LONDON -- The Beatles' Abbey Road Studios were officially declared a historic building Tuesday, a move that will help preserve the cultural landmark that is a magnet for fans worldwide.
The crosswalk outside the iconic north London studios draws tourists with cameras daily, and the facilities have also hosted Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck and Radiohead and are still popular with orchestras.
But their cash-strapped owner EMI Group Ltd. says the studios have been losing money for years and has only recently shelved plans to sell them. While EMI now says it's looking for money to help revitalize the studios, news that it was seeking to offload Abbey Road sparked dismay among music fans.
Former Beatle Paul McCartney said he hoped it could be preserved, while English Heritage — the body that oversees buildings of historic interest — appealed to the government to name it a historic building.
English Heritage spokeswoman Helen Bowman said government's move "has probably been sped up" by recent speculation over the studios' future.
In a statement, English Heritage Chief Executive Simon Thurley said the Georgian building housing the studios "acts as a modern day monument to the history of recorded sound and music."
"Some of the most defining sounds of the 20th century were created within the walls of the Abbey Road Studios," he said. "It contains, quite simply, the most famous recording studios in the world."