Geoff Emerick, one of the most renowned recording engineers in popular music, has passed away at the age of 72. Emerick is best known for his work with the Beatles. He went from being a young apprentice at famed Abbey Road Studios in London, to becoming the chief recording engineer on some of the Beatles’ most significant albums.
Emerick’s fabled career and relationship with the Beatles began in his teenage years when he worked on early recordings such as, “Love Me Do” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” He would eventually lend his talents to seminal albums, ‘’‘’‘’‘’ His work with the Fab Four resulted in two Grammy Awards.
The news of Emerick’s passing came from his manager, . He, “Today at around 2’o’clock, I was making my way back from Arizona to Los Angeles to pick up Geoff. While we were on the phone, he had complications and dropped the phone. I called 911, but by the time they got there, it was too late. Geoff suffered from heart problems for a long time and had a pacemaker. We lost a legend, and a best friend to me, and a mentor.”
In an interview with last year, Emerick spoke of his career: “I was dropped into the deep end of the pond. I was mastering American records for the U.K. market one day, and the next day, when I was around 19, I was working on ‘Revolver.’” Emerick also elaborated on the recording process, saying, “We [engineers] worked upstairs in the No. 2 control booth at Abbey Road, which meant the band worked as if we weren’t there. So we were part of the most amazing process, observing songs in the process of creation. … With the luxury of time, we could start building ideas about the mood of the songs and each instrument, the tonalities, the dominant colors.”
Emerick cited his work on “A Day in the Life” as a high point of his career, noting that “the night we put the orchestra on it, the whole world went from black and white to color.”
In his post-Beatles career, Emerick continued to work with notable musicians and bands, such as Paul McCartney’s band Wings, Cheap Trick, Elvis Costello, Supertramp and many others. He was scheduled to take part in panel events associated with the release of the White Album’s expanded edition next month.
Former Moody Blues and Wings vocalist/guitarist Denny Laine wrote on Facebook: “Geoff was a brilliant engineer and a fine man.” The Beatles Twitter account posted the following comment, “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.”