Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' recording console is up for sale

music news 03/12/2018

The original recording console Led Zeppelin used on their classic 'Stairway to Heaven' is going up for auction this month. 

Bonhams auction house specialist, Claire Tole-Moir said it's "hard to overestimate how crucial a role this console has played in the British rock and pop scene. ... This console is a piece of Britain’s modern cultural history."

So, we know it isn't going to go for cheap.

The console itself is  a hybrid of two separate studio desks, both built by Helios Electronics. The first is the Basing Street Studio 2 console that was installed at Island Records' London studios back in 1969. The console was used on many famous recordings throughout its time there, including Bob Marley and the Wailers' 'I Shot the Sheriff', Cat Stevens' 'Peace Train' and parts of the Rolling Stones' 'Angie'. That's a lot of history for one desk.

Led Zeppelin's legendary recording took place in December 1970, when the band began work on their fourth album. The work started at Basing Street, but most of the record was produced in a mobile studio owned by the Rolling Stones.

The other half of the HeliosCentric comes from a console used in the late Alvin Lee's studio from 1973 to 1979. Lee was the guitarist and singer for the band, Ten Years After, and worked throughout these years with many collaborators including George Harrison, Mick Fleetwood and Ronnie Wood.

The desks both eventually ended up in storage and were then rescued by music legends Elvis Costello and Chris Difford of Squeeze. The two teamed up in 1996, opening their own recording studio, and they spent years fusing the two historic consoles into one desk. The studio has since attracted many famous contemporary artists, including Sia, Cage the Elephant and Dido.

Bonhams of London will sell the console to the highest bidder at the auction on 11th December.