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Geoff Emerick, Master Beatles Engineer, Dies At 72
On Oct. 2, recording engineer Geoff Emerick died of a heart attack at the age of 72. His three GRAMMY wins in the category Best Engineered Recording — Non-Classical give a small sense of the enormous contribution he made in the studio, on iconic albums nonetheless: Abbey Road, Band On The Run and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He also received the Recording Academy's Technical GRAMMY Award honor in 2003.
"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's 2006 memoir Here, There And Everywhere: My Life Recording The Beatles describes how in 1962, at the age of 15, he first went to work as an assistant engineer at Abbey Road Studios. When it was time to record music for a little-known band called the Beatles, it was the beginning of a journey which the whole world eventually shared. Ultimately becoming the band's chief engineer, Emerick remained the expert behind decades of sonic masterpieces.
He went on to engineer Paul McCartney's later work as well as for a litany of other greats, including America, Jeff Beck, Johnny Cash, Cheap Trick, Elvis Costello, Art Garfunkel, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Mott the Hoople, Supertramp, Ultravox, Dweezil Zappa and many more. Notably one of the primary responsibilities of great engineers is to shield their artists from the effort required to achieve recording excellence, so in addition to his own creativity, it was Emerick's gift to make it easier for creators to deliver their best. The world is eternally grateful for his contributions to music.