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SANDY PEARLMAN,
1943-2016

First-gen rock critic turned record producer Sandy Pearlman died Tuesday morning in Novato, Calif. He was 72. Pearlman had been in failing health since suffering a cerebral hemorrhage in December.

One of the earliest contributors to Paul Williams’ seminal rock mag Crawdaddy!, Pearlman was part of the pack of NYC-based gonzo intellectuals that notably included R. Meltzer, Nick Tosches, Patti Smith and Bobby Abrams.

But he had bigger fish to fry, forming and developing the band Soft White Underbelly, which he renamed Blue Oyster Cult (umlaut optional). Pearlman managed, produced and wrote lyrics for BOC, whose iconic hit “Don’t Fear the Reaper” is remembered as one of the great cowbell rockers.

“He was always talking about the future,” fellow rockcrit, Nuggets creator and Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye said in an interview with The New York TimesJon Pareles. “It wasn’t just what he was going to do in the future, but what the culture would require in the future and how it would change.”

Pearlman’s management clients over the years included The Dictators, Aldo Nova and Black Sabbath. Among the key albums in his wide-ranging production discography are The Dictators' Go Girl Crazy, The Clash’s Give ‘Em Enough Rope, Dream Syndicate’s Medicine Show and nine BOC LPs.

He was no stranger to academia, doing teaching stints at McGill, Stanford, Harvard and UC Berkeley. And he was on the front end of the tech revolution, co-founding Goodnoise Corp., which became eMusic.

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