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In memoriam, Gordon Vicary

David Davies 1 April 2010
In memoriam, Gordon Vicary

The much-respected mastering engineer applied the finishing touches to albums by artists as disparate as Cliff Richard and Motörhead, reports PSNE. Gordon Vicary – who has sadly died aged 58 from lung cancer – began his career as a vinyl-cutting engineer at Pye Records in 1970. He subsequently moved to Utopia Studios in 1978, before joining the UK’s then-premier mastering facility, The Town House, in 1981. During a lengthy tenure at the much-missed London studio, Gordon cut records for acts including Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Elton John, George Michael, Motörhead and – in perhaps his most high-profile projects of the era – U2 (1987’s The Joshua Tree) and The Stones Roses (1989’s eponymously-titled debut). After departing The Town House, he co-created London mastering studio The Soundmasters, where he continued his long association with producer/engineer Gus Dudgeon and also undertook projects on behalf of Chris Thomas, Tony Visconti and Stephen Street. Away from the studio, Gordon was a keen golfer and the co-founder of the Sound Masters Official Golf Society (SMOGS). A non-smoker, he endured a ten-month battle against lung cancer; he leaves behind his wife, Paula, and two children. Gordon was universally remembered as a calm, gentle presence in the studio by all those who spoke to PSNE. Skye Mastering’s Denis Blackham worked with Gordon on a 1973 Pye release, Hollywood Sunset, by cult folk band Parchment, and remained in touch with his fellow mastering engineer during the ensuing decades. “He was a lovely, lovely guy,” says Blackham. “Kind and gentle, and he did a great job – he was a great mastering engineer.” “He was an extremely placid character who was able to cope with an awful lot of stress going on around him in the cutting room in a seemingly unflappable manner,” says Barry Woodward (Dining Room Music), who worked at Town House Post Production from 1985-2004. “He got on with everybody; he was a gentleman. We spent many a happy day at work and on the golf course together. Those were good times.” “Gordon was loved by all his colleagues and clients for his mild manner and attention to detail. He was a very modest man and always the last person to discuss his musical achievements,” echoes Streaky, now running his own eponymously-named mastering facility. Ian Cooper (Metropolis Mastering) worked with Gordon at Pye, Utopia and the Town House, and recalls of the early Pye days that “if I didn’t know what I was doing, I used to go off to him and always knew that he would give me the right advice. Gordon was very pleasant, very easygoing and there was no side to him at all.” Gordon’s funeral will be held at 10.30 on Wednesday April 7. Those who knew him are welcome to attend the ceremony, which will take place at Easthampstead Park Crematorium, South Road, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, Berkshire RG40 3DW. Condolences can be left on a specially-created page at the Cancer Research UK site (link below) where donations can be made on behalf of Gordon (no flowers please) or by post to: JB Hall Funeral Directors, 142 Finchampstead Road, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG41 2NU. Donations by cheque to Cancer Research can also be sent to this address up to five weeks after the funeral. Webhttps://donateinmemory.cancerresearchuk.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?tid=2&iid=5315

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