Sandy Pearlman, a key pioneer in hard rock, best known as the svengali who propelled Blue Öyster Cult to fame, and who produced the Clash’s second album, has died aged 72.
The musician and industry figure had suffered a cerebral haemorrhage in December. According to a Facebook post by Pearlman’s friend Robert Duncan, the “poet, writer, songwriter, producer, manager, professor, polymath, visionary, passed peacefully, surrounded by love, at 12.30am, July 26, 2016, in Marin County, California.” He added that a “celebration of his life” will be announced soon.
On a GoFundMe page, which Duncan set up in June to help raise money for Pearlman’s medical costs, his friend praised the producer’s many skills. “He is a pioneer of rock criticism, at Crawdaddy! and other seminal publications, a pioneer of heavy metal (a phrase he may have been the first to use, as a rock critic) [and] a pioneer of punk, paisley underground and goth.”
Besides his writing work as both a critic and poet, Pearlman helped Blue Öyster Cult develop, producing eight of their albums, including 1988’s Imaginos, which took lyrics from Pearlman’s collection of poems. He also booked their first gigs in New York and set up the band’s crucial meeting with former Columbia president Clive Davis, who gave them a record deal.
He went on to work with many artists, including Pavlov’s Dog, the Dictators and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and produced the Clash’s first US release, the 1978 album Give ’Em Enough Rope, and had a managerial role with Black Sabbath from 1979 to 1983.
Pearlman also turned his attention to the world of online retail, and became vice-president of the online music and audiobook store eMusic. He was a consultant and professor of music in the digital era, as well as English and religious studies, teaching at McGill University, in Montreal, and the University of Toronto.
This article was written by Guardian music, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 27th July 2016 13.40 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010