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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Injustice Of The Beatle's Engineers

I had the pleasure of lunch today with engineer/producer Ken Scott, who in addition to being one of The Beatle's engineers, went on to produce some of the greatest albums ever for David Bowie, Supertramp, Missing Persons, Marivishnu Orchestra, Dixie Dregs, Jeff Beck and many others.

As we dined, Day Tripper came on the background music system and Ken began telling the stories about being there that so many of us Beatle's fans just can't get enough of (you'll read these stories in his upcoming book that I'm helping him write).

During the course of our conversation, he mentioned that none of The Beatles engineers ever received a gold record or any official recognition of any kind for their contributions to some of the greatest recordings in music history. Imagine that - over a billion records sold and Ken, Norman Smith, Geoff Emerick, Phil McDonald, Glyn Johns et al never got an official award???!!!

The reason was that they didn't give awards to engineers in the days when the records were made, which is fair enough, but what about the diamond-selling reissues like "1" (the top selling album in the last decade)? And if the engineers who did the remastering of The Beatles catalog got awards, why shouldn't the original crew who made it all possible get them as well?

I think it's high time that we all say thanks to these great engineers, and the industry gets it together to recognize them for their groundbreaking achievements. After a billion sales (yes, billion with a "b"), they so richly deserve it.

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Peter Toriello said...

Heck yeah! If it is any consolation, there are really lots of people to whom these fabulously talented engineers are household names. It may not hang on their wall, but their contributions mean a lot to us.

It still would be great to see some official recognition, of course. I had the pleasure of meeting Ken at Winter NAMM 2010 and it was a true honor. Can't wait to read his upcoming book :)

dobbo said...

Never mind sales..... how about just being the best at what they do!!!

aLf said...

As far as I know, Geoff Emerick received Grammy Awards for the engineering of „Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“ and „Abbey Road.

Bobby Owsinski said...

Not according to Ken. None of them ever received an award.

rewind1964 said...

Glyn Johns did receive an RIAA gold record award for his work on "Let It Be" back in the early ' 70s. He was eligible because he was a freelance engineer.

However, it is a crime that none of the EMI Abbey Road engineers who worked on the Beatles albums were never awarded. Sadly, Norman Smith has passed on, but it would be nice to see Geoff, Ken & Phil receive the industry recognition that they deserve.

May I add to that list Richard Lush. He was the 2nd engineer on many Beatles recordings from Sgt. Pepper onwards - spending more time (hour wise) assisting the balance engineer & manning the tape machine than any other person. It would also be nice to see Ken Townsend receive one - just for coming up with ADT...if for nothing else.
Honorable mention goes to Barry Sheffield for his balance contributions to 5 of the "White Album" tracks - as well as 'Hey Jude'.

Gary Boatner said...

I used to work at United/Western Studios with Chuck Britz and many other legendary engineers. Chuck did not have any awards given to him for his classic recordings of The Beach Boys either.


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