Beatles recording engineer Geoff Emerick has died at the age of 72, following a heart attack.
RIP Sir Geoff Emerick pic.twitter.com/ARKx164s7U
— Geoff Emerick (@GeoffEmerick) October 3, 2018
Emerick was hugely influential to the creation of the Beatles’ music. He was born in London on 5 December 1945, and joined EMI at the age of 15. On 4 September 1962, in his first week working at EMI Studios on Abbey Road, he sat in on The Beatles’ first recording session with Ringo Starr in the group.
Legendary EMI/Abbey Road recording engineer Geoff Emerick, has sadly passed away at the age of 72. We are hugely honoured to be part of Emerick’s story and we are committed to ensuring his legacy lives on at the studios. pic.twitter.com/r6qyBroAmV
— Abbey Road Studios (@AbbeyRoad) October 3, 2018
By 1966 he had been promoted to the position of balance engineer, and worked on The Beatles’ albums Revolver, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles (White Album). He moved on during the sessions for the latter album, but returned to the fold for the single ‘The Ballad Of John And Yoko’ and the group’s swansong Abbey Road.
Following The Beatles’ split, Emerick retained a bond with Paul McCartney, and engineered the albums Band On The Run, London Town, Tug Of War and Flaming Pie.
Emerick received Grammy Awards for his work on Sgt Pepper, Abbey Road, and Band On The Run, and in 2003 received a Special Merit/Technical Grammy Award.
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. pic.twitter.com/PWKO5i2EIc
— The Beatles (@thebeatles) October 3, 2018
He also worked on albums by acts including Elvis Costello, Badfinger, Art Garfunkel, America, Jeff Beck, Stealers Wheel, The Zombies, Supertramp, Cheap Trick, Nazareth, Split Enz, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Ultravox.
In 2006 Emerick published a memoir – Here, There, and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles – which he co-authored with music journalist Howard Massey. Although it drew criticism for its negative portrayal of figures such as George Martin and George Harrison, the book nonetheless remains an invaluable insight into The Beatles’ recording processes.
In later years Emerick moved to the USA, living in Los Angeles.
His death was announced on 2 October 2018, in a YouTube video posted by his manager William Zabaleta.
Everybody thinks there’s like a rumour going around that Geoff Emerick is dead. Well it’s not a rumour, it’s the truth. Just today, at around two o’clock I was making my way back from Arizona [to] Los Angeles to go pick up Geoff so we can transport some gold records and platinum plaques to our show in Tucson.
While on the phone to Geoff Emerick he… had complications, dropped the phone. At that point I called 911, but by the time they got there it was too late. Geoff suffered from heart problems for a long time, he had a pacemaker and, you know, when it’s your time it’s your time.
We lost a legend, and a best friend to me, and a mentor. And that’s all I can say on the matter. I’m not going to be answering phone calls because everyone’s calling me at the same time. That’s why I’m issuing this statement and I’ll share it everywhere. So yeah, it’s not a rumour. Geoff passed away today. May he rest in peace.
RIP @GeoffEmerick, EMI trainee selected at 20 as balance engineer on Revolver, then Sgt Pepper, the White Album (until he walked away), Abbey Road and the Anthology. He engineered and produced many fine records and was a key interview for the Recording Sessions book in 1987–88.
— Mark Lewisohn (@marklewisohn) October 3, 2018
Also on this day...
- 2015: Ringo Starr live: Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Paso Robles, California
- 2015: Beatles live Cavern Club recording found in desk drawer after 50 years
- 2014: Paul McCartney live: United Spirit Arena, Lubbock, Texas
- 2014: Ringo Starr live: Hard Rock Cafe & Casino, Tulsa, Oklahoma
- 2012: Paul McCartney attends Magical Mystery Tour screening
- 2011: McCartney, Starr, Ono and Olivia Harrison attend the world première of Scorsese documentary Living In The Material World
- 1969: Mixing: Across The Universe
- 1968: Recording: Honey Pie
- 1967: Recording, mixing: Your Mother Should Know, Hello, Goodbye
- 1964: Rehearsal: Shindig!
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1960: Live: Indra Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
A few days ago I finished reading Geoff Emerick’s memoirs as a sound engineer for The Beatles. I hardly knew anything about him until I decided to read this book about the recordings he worked on with the Liverpool band. And I discovered a person who was sensitive, intelligent and in love with music and his work as a sound engineer and producer of some of the greatest works in the history of pop and rock music.
Rest in peace, Geoff. Thank you for the wonderful legacy you left us. In my case, I will remember you especially every time I hear Tomorrow Never Knows: those majestic Ringo drums and John’s voice sounding from the top of the mountain. We will all miss you.
I saw on the news, the day after he died as one of those tiny headlines. Someone in that huge Beatles family was gone, one that helped create some of the Beatles’ best works of art. For example, the Abbey Road medley. It wasn’t his idea to begin with, sure, but it turned out great and is an icon of that iconic album. Just wish he’d put Her Majesty before the whole medley, though, but whatever. I can live with it if he’s the reason for the incredible sounds we’ve got to enjoy.
R.I.P Geoff Emerick
God bless you, and all the other legends up there, or wherever.
Wow just a few weeks ago I was learning more about him, this is truly sad.
I know it’s been a month but I’m still very saddened by his death. I had the honor of seeing him in person at Abbey Road on the River, and although I didn’t have the courage to say anything to him, just being able to look him in the eyes is something that I will remember for many, many years.
R.I.P. Geoff Emerick, you will surely be missed.
I don’t think he was overly critical of George Harrison in his book. I think he honestly stated his opinion of Harrison as a musician who started out with some struggles and eventually blossomed into a very good musician as well as a producer. I know many people would disagree with his assessment, but I don’t think that his opinion is completely without merit. Paul McCartney was famously critical of George’s playing as well.