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Allan Rouse, Modern-Day ‘Gatekeeper’ for the Beatles, Dies

Beatles engineer and archivist Allan Rouse, who played a key role in the band’s BBC, Anthology and compact disc reissue series, has died. No specific information on cause of death was released, though the Beatles and producer George Martin’s son confirmed Rouse had suffered from a lengthy illness.

Giles Martin remembered Rouse as the “gatekeeper” for the Beatles at Abbey Road. “He looked after and cherished everything that was recorded by the band and my father all those years ago,” the younger Martin said. “Only Allan knew where everything was and only Allan was trusted with preserving the tapes and the legacy of the most successful band in the history of recorded music.”

He was part of a group that earned a 2011 Grammy for the Beatles stereo remix box, and helped create the multi-channel mixes used to complete the surround sound for Love album. That trust was earned over a lengthy tenure at Apple. Rouse worked his way up for the lower ranks beginning in the early ’70s, as he recalled in a 2010 interview with Jason Kennedy.

“I started off working on film scores at Abbey Road, but got the job of making safety copies of every Beatles tape,” Rouse said. “At that time they’d never been backed up. … Midway through that process, George Martin was making a program about the making of Sgt. Pepper and needed to go over the tapes again, and needed some help. So I did that, and at the end of the process he said I’ll probably be seeing you again, but he didn’t elaborate. He came back to do the Beatles at the BBC and I spent six months remastering that. And then this was followed by another stint where we worked together for a year on the Anthology series. By then, I was becoming the person people turned to when they needed some Beatles work done.”

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Beatle widows Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono issued also a joint statement in remembrance of Rouse.

“Allan joined Abbey Road studios in 1972 and during his time there made an invaluable contribution towards preserving the music and legacy of the Beatles. He worked on all the releases with extraordinary dedication and loyalty,” they said. “Allan was a true friend of the band and of everyone at Apple, and will be remembered with great affection by those of us who were lucky enough to spend time working with him.”

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Next: Beatles Albums, Ranked Worst to Best

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