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Geoff Emerick, Beatles recording engineer, dies at 72

Ringo Starr congratulates EMI recording studio audio engineer

Ringo Starr congratulates EMI recording studio audio engineer Geoff Emerick on his Grammy Award at the EMI studios in London on March 7, 1968. Credit: Getty Images / Monti Spry

LONDON — 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, has died. He was 72.

Abbey Road Studios confirmed the death Wednesday and vowed to ensure that Emerick’s legacy lives on at the studio where many Beatles classics were recorded.

Colleague William Zabaleta told Variety that Emerick collapsed and died Tuesday while they were talking on the telephone. He said Emerick had suffered from heart problems in recent years.

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 Beatles were breaking new ground in popular music. They had stopped touring and focused all their attention on the studio, where Emerick excelled.

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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