Allan Rouse, whose work with numerous Beatles projects over the years included the 2009 Beatles remasters, “Live at the BBC” and the “LOVE” show in Las Vegas, has died. The Beatles, Giles Martin and Abbey Road Studios all issued statements Feb. 22 about his passing. It was Rouse, along with Sir George and Giles Martin, Kevin Howlett and Mike Heatley, who assembled the performances that became the two-CD set “Live at the BBC,” which was released in 1994. He also worked on the documentary “The Making of Sgt. Pepper,” which was one of the earliest projects to includes Beatles outtakes. Rouse and a team of engineers started work in 2004 on what became a five-year project to remaster the Beatles’ catalog. The remastered CDs were released on Sept. 9, 2009.
Rouse also worked with Sir George Martin on “The Beatles Anthology,” and was involved in the remastering of the film “Yellow Submarine.” He also worked on “Let It Be … Naked,” the remastered “Help!” DVD, “The First U.S. Visit” DVD, “The Concert for Bangladesh” reissue and the “Lennon Legend” DVD. He retired in 2012.
In an interview with Beatles Examiner in 2009, Rouse talked about the remastering of the Beatles catalog. “Each track was dealt with individually. Whilst bass may be one of the differences, so too are other frequencies, which were used to enhance and in some cases reduce. A small proportion of the tracks were not EQ’d at all as the improved transfers to digital had provided a sound that the engineers felt could not be improved upon. Many more had very little EQ applied and some a bit more, but at all times with the utmost consideration for each song.” He also posted a lengthy explanation about the remastering on the Steve Hoffman Forum. The remastering project was awarded a Grammy for Best Historical Album in 2011.
In a joint statement issued by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Olivia Harrison, Yoko