Sandy Pearlman

Last updated
Sandy Pearlman
Birth nameSamuel Clarke Pearlman
Born(1943-08-05)August 5, 1943
Rockaway, Queens, New York, US
DiedJuly 26, 2016(2016-07-26) (aged 72)
Marin County, California, US
Occupation(s)Music producer, talent manager, record executive
Years active1967–2016
Associated acts

Samuel Clarke "Sandy" Pearlman [1] (August 5, 1943 – July 26, 2016) was an American music producer, artist manager, music journalist and critic, professor, poet, songwriter, and record company executive. He was best known for founding, writing for, producing, or co-producing many LPs by Blue Öyster Cult, as well as producing important albums by The Clash, The Dictators, Pavlov's Dog, Space Team Electra, and Dream Syndicate; he was also the founding Vice President of He was the Schulich Distinguished Professor Chair at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, and from August 2014 held a Marshall McLuhan Centenary Fellowship at the Coach House Institute (CHI) of the University of Toronto Faculty of Information as part of the CHI's McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology.

A talent manager is an individual or company who guides the professional career of artists in the entertainment industry. The responsibility of the talent manager is to oversee the day-to-day business affairs of an artist; advise and counsel talent concerning professional matters, long-term plans and personal decisions which may affect their career.

Professor academic title at universities and other post-secondary education and research institutions in most countries

Professor is an academic rank at universities and other post-secondary education and research institutions in most countries. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences, a teacher of the highest rank.

Poet person who writes and publishes poetry

A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perform their art to an audience.



Pearlman was born in the Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, New York, [1] the son of pharmacy operator Hyman Pearlman. [2] He received his B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1966.

In 1967, Pearlman hand-picked musicians for a rock band to perform the lyrics that he was writing, based on his Imaginos poems. He dubbed the band "Soft White Underbelly" (from a World War II speech by Winston Churchill) and later changed their name to "Blue Öyster Cult". He managed the band (with Murray Krugman) from 1967–1995, and produced or co-produced 7 of their studio albums, and 4 of their live albums. Significantly, Pearlman was co-producer, with David Lucas and Murray Krugman, of BÖC's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" in 1976. [3] The song reached No. 12 on the Top 40 charts [4] and has remained an FM radio staple since. On the Rolling Stone list of top 500 songs of all time, it is listed as No. 405. [3]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Winston Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during most of World War II

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a British statesman, army officer, and writer. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when he led Britain to victory in the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as a Member of Parliament (MP). Ideologically an economic liberal and imperialist, for most of his career he was a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but from 1904 to 1924 was instead a member of the Liberal Party.

Blue Öyster Cult American hard rock band

Blue Öyster Cult is an American rock band formed on Long Island, New York in 1967, perhaps best known for the singles "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Burnin' for You", and "Godzilla." Blue Öyster Cult has sold more than 24 million records worldwide, including 7 million in the United States alone. The band's music videos, especially "Burnin' for You," received heavy rotation on MTV when the music television network premiered in 1981, cementing the band's contribution to the development and success of the music video in modern popular culture.

In 1966, he was introduced to the founder of Crawdaddy! magazine, Paul Williams, by Playboy political analyst Michael Horowitz; by 1967 Pearlman had become one of the original rock music critics of the magazine along with Williams, Jon Landau and Richard Meltzer, with Horowitz later penning a cover profile of Jim Morrison for Crawdaddy! in April 1969.

<i>Playboy</i> Mens lifestyle and entertainment magazine based in Chicago

Playboy is an American men's lifestyle and entertainment magazine. It was founded in Chicago in 1953, by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. Notable for its centerfolds of nude and semi-nude models (Playmates), Playboy played an important role in the sexual revolution and remains one of the world's best-known brands, having grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (PEI), with a presence in nearly every medium. In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide.

Jon Landau is an American music critic, manager, and record producer. He has worked with Bruce Springsteen in all three capacities. He is the head of the nominating committee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Richard Meltzer is a rock critic, performer, and writer. He is considered by some rock historians to be the first to write real analysis of rock and roll and is credited with inventing "rock criticism".

Pearlman was considered an important figure in the development of both alternative and commercial American rock music, and for his intervention in British punk.[ citation needed ] He was drafted by record company CBS to produce Give 'Em Enough Rope , The Clash's second album, which gave the band their largest audience to date, and also produced many of the tracks that were compiled in "Black Market Clash". He was described as the "Hunter Thompson of rock, a gonzo producer of searing intellect and vast vision.", in the Billboard Producer Directory. [5]

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.

