After days of worry that owner EMI Group was going to put the money-losing Abbey Road studios on the auction block came word that the place where the Beatles recorded most of their albums has been saved as a British national treasure. Simon Thurley, the head of English Heritage, which recommended a strong Grade II status, said: “Some of the most defining sounds of the 20th century were created within the walls of the Abbey Road studios. English Heritage has long recognized the cultural importance of Abbey Road—it contains, quite simply, the most famous recording studios in the world and acts as a modern day monument to the history of recorded sound and music.” The listing was first proposed in the 1990s, and at that point English Heritage opposed the move because the building, the world’s first purpose-built recording studios in the world, had little architectural distinction. However its iconic status as the site of musical magic persuaded experts to change their minds in 2003. Tourists queuing to recreate the Beatles’ Abbey Road cover by photographing one another on the pedestrian crossing regularly cause traffic jams. Now, regardless of EMI’s plans, altering the buildings will be all but impossible.