Famous “Honky Chateau” studio reopening for business

A French mansion studio that earned the nickname "Honky Chateau" after the 1972 Elton John album recorded there is set to go back in business this year – and its new owners have bigger plans for its future beyond recording music.

Located near Paris and built in the 18th century, Chateau d’Herouville, also affectionately known as “France’s Abbey Road”, was used by Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Rick Wakeman, Iggy Pop, the Grateful Dead, Ritchie Blackmore, Fleetwood Mac, T Rex and many others in the ’70s.

Herouville village mayor Eric Baert told the BBC: “It was the original residential studio. It was a kind of hotel. The musicians didn’t just make music – they could sleep, eat, live here. If they wanted to record in the middle of the night, that was fine.”

A protection order preventing redevelopers from moving in caused the mansion to become derelict for many years, yet it was recently purchased by four music fans who have already started running sound engineer training sessions, and aim to bring the main studio back into action soon, TeamRock reported.

Co-owner Stephan Marchi said: “We have been friends for 30 years, and for 30 years we have had a dream of building a place where expertise and creativity can be seamlessly associated.

“Ultimately we want to expand from sound recording to other mediums – writing, sculpting, painting. In everything, we are inspired by the idea of recreating the state of mind that prevailed here in the early ’70s.” Asked to describe that state of mind, he replied: “Freedom.”

(Picture: EltonJohn.com)