Eric Stewart & Strawberry Studios

Eric Stewart was the driving force behind the creation and successful establishment of Strawberry Studios in Stockport where he honed his skills to become a world class engineer and producer.

The facility was originally called Inter-City Studios, above a music store in the town centre and in 1968 it was bought by Peter Tattersall, former road manager to Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas.

Tattersall invited Eric Stewart, then lead guitarist and singer of The Mindbenders but who would later co-found 10cc at Strawberry Studios (see below), to join him as a partner later in 1968. The pair moved to larger premises at No. 3 Waterloo Road in October, with Stewart choosing the studio’s new name in honour of his favourite Beatles song, “Strawberry Fields Forever“.

Graham Gouldman and my company Kennedy Street Enterprises injected further capital into Strawberry and became stakeholders.

By this time I had secured work for Graham as in-house composer to write songs for Super K Productions (Jerry Kasenetz & Jeffry Katz) for which he had to move to New York for several months.

To save unnecessary expense Super K’s songs were recorded at Strawberry in Stockport rather than in New York which ameliorated Strawberry’s growing international reputation.

By the early ’70’s, after I had secured ‘[Is This The Way To] Amarillo‘ for Tony Christie, I convinced its composer, Neil Sedaka, to record at Strawberry and use our in-house musicians, Graham Gouldman, Lol Creme, Kevin Godley and Eric Stewart, who had become a first-rate engineer/producer.

And so Neil Sedaka recorded his comeback album Solitaire at Strawberry in 1971, returning in 1973 for ‘The Tra-La Days are Over‘ including his classic “Love Will Keep Us Together” – see Joy Division reference below.

This sowed the seeds of 10cc & put Strawberry Studios on the map:

THE STRAWBERRY LEGACY

10cc was self-contained and called most of the shots from their own Strawberry Studios .  The Studio was a legacy they left for other acts from the North of England to use to get their foot in the door too . . .

For example . . .

Brian & Michael, of “Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs” fame, (3 weeks at #1 in U.K. in 1978) recorded “Me and 10cc“:

Other notable artistes who recorded at Strawberry Studios are:

Joy Division, the cult Mancunian band recorded Unknown Pleasures there, and subverted Sedaka’s title in their “Love Will Tear Us Apart“.

Paul McCartney, recorded with his brother Peter ‘Mike’ McCartney, known professionally as Mike McGear on his album, “Woman” in ’72.

Bay City Rollers recorded most of their catalogue at Strawberry and “Give A Little Love” was a U.K. No. 1 for three weeks in July 1975.

U2 on being signed by Nick Stewart at Island Records recorded their first single on the label ‘11 O’Clock Tick Tock‘ at Strawberry in 1980.

The Stone Roses recorded the 1st single on Thin Line at Strawberry in session with Martin Hannett and also a raw “I Wanna Be Adored“.

The Smiths recorded their first single “Hand in Glove” at Strawberry Studios, which was released on the Rough Trade label in May 1983.