October 3, 2018, New York—Legendary Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick died yesterday at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 72. Preliminary indications are that the cause of death was cardiac arrest.
Geoff began his career at EMI Studios in London (later better known as Abbey Road) at the age of 15. On just his second day on the job, he was witness to The Beatles’ first-ever recording session, of the song “Love Me Do.” He would go on to serve as assistant engineer for many of the group’s most well-known early hits, including “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You,” and “A Hard Days Night.”
At the age of nineteen, Geoff was promoted to full engineer and in April, 1966, recorded The Beatles’ groundbreaking LP Revolver, followed a short time later by the two-sided hit single “Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever” and the album that many consider the group’s masterpiece: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In the months that followed, Geoff would record tracks for Magical Mystery Tour and the White Album, departing midway through those sessions in the midst of rancor and tension within the group.
In 1968, he left Abbey Road to oversee construction and serve as studio manager for the Beatles’ Apple Studios. Soon afterwards, he was asked to record The Beatles’ swansong album Abbey Road, along with his longtime assistant Phil McDonald. Following the dissolution of the group, he worked with all four Beatles individually and manned the board for Paul McCartney’s Band on the Run, Tug of War, London Town, and Flaming Pie. He then took a position at AIR Studios, where he forged a career as an independent producer/engineer with artists such as Elvis Costello (for whom he produced the stellar Imperial Bedroom album), Badfinger, Robin Trower, America, Jeff Beck, Cheap Trick, and Art Garfunkel. He also recorded such iconic hits as The Zombies’ “Time of the Season” and Steelers Wheel’s “Stuck In The Middle With You.”
Geoff Emerick was the recipient of four Grammys, including a 2003 Special Merit/Technical Grammy Award. In 2006, he published his critically acclaimed memoir Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles and in recent years continued to work actively as both an engineer and a teacher. His pioneering approach to audio engineering resulted in many innovations used to this very day, and his work influenced an entire generation of musicians and recordists.
In a statement issued on Facebook this morning, Paul McCartney said of Geoff, “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.”
Said producer Jack Douglas, who recorded John Lennon’s Double Fantasy: “Now one more member of the most influential team to ever make music is gone. Another piece of us all is missing.” Longtime David Bowie producer Tony Visconti, who worked with Emerick on Band on the Run, added: “Geoff was a humble man, not one to put on airs or beat his chest.”
Geoff will be interred in Westwood Cemetery in Los Angeles. Funeral arrangements are being made by his family and will be announced shortly.
For more information contact, Carol Kaye: firstname.lastname@example.org
GEOFF EMERICK REMEMBERED....
Paul Pays Tribute to Geoff Emerick
Geoff Emerick (1946 - 2018)
I first met Geoff when he was a young engineer working at Abbey Road Studios. He would grow to be the main engineer that we worked with on many of our Beatles tracks. He had a sense of humour that fitted well with our attitude to work in the studio and was always open to the many new ideas that we threw at him. He grew to understand what we liked to hear and developed all sorts of techniques to achieve this. He would use a special microphone for the bass drum and played it strategically to achieve the sound that we asked him for. We spent many exciting hours in the studio and he never failed to come up with the goods. After The Beatles, I continued to work with him and our friendship grew to the point where when he got married to his beautiful wife Nicole, it was in the church close to where we lived in the country.
He came with me to Lagos Nigeria to record my album 'Band on the Run'. I remember arriving at the half built studio with a handful of 45s which I played for him to explain what direction I wanted to take on this particular album. I remember asking him to make sure that the tracks had a lot of space and he was happy to deliver that. We kept in touch through the years and our phone calls or messages always gained a giggle or two.
Having seen him as recently as this year when he came to visit us at Henson Studio in LA, where we were putting the finishing touches to 'Egypt Station', he was his usual cheerful friendly self and gave me the thumbs up to the mixes we played him.
I’ll always remember him with great fondness and I know his work will be long remembered by connoisseurs of sound.
Lots of love Geoff, it was a privilege to know you.
"I am so sorry and shocked to hear about Geoff Emerick. He was a great engineer, very helpful to all of us in the studio. With him and George Martin they helped us to step up on Revolver. He will be missed. Barbara and I send peace and our love to his family. Peace & love, Ringoxxx "
“Geoff Emerick was a wonderful man, a masterful engineer and mixer and a patient but confident presence in the studio.
I feel very fortunate to have worked with Geoff on two records. We simply could not have made the “Imperial Bedroom” with anyone else.
On those sessions, Geoff was as important as any member of the ensemble, the studio being his instrument.
In fact, almost anyone in the post 1966 recording world owes an, often unacknowledged, debt to his quiet and modest innovations. Infinitely less-talented individuals make a song and dance out of matters that Geoff took in his stride.
He told me once that learning his trade at Abbey Road might mean being ready to record Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia in the morning, Judy Garland in the afternoon or The Beatles until the song was done in the small hours. Little wonder there was barely a musical or sonic conceit with which you could daunt or confound him.
I feel very lucky to have known and worked with him and I will miss him a great deal.
My favourite Geoff Emerick record?
It has to be “Revolver””