The Jean Genie
Seven Seas of Rhye
Walk On The Wild Side
Marc Bolan (T-Rex):
Ride A White Swan
Get In On
Archive of Harry Nilsson at Trident: (mostly mute)