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GEOFF EMERICK,
1946-2018

Geoff Emerick, the innovative recording engineer who worked on The Beatles adventurous later albums, among them RevolverSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road, died Tuesday after suffering a heart attack. He was 72.  

Emerick’s manager, William Zabaleta, posted a video on YouTube explaining that he had been on the phone with Emerick when he “had complications and dropped the phone… Geoff suffered from heart problems for a long time. We lost a legend and a best friend to me, and a mentor.”

In a statement on Facebook, Paul McCartney said, “He was a great engineer and friend, and even though The Beatles had many great engineers over the years Geoff was the ONE. He was smart, fun-loving and the genius behind many of the great sounds on our records. I worked with him after The Beatles and it was always fun and the sounds he managed to conjure up were always special.”

On The Beatles' Twitter account, it was posted, “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Geoff Emerick, who has sadly passed. Geoff’s work as audio engineer on their music was integral, resulting in multiple highly deserved Grammy Awards.”

“Geoff Emerick was a universally respected producer and engineer who brought creative boldness and innovation to countless recordings throughout his legendary career,” said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow.

“The Recording Academy is eternally grateful for Emerick's support of our Producers & Engineers Wing and his time spent serving on the Advisory Council. Our creative community has lost one of its greats. He will be deeply missed but remembered as one of our industry's true visionaries.”

Emerick started working with The Beatles as a teenager. They arrived at EMI Studios, which would be renamed Abbey Road, in September 1962, just days after he had been hired as an assistant to longtime engineer Norman Smith.

His jobs included lacquer cutter, mastering engineer and balance engineer, and on occasion he helped out at Beatles sessions, beginning at the 1963 session for “Misery” and “Baby It’s You” as a tape operator on an overdub session. 

After Smith moved to the A&R department in early 1966, Emerick became the studio’s chief engineer, and Beatles producer George Martin asked Emerick to work officially as the Beatles’ sound engineer. The first track he engineered was the Revolver masterpiece “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

Emerick's 2007 book Here, There and Everywhere, a detailed account of his groundbreaking work with the band, is a captivating look at the creative process at its most adventurous and collaborative.

After the band’s breakup, Emerick worked regularly with McCartney and America, which Martin also produced; most recently he worked with Nellie McKay as producer and engineer.

Among other major albums he engineered/produced are The ZombiesOdessey and Oracle, Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Apocalypse, McCartney & WingsBand on the Run, Robin Trower’s Bridge of Sighs and Elvis Costello’s Get Happy!! and Imperial Bedroom.

Costello tweeted, "Such sad news. Geoff told me once that working at Abbey Road might mean a morning recording Otto Klemperer, Judy Garland in the afternoon or The Beatles until the small hours. Nothing could confound him. How fortunate to have known and worked with him. I will miss him greatly."

Emerick won three Grammys for Best Engineered Recording for his work on Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road and Band on the Run.

In 2003, the Producers & Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy honored Emerick with the Technical Grammy for his influential contributions and innovation in the recording field.

Abbey Road Studios tweeted, “We are hugely honoured to be part of Emerick’s story, and we are committed to ensuring his legacy lives on at the studios.”

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