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Geoff Emerick, who worked as recording engineer for The Beatles for many years and played an important role in the creation of Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and other albums, died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 72.
Abbey Road Studios confirmed his death, likely caused by cardiac arrest, and vowed to ensure that Emerick’s legacy lives on at the studio where many Beatles classics were recorded.
The Beatles’ Twitter site called Emerick’s work integral to the band’s music. He played an influential role during the late 1960s period regarded by many as the apex of The Beatles’ work.
At the time, the group was breaking new ground in popular music. They had stopped touring and focused all their attention on the studio, where Emerick excelled.
Paul McCartney paid tribute to Emerick on Wednesday: “He was a great engineer and friend, and even though The Beatles had many great engineers over the years Geoff was the ONE. He was smart, fun-loving and the genius behind many of the great sounds on our records. I worked with him after The Beatles and it was always fun and the sounds he managed to conjure up were always special.”
In one famous story that Emerick told on numerous occasions, he came up with a unique solution when John Lennon told him he wanted his voice to sound like “the Dalai Lama singing from a mountaintop 25 miles away from the studio” on the song “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
Emerick found a way to process Lennon’s voice through a revolving speaker to produce a masterpiece of psychedelic music.
“That sort of won John over,” Emerick said in 2016.
Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer George Martin, called Emerick “one of the finest and most innovative engineers to have graced a recording studio.”
He said Emerick “helped create” the greatest music ever recorded.
Lennon’s son Julian tweeted that Emerick was “one of a kind.”
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