Pearlman also worked as a full-time artist manager, managing the careers of Blue Öyster Cult, Black Sabbath (1979–1983), Romeo Void, The Dictators, Shakin' Street, Aldo Nova and others. In the 1980s, he pioneered the mega-tour stadium format of several bands traveling together, sharing promotional costs and production and travel costs, a format persisting today with the Lollapalooza Festival, the Lilith Fair and related tour packages. [6]

Black Sabbath British heavy metal band

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.

Romeo Void American rock band

Romeo Void was an American new wave/post punk band from San Francisco, California, formed in 1979. The band primarily consisted of saxophonist Benjamin Bossi, vocalist Debora Iyall, guitarist Peter Woods, and bassist Frank Zincavage. The band went through four drummers, starting with Jay Derrah and ending with Aaron Smith. The band released three albums, It's a Condition, Benefactor and Instincts, along with one EP. They are best known for the songs "Never Say Never" and "A Girl in Trouble "; the latter became a Top 40 pop single.

The Dictators were an American punk rock band formed in New York City in 1973. Critic John Dougan said that they were "one of the finest and most influential proto-punk bands to walk the earth."

In 1983, Pearlman leased Studio C in San Francisco's The Automatt Studios from studio owner David Rubinson and dubbed it Time Enough World Enough Studios. After The Automatt closed in 1984, he leased Studio C at Hyde Street Studios from studio owner Dan Alexander. Pearlman ran a recording operation in Studio C as Alpha & Omega Studio from 1986 until 1991. He also used it for his own projects, including those on his short-lived MCA-distributed label Popular Metaphysics, and he also sub-leased it to other producers and artists.

In 1989 he took over as president of the alternative record company 415 Records and established a production and distribution deal for the label with MCA Records, before purchasing the company and changing the label's name to Popular Metaphysics.

The label was short lived, but it signed a few solid acts and released their records on the MCA label, including Love Club (1990), Manitoba's Wild Kingdom (1990), and World Entertainment War (1991). [7] [8] [9] The 1991 edition of Mark Garvey's Songwriters' Market, published in 1990, carried a listing that read as follows: "*SANDY PEARLMAN, INC., 245 Hyde St., San Francisco CA 94102. (415)885-4999. A&R Director: Natasha V. Record producer, record company (Popular Metaphysics, formerly 415), recording studio (Alpha & Omega Recording, Hyde Street Studios)." [10]

In the late 1990s, Pearlman served as the founding vice-president of, a subscription store for download-to-own online music and audiobooks that is headquartered in New York City and now owned by Dimensional Associates. eMusic was one of the first sites to sell music in the MP3 format, beginning in 1998. As of September 2008, eMusic had over 400,000 subscribers. [11] He also served as vice-president of media development for, the first on-line music recommendation engine, from 2000–2003.

In 2009, Sandy Pearlman was appointed as an at-large member of the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) of the Library of Congress. [12] [13]

Pearlman was the Schulich Distinguished Chair of music at McGill University in Montreal, specializing in the programs in music theory, sound recording and music technology; he later served as Centenary Fellow at the McLuhan Center for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto, where he co-taught a course on Digital Media Distribution. [14] Additionally, he was a visiting lecturer at Harvard, Stanford, University of California Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and an invited speaker at the Mill Valley Film Festival, Future of Music Coalition, Canadian Music Week and SxSW Festivals. As a Professor and as a public speaker, Pearlman lectured on the architecture of the music industry, strategies for re-monetizing music downloads, and the history and future of music. He owned Alpha & Omega Recording, a 72-track analog recording facility in San Rafael, California. His production career was managed by Peter Shershin at Breathing Protection, Inc. [15]

Pearlman died on July 26, 2016 in Marin County, California from pneumonia due to stroke-related complications. He was 72. [1] [16] [17]


Pearlman was the recipient of 17 gold and platinum records. [5]

Production credits [18]

Related Research Articles

<i>Agents of Fortune</i> 1976 studio album by Blue Öyster Cult

Agents of Fortune is the fourth studio album by American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, originally released by Columbia Records on May 21, 1976.

<i>Imaginos</i> 1988 studio album by Blue Öyster Cult

Imaginos is the eleventh studio album by the American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult. It was released in 1988, and was their last recording with their original record label, CBS/Columbia Records. The album took nearly eight years to complete and was originally intended to be the first in a trilogy of solo albums by Blue Öyster Cult drummer and songwriter Albert Bouchard. Bouchard was fired in August 1981, and CBS rejected the album in 1984, but a re-worked version was eventually published as a product of the band. Many musicians contributed to the project over this eight-year span, including Joe Satriani, Aldo Nova, and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, but some band members were barely involved in the recording process. Thus, Imaginos is often considered more as a project of producer and lyricist Sandy Pearlman than as a true album of the band.

<i>Secret Treaties</i> 1974 studio album by Blue Öyster Cult

Secret Treaties is the third studio album by American rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released in April 1974 by Columbia.

