The Compton Organ #GearThatMadeUs

30th December 2021

In 1937 a Compton Theatre organ was moved to Abbey Road Studio One from The Beaufort Cinema in Birmingham.


While on a tour of Europe, the legendary Fats Waller spent his downtime experimenting with the instrument. It’s been said he would stay here through the night, accompanied only by a bottle of whiskey. Those sessions culminated in his album Fats Waller in London, recorded here in August of 1938.

Fats Waller in Studio One 1938

Waller is now recognised as the first person to interpret jazz on the pipe organ. This was quite a feat because you could not affect the amount of air forced through the pipe by how hard you hit the keys, making it difficult to get any sort of swing out of the instrument.


Considering its size, it’s no surprise that the organ was removed in the 1940s as the need for more space arose. Other notable players of the Studio One Compton include Reginald Dixon, Sidney Torch and Reginald Foort.

Reginald Foort late-1930s

#GearThatMadeUs #AbbeyRoad90 #ComptonOrgan

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