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Eulogy: Sandy Pearlman

One of the most amazing people I've ever had the honor of knowing in my life was Sandy Pearlman. He was probably the biggest influence in my life and career (and always will be) since the moment I first met him. It is with extreme sadness that we have to say goodbye on this plane of existence as he passed away July 26, 2016 from pneumonia he suffered as a complication of the cerebral hemorrhage that left him debilitated in December, 2015.

But much more important than remembering him as a personal friend and mentor was the fact that he was one of the single most influential movers and shakers in the music - especially Metal and Punk - industries. Some of the things he's best known for will follow the next comment that I just have to make from a personal level:

He wrote some of the most profound lyrics I've ever heard in my life including "Astronomy" (the original from Blue Oyster Cult's Secret Treaties album), "Seven Screaming Diz Busters" (in fact, most of his contributions to the Tyranny & Mutation album, the entirety of BOC's Imaginos album, and many others! When I first met him, he described himself as a "ceremonial alchemist", and he was the one who not only came up with BOC's name, but logo as well, which he said, "is the Greek alchemical symbol for Lead and Chaos. What better sums up Heavy Metal?!" (In fact, he was the first one to coin the term "Heavy Metal" for what was becoming the more extreme of the then Hard Rock genre.) One of the most brilliant minds I've ever seen, Sandy used to read stuff like "Scientific American" just for kicks. He was an absolute genius in many ways!

I remember the very first time I met him - when at the age of 16, I was working for a local radio station, WGTB-FM and was scheduled to interview Blue Oyster Cult backstage at the Alexandria Roller Rink in Alexandria, VA. Although my name was on the list, the promoter was giving me a hard time about letting me in. This guy I didn't know at the time - who turned out to be none other than Sandy Pearlman - came up behind me and said, "That's Eric's sister. You let her in, or we don't play." The promoter asked, "You're Eric's sister?" Figuring I'd better play along, I responded, "You didn't know that?!" We proceeded backstage where Sandy introduced me to the band as "Eric's new kid sister". That was when I first put Sandy on a pedestal, hero-worshipping him most of my life!

Born Samuel Clarke Pearlman on August 5, 1943, Sandy was undeniably one of the most important people in Rock history! He is best known as a producer, songwriter, manager, record company executive, poet, and professor. He was the recipient of 17 Gold and Platinum albums.

He is best known as manager/producer/lyricist for Blue Oyster Cult from their inception as Soft White Underbelly up through the aforementioned Imaginos album. He also managed Black Sabbath during their Ronnie James Dio-frontman era (1979-1983), a liaison that spawned the "Black & Blue World Tour" which is available on DVD.

He produced The Clash's most influential album, Give 'Em Enough Rope, as well as managing the likes of Aldo Nova, The Dictators, Romeo Void, Shakin Street, and Pavlov's Dog. He took over the alternative label 415 Records, changing its name to Popular Metaphysics, and owned the Alpha & Omega Recording Studio in San Francisco. He was founding vice president of eMusic.com, one of the first sites to sell music in MP3 format. In 2009, Sandy was appointed as an at-large member of the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) of the Library of Congress.

Also, according to Wikipedia, Sandy "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. 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."

The world has lost a true shining light! He will forever be missed!!!

~Athena Schaffer