<i>Blue Öyster Cult</i> (album) 1972 studio album by Blue Öyster Cult

Blue Öyster Cult is the eponymous debut studio album by the American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released on January 16, 1972 by Columbia Records. The album featured songs such as "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll", "Stairway to the Stars", and "Then Came the Last Days of May", all of which the band still plays regularly during its concerts. Despite positive reviews, the album failed to chart for some time before finally cracking the Billboard 200 chart on May 20, 1972, peaking at No. 172. Blue Öyster Cult toured with artists such as The Byrds, Alice Cooper and the Mahavishnu Orchestra to support the album.

<i>Tyranny and Mutation</i> 1973 studio album by Blue Öyster Cult

Tyranny and Mutation is the second studio album by American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released on February 11, 1973 by Columbia Records. It was produced by Murray Krugman and Sandy Pearlman. On May 12, 1973, the album peaked at No. 122 on the Billboard 200 chart.

(Dont Fear) The Reaper Song by Blue Oyster Cult

"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is a song by American rock band Blue Öyster Cult from the band's 1976 album Agents of Fortune. The song, written and sung by lead guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, deals with eternal love and the inevitability of death. Dharma wrote the song while picturing an early death for himself.

More Cowbell Saturday Night Live sketch

"More Cowbell" is a comedy sketch that aired on Saturday Night Live on April 8, 2000. The sketch is presented as an episode of VH1's documentary series Behind the Music that fictionalizes the recording of the song "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult. The sketch featured guest host Christopher Walken as music producer "The Bruce Dickinson", and regular cast member Will Ferrell, who wrote the sketch with playwright Donnell Campbell, as fictional cowbell player Gene Frenkle, whose overzealous playing annoys his bandmates but pleases producer Dickinson. The sketch also starred Chris Parnell as Eric Bloom, Jimmy Fallon as Albert Bouchard, Chris Kattan as Buck Dharma and Horatio Sanz as Joe Bouchard.

<i>Some Enchanted Evening</i> (Blue Öyster Cult album) Blue Öyster Cult album

Some Enchanted Evening is the second live album by the American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, released in September 1978. It is Blue Öyster Cult's best-selling album, having sold two million copies, including over a million in the United States. The album's seven original tracks were recorded at various locations in the United States and England.

<i>Club Ninja</i> 1985 studio album by Blue Öyster Cult

Club Ninja is the tenth studio album by American hard rock group Blue Öyster Cult, released December 10, 1985 in the United Kingdom and on February 11, 1986 in the United States. The album was intended as a comeback for the band, whose previous album The Revölution by Night failed to attain Gold status following the success of 1981's Fire of Unknown Origin and 1982's Extraterrestrial Live. Club Ninja sold more than 175,000 copies, falling well short of gold status again, and because of its high cost, Columbia Records executives deemed it a commercial failure. The album was re-issued on compact disc on March 10, 2009, by Sony-owned reissue label American Beat Records, which had also reissued the band's 1988 album, Imaginos.

<i>A Long Days Night</i> live album

A Long Day's Night is a live album by American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, recorded in Chicago, Illinois, on 21 June 2002. It is so named because that day was 2002's summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

Buck Dharma American musician

Donald Bruce Roeser, more commonly known by his stage name Buck Dharma, is an American guitarist and songwriter, best known for being a member of Blue Öyster Cult since the group's formation in 1967. He wrote and sang vocals on several of the band's best-known hits, including "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," "Godzilla" and "Burnin' for You."

"Astronomy" is a song by rock band Blue Öyster Cult that has appeared on several of the band's albums. It was first released on their 1974 album Secret Treaties. Their second live album, Some Enchanted Evening, included a version with an extended guitar solo and a third version was included on the Imaginos album. It was also re-recorded for the band's Cult Classic collection in connection with the TV miniseries of Stephen King's The Stand. Most recently, the song was included on the A Long Day's Night album.

<i>Workshop of the Telescopes</i> 1995 greatest hits album by Blue Öyster Cult

Workshop of the Telescopes is a two-disc compilation album by the American band Blue Öyster Cult, released by Sony Music/Columbia Entertainment in 1995. All of the material on this album was recorded prior to the Imaginos sessions; some of it was previously only available on promo discs, and a few others were previously unavailable on CD.

<i>St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings</i> 2001 compilation album by Stalk-Forrest Group

St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings is a compilation album by the American rock band Stalk-Forrest Group. The tracks were recorded in 1969 and early 1970, but not officially released until 2001. The album compiles all the recorded output by the group that was recorded for Elektra Records during their short tenure with the label.

