I think we can all agree that gear and technology has been essential in shaping the sound of music in the last century, from the Gibsons of hard rock to the Casios of synth pop. But none of these could even be heard without recording consoles, the centrepieces of the studio that recorded, processed and pieced together the generation defining songs we all know and love.
Next month, a truly historic piece of music gear will go up for auction through Bonhams, in London – a HeliosCentric Helios console. Now this might not have the same ring as ‘Stratocaster’, however, this particular console, built from two units, has seen recordings from David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Bob Marley, Steven Stills, Cat Stevens, oh and it was used to track a little old song called Stairway to Heaven.
Up for sale is the HeliosCentric Helios, a console used by legendary artists such as David Bowie, Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.
The oldest part of the HeliosCentric console goes way back to 1970, where it was used for four years in Island Records studio in West London. It saw use on the likes of Peace Train, by Cat Stevens, Angie by The Rolling Stones, Steven Still’s debut album and even on Bob Marley’s seminal songs Get Up, Stand Up and I Shot the Sheriff.
Perhaps its most famous job came from Led Zeppelin, particularly a song called Stairway to Heaven, you might have heard it. Jimmy Page even returned after the initial session to record the roaring solo through the HeliosCentric console.
The second piece of this package was part of Alvin Lee’s home studio during the ’70s and oversaw collaborations with George Harrison, Mick Fleetwood and Ronnie Wood – not a bad resume either.
Both sides went into hiatus, before in 1996 the two halves were pieced together for a new life. The ‘HeliosCentric Helios’ was created for a commission by Elvis Costello and Chris Difford during the development of HeliosCentric Studios, in the small English town of Rye. It has since been used by Dido, Keane, KT Tunstall and now you could be next!
Last year Bonhams sold an EMI TG12345 MK IV for $1.8 million, which was used to record Dark Side of the Moon. The HeliosCentric Helios is also expected to eclipse six figures, so you might want to get saving.