Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Late Great Geoff Emerick

Geoff Emerick, the legendary audio engineer who worked with The Beatles, The Zombies, Badfinger, Elvis Costello, and others, died yesterday, October 2 2018, at the age of 72. The cause was a heart attack.

Geoff Emerick was born on December 5 1945 in London. He began working as an assistant engineer at EMI when he was only 15. On his first day of work he was placed under the supervision of another assistant engineer, Richard Langham. On his second day of work Richard Langham was assigned to audio engineer Norman Smith, who was the engineer on The Beatles' earliest recordings at EMI. Geoff Emerick was then present at the band's very first recording sessions.

As an assistant engineer Mr. Emerick worked on a number of The Beatles' early recordings. He also served as an assistant engineer on such artists as Judy Garland. He served as the primary engineer on Manfred Mann's single "Pretty Flamingo". When Norman Smith became a producer, it was Sir George Martin who requested Geoff Emerick as their new chief engineer. The first Beatles album on which he served as chief engineer was Revolver. He would go on to serve as the band's chief engineer on the albums Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road. Prior to Abbey Road he left partway through the recording of The Beatles (better known as The White Album), becoming frustrated with the tensions between the various Beatles.

In the Sixties Geoff Emerick also served as chief engineer for such artists as Peter & Gordon, The Zombies on their album Odessey and Oracle), Tomorrow, and Jackie Lomax. It was in 1970 that Geoff Emerick became a producer, producing the Badfinger album No Dice with Mal Evans. In the Seventies he served as the chief audio engineer for such artists as Badfinger, Stealers Wheel, Fanny, Tim Hardin, Paul McCartney & Wings, America, Robin Trower, Nazareth, and Cheap Trick. He produced such artists as Badfinger, Robin Trower, Split Enz, and Elvis Costello & The Attractions.

In the Eighties Mr. Emerick served as chief engineer for such artists as The Little River Band, Cheap Trick, Paul McCartney, Ultravox, Supertramp, and Art Garfunkel. He produced albums for such artists as Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Nick Heyward, Jackie Leven, Tommy Keene, and Echo & The Bunnymen.

In the Nineties he served as chief engineer for such artists as Split Enz, Paul McCartney, Ultravox, UFO, and Robin Trower. He produced such artists as Elvis Costello & The Attractions and Robin Trower. In the Naughts he served as chief engineer for such artists as The Aerovons, The Syrups, Nellie McKay, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, and Cheap Trick. He produced such artists as Nellie McKay, The Syrups, Elvis Costello, and Tim Finn.

In the Teens Geoff Emerick served as chief engineer for such artists as Paul McCartney, Chris Bell, and Dweezil Zappa.

Geoff Emerick was definitely one of the greatest audio engineers of all time. He often developed sounds that had never been heard on vinyl records before. It was Mr. Emerick who came up with the ethereal sound of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows (the first Beatles song on which he was chief engineer) and Mr. Emerick who assembled the carnival sounds for The Beatles' "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite". Although best known for his work with The Beatles, Geoff Emerick would do groundbreaking work for artists from Badfinger to Elvis Costello.

In addition to being a legendary audio engineer, Geoff Emerick also seemed like an awfully nice guy. I can't say that I knew Mr. Emerick, but I interacted with him on Instagram and other social media outlets. He was always liking posts from Beatles fans and giving them shout-outs. It was clear that he was proud of his work with The Beatles and other artists. And while Mr. Emerick has often been accused of favouring Sir Paul McCartney over the other Beatles, one would never know it from his social media posts. Geoff Emerick was someone who was truly appreciative of his fans.

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