Fabienne Shine French singer

Fabienne Shine is a French model, actress and musician, born in Tunisia, North Africa in 1944 and raised in Paris at early age. She started writing songs at early age and compose her own music. She went travelling the world with her guitare and met the Band Led Zeppelin who liked her songs. Jimmy Page got involved romantically with her. Robert Plant and Page often jammed with her and finally suggested her to create a band. After touring the US with Led Zeppelin she went back to Europe and met at a concert in Paris a young guitarist Eric Levi. They decided to start a band in 1976: Shakin'Street. Marc Zermati was their manager and invited them to play at his Festival of Mont de Marsan. They got exposed to the press and signed a contract with CBS France and Columbia Records USA. The band had gathered musicians like Louis Bertignac and Corinne Marienneau, who would later join the French rock band, Téléphone. In 1978 they signed with CBS France and recorded their first album: Vampire Rock, and a year later, in 1979, they recorded their second album Solid As A Rock in New-York and San Francisco with Columbia record producer Sandy Pearlman, known for creating the band Blue Oyster Cult. Ross Friedman, aka Ross the Boss, guitarist from New York joined to become the lead-guitarist of Shakin'Street.

<i>On Flame with Rock and Roll</i> 1990 compilation album by Blue Öyster Cult

On Flame with Rock and Roll is a compilation album by the hard rock band, the Blue Öyster Cult, released in 1990 by CBS Special Products.

David Lucas (composer) Rock and roll composer and music producer

David Lucas is an American rock and roll composer, singer, and music producer. He has written thousands of commercial jingles, such as AT&T's "Reach Out and Touch Someone." In 1981, he received a Clio Award for composing the music to Pepsi's "Catch That Pepsi Spirit." As a record producer, he worked with many new artists such as Blue Öyster Cult. On the 1976 Blue Öyster Cult song "Don't Fear the Reaper" which he co-produced, Lucas sang backup vocals and came up with the idea for using a cowbell, parodied by Christopher Walken in the "More cowbell" skit on Saturday Night Live. In June 2011, Lucas was inducted into Buffalo's Music Hall of Fame.

The Automatt was a sound recording studio in San Francisco, California, promoted for its early mix automation system. During its eight active years, 1976 to 1984, it was one of the top recording studios in the region. The Automatt was founded by producer David Rubinson and opened in an existing studio subleased from Columbia Records, who continued to record in the same building for a few years; thus it was sometimes referred to as CBS/Automatt. Rubinson leased the whole building in 1978 and from that point, operated three rooms for recording and mixing, a mastering room, a rehearsal room, and offices. The studio complex was known for its top-notch equipment, for the hit records it produced, and for the famous artists who recorded there. Under Rubinson and chief engineer Fred Catero it served as the training ground for respected recording engineers such as Leslie Ann Jones and producers such as Scott Mathews.

Alpha & Omega Recording is the San Rafael, California recording studio of American music producer, Sandy Pearlman.


  1. 1 2 3 Jon Pareles, "Sandy Pearlman, Producer, Manager and Lyricist for Blue Öyster Cult, Dies at 72", The New York Times, July 26, 2016
  2. Albert Bouchard interview on by Ralph, Feb. 12, 2005
  3. 1 2 "500 Greatest Songs of All Time: No. 405, Blue Oyster Cult, 'Don't Fear the Reaper'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  4. "(Don't Fear) The Reaper". Rolling Stone. Wenner Publishing. 2004-12-09. Retrieved 2007-06-06.
  5. 1 2 "Breathing Protection Producer & Artist Management: Sandy Pearlman". Breathing Protection. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  6. Billboard Encyclopedia of Record Producers, entry on Sandy Pearlman, ©1999
  7. "All Music Guide: Love Club, Lime Twigs and Treachery" . Retrieved 2011-06-28.
  8. Ginsberg, Geoff. "All Music Guide: Manitoba's Wild Kingdom Biography" . Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  9. "All Music Guide: World Entertainment War credits" . Retrieved 2011-06-30.
  10. Garvey, Mark (1990). Songwriter's market, 1991: where & how to market your songs. Writer's Digest Books. p. 273. Retrieved June 30, 2011.
  11. "FAQs | Support". Archived from the original on 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  12. Klein, Howie (2009-09-06). "Rock Music Legend Sandy Pearlman On The Passing Of Feminine Culture Power Source, Ellie Greenwich". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  13. "National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress". United States Library of Congress. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  14. "Digital Media Distribution (JDM3619HF) - Centre for Innovation Law and Policy". Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  15. "Breathing Protection, Inc. Background". Archived from the original on 2011-01-21. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  16. Swanson, Dave (July 26, 2016). "Producer Sandy Pearlman Dies at 72". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  17. "Legendary BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Producer SANDY PEARLMAN Dies At 72". July 26, 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  18. "Blue Oyster Cult Discography: Production Credits, Sandy Pearlman" . Retrieved 2011-07-04.