Producer Sandy Pearlman Dies at 72
Sandy Pearlman, one of rock and roll’s most revered producers, has died. He’s worked with everyone from the Dictators to the Clash, but he’s best known for his association with Blue Oyster Cult. He was 72.
Pearlman suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in December that left him “unable to walk, talk or fully comprehend his circumstances,” according to a Go Fund Me page set up by a friend to help pay medical expenses. That friend, Robert Duncan, broke the news of Pearlman’s death on Facebook.
Pearlman was much more than a producer. He was one of the first staff members at Crawdaddy, one of rock music’s first serious publications. He was also a songwriter and band manager with clients that included the Dictators, Aldo Nova, Dio-era Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult.
But not everyone was a fan of his work. Pearlman was criticized for his “Americanized” production on the Clash’s Give ‘Em Enough Rope album. And with Dictators Go Girl Crazy, he helped fashion one of the first records to come out of the ’70s punk scene.
Pearlman was also a label owner, a member of the Library of Congress preservation board and a professor of music and philosophy, teaching at McGill, Stanford, Harvard and UC Berkeley, to name a few places, over the years.
“I knew Sandy Pearlman and Murray Krugman — they were working with Blue Oyster Cult. They got us the deal,” recalled Dictators leader Andy Shernoff. “Columbia paid for a demo even before they heard us. Sandy and Murray said ‘Okay, here’s some money.’ We did the demo at this classical studio down on 30th Street where they recorded orchestras. So they just invested some money in the demo, they heard it and they liked it.”
“Sandy Pearlman drove us to the limit and beyond,” said Dream Syndicate guitarist and singer Seve Wynn, who worked with Pearlman on his band’s 1984 album Medicine Show. “You can hear the discipline, defiance, cracks-in-the-armor, mania, psychoses and the final graduation from all of the above.”
Pearlman produced nine Blue Oyster Cult albums, including Tyranny and Mutation, Secret Treaties and Agents Of Fortune. He was also immortalized in Saturday Night Live‘s famous “more cowbell” skit (even though Bruce Dickinson, who oversaw the band’s reissues, is name-checked). “I should be more grateful,” he later said. “See, I don’t really like cowbell that much, and it’s not actually that loud. It’s the radio compressors that make it loud. Actually I needed less cowbell.”
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