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Colette Barber cuts short tenure at Abbey Road after 36 years

The 'studio empress of London' joined Abbey Road Studios in 1979 as an accounts temp

Abbey Road Studios studio manager Colette Barber has announced her retirement.

Barber (pictured), who was made a fellow of the Association of Professional Recording Services (APRS) in November (see Roger Waters and Colette Barber to be honoured at APRS lunch), joined Abbey Road in 1979 as an accounts temp and rose through the ranks to become the ‘studio empress of London’ at the world-famous recording facility.

“I have met so many incredible artists and musicians over the years, not to mention the amazing friends I’ve made on the team here as well as the producers, music supervisors and film company execs who visit us,” Barber says. “I will leave with so many fantastic memories – it’s hard to single any out but seeing Paul, Ringo and George with George Martin in the Abbey Road restaurant is one I’ll always keep.”

Giles Martin, an engineer at Abbey Road and the son of Beatles producer Sir George, adds: “Colette has been the cornerstone of Abbey Road for 36 years. With her dedication and enthusiasm, she is incomparable as a studio manager and is loved by clients and the studio staff alike. I will miss her terribly, as she has made it a genuine pleasure to work here.”

A full statement from Abbey Road outlines Barber’s achievements over the last 36 years:

Having overseen literally thousands of bookings at Abbey Road, Colette has been at the heart of the evolution of the recording industry over the past four decades. Sessions for Radiohead, Kate Bush, Page and Plant and the Beatles Anthology rank among her most memorable, alongside classical recordings with the likes of Placido Domingo, Riccardo Muti and Yehudi Menuhin as well as the film scores for Harry Potter, The King’s Speech, Les Miserables and five of the Star Wars films. Time and again Colette has gone beyond the beyond the call of duty, perhaps most notably in 1988 when she rolled up her sleeves to finish grouting some tiles to ensure Pink Floyd’s session remixing Delicate Sound of Thunder in Studio Three could go ahead.