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Criteria music studio founder Mack Emerman dies at 89

MIAMI -- Mack Emerman, the founder of Criteria Recording Studios where acts including Eric Clapton, James Brown and the Bee Gees made some of their most famous records, has died after a long illness. He was 89.

His daughter Bebe Emerman said Tuesday that her father died of complications from pneumonia at the Miami Jewish Home for the Aged, where he had lived since his health began failing in 2004. The Criteria studio, which he opened in 1959 in North Miami, has been operated by the Hit Factory since 1999.

Some 250 gold or platinum singles and albums were recorded at Criteria, which became known as Atlantic Records South when Emerman formed an alliance with producer Tom Dowd.

The records include "Layla" by Clapton's group Derek and the Dominoes, James Brown's "I Feel Good," "Eat A Peach" by The Allman Brothers Band and parts of huge 1970s hits such as "Saturday Night Fever" by the Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" and "Hotel California" by the Eagles.

Things went downhill for Emerman in the 1980s. He sold Criteria to a local investor in 1988 and three years later he was forced out.

Bebe Emermen said her father suffered from depression for years afterward.

Besides Bebe Emerman, Mack Emerman is survived by daughter Julie Goldman of Miami, as well as two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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