Audio engineer for The Beatles BORN DECEMBER 5, 1945 – DIED OCTOBER 2, 2018, AGED 72
GEOFF Emerick spent his career producing the psychedelic sounds that are synonymous with the Fab Four.
Born the son of a butcher and a dressmaker, Emerick grew up in Crouch End, London. He left school at 15 to join the record label EMI. Working there as a technician, Emerick learnt the tricks of the trade but grew frustrated as he was not allowed free rein to experiment with sounds.
However in April 1966 his opportunity came when The Beatles’ regular engineer Norman Smith became a producer.
Emerick did his first solo engineering session for them on the album Revolver and was then encouraged to experiment.
When recording Tomorrow Never Knows, John Lennon’s vision was for the track to sound like “the Dalai Lama singing on top of a mountain”.
As a pioneer of new sounds, it was Emerick’s idea to record him through a Leslie rotating speaker, giving a distinctive swirling effect to distort the vocal. He was credited by Beatles producer George Martin with bringing “a new kind of mind to the recordings, always suggesting sonic ideas”.
Emerick received a Grammy for his work on Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club in 1968 and another for Abbey Road in 1970.
When The Beatles split in 1970 Emerick worked on Paul McCartney’s later albums and earned his third Grammy for Band On The Run by Wings.
In 1984 he moved to LA where he worked with Elvis Costello, Art Garfunkel and Kate Bush. Five years later he married Nicole Graham, with McCartney as his best man. He gained his fourth Grammy in 2003, a technical award for his overall contribution to recorded music.
Emerick died after a heart attack. His wife predeceased him in 1993.
SOUND WIZARD: Geoff Emerick