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Led Zeppelin I, Imagine (John Lennon), All Things Must Pass (George Harrison), Last Exit (Traffic), Look At Yourself (Uriah Heep), The Concert for Bangla Desh, Made In Japan (Deep Purple), Volume 4 (Black Sabbath), Living In The Past (Jethro Tull), Selling England By The Pound (Genesis), Armed Forces (Elvis Costello), Fear Of Music (The Talking Heads), Powerage (AC/DC). All classic albums of the 1970s and all have one thing in common: The masters for these records were all cut by one man. His name is George Peckham, also known by his two nicknames Pecko and Porky. Many, many records in the 1970s until his retirement in the 1990s were cut by him, for such diverse artists as Elvis Costello, Joy Division, Public Image Limited, Madness, Motörhead, Scritti Politti – too many to mention.
Mastering a record means the engineer transfers the master tape of the recording onto an acetate disc as loud as possible and to make it sound as good as possible, with the help of some equalization. George Peckham is considered the top in his field along with Robert Ludwig, Greg Calbi and Bernie Grundman. Records which carry the stamp of these cutters are regarded by vinyl collectors as the best ever. George Peckham’s cuts literally carried his stamp, his productions were always inscribed in the dead wax (i.e. run-out groove) of every disc he was involved in – his trade mark of quality.
This is the autobiography of George Peckham, born in Liverpool in 1942. George, like so many English kids in the early 1960s, was inspired by the skiffle craze and early beat movement to pick up a guitar to form a group, as they were then called. George formed a group called The Renegades in the early 1960s in Liverpool. When that band broke up, George joined The Pawns who were quite successful with tours in Germany and in and around their hometown. After a short stint with Lee Curtis and his All Stars, George was asked to join The Fourmost with which he recorded two singles and performed all over Europe. Around this time George got more and more interested in the technical side of the record business (recording and engineering techniques) and when The Beatles formed their Apple company George was hired as a trainee cutting engineer to Malcolm Davies in November 1968. In 1970 George joined George Harrison to New York to help him with the mastering of George’s legendary All Things Must Pass album. In 1971 George and a couple of Apple employees formed a band called Matchbox with which he recorded a few songs and performed on British TV. This project, however, was short-lived and George was promoted to balancing engineer for Apple Records in January 1972. He remained with Apple until April 1973, when he decided to start up his own mastering company called The Master Room, which operated until the late 1990’s, when he decided to retire.
This, then, is his life story and it is hilariously funny, sad at times, revealing, uplifting, shocking, fascinating and never boring. A life full of sex (a lot), drugs (a little) and rock & roll (more than enough) is described in an entertaining style in a book you just can’t lay down. Spiced up with photos and documents from George’s own collection, this is the only true story of a man who became a legend in his own lifetime as the man who mastered so many classic records we still enjoy today.
1 Starting Out in Liverpool
2 On the Road
3 The Pop Industry
4 Danger in Germany & Heading North to Hamburg
5 Moving On, Alone
6 Joining the Fourmost and Brian Epstein
7 Epstein’s Bigger Gigs
8 Recording, Abbey Road & Beyond to Apple
9 Mad ‘Magic’ Alex Mardas & Building the Apple Studio
10 The Beginning at Apple & Apple Studios – Apple Antics & Jack Oliver & Matchbox (the Apple Band)
11 In the Beginning, Fun & Partying at Home & Meeting Up with Old Mates
12 America, My First Visit for Apple
13 Back to England, Over to Apple, Bolan, Zeppelin, the Plastic Ono Band & Others!
14 A Bit More Fun at Apple
15 Get On the Right “Track…….Records”
16 Pubbing and Clubbing
17 The Master Rooms – London
18 Chas Chandler, Portland Studios, London & the Arden’s Take Over
19 Porky’s Mastering & Going Digital
20 More Great Mastering Sessions, More Great Artistes
21 Life After Mastering
- Limited edition of 500 copies worldwide
- Each copy handsigned by George Peckham
- Hardback cover
- 160 Pages
- 186 photos and illustrations of rare documents, rare discs and never before seen photos from George’s personal archive
- Dimensions: 30 x 30 x 5 cm. (12″ x 12″ x 2″)