In 1968, at the advanced age of 21, Ken Scott sat dead center in what was regarded as the epicenter of the world – Studio Two at EMI Studios in London - when he replaced Geoff Emerick as The Beatles’ engineer for the sprawling double album that would become known as the ‘White Album.’
A year earlier, the former tape logger and second engineer had his first big break when he manned the console on some sessions for Magical Mystery Tour, an experience Scott calls “daunting. I had never sat behind a board or pushed up a fader before the first session I did with The Beatles. I was terrified. I had no idea what the hell what I was doing.”
Having joined the staff at EMI at 16 (“I wrote them a letter and a week later I started work”), Scott learned to think on his feet and was a quick study. “It was a fantastic studio to learn your craft,” he says. “In one place, you had three of the greatest classical engineers and three or four of the greatest pop engineers. I soaked it all up.”
Soon after the White Album, Scott added production to his skill set, and over the years he’s produced, engineered and mixed (sometimes all three) records by a staggering number of artists, including George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, David Bowie, Jeff Beck, Elton John, Stanley Clarke, Dixie Dregs, Elton John, Devo, Supertramp, and others.
Scott recounts his life behind the studio glass in a captivating new book (written with Bobby Owsinski) called Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust: Off The Record With The Beatles, Bowie, Elton & So Much More, due out 6 June via Alfred Music Publishing. (It's available for pre-order here.)
Numerous first and second-hand accounts of The Beatles have been written over the years, many of them dwelling on the final days of the band and the contentious atmosphere that attended the recording of the White Album. In his book, however, Scott takes issue with some of these stories, insisting that the White Album sessions were “a lot of fun. We had a blast.”
On the following pages, Scott offers further details on the White Album, along with nine other memorable albums from what has certainly been a brilliant career. "I'm extremely fortunate," he says. "I knew what I wanted to do since I was 12, and I've had a great time doing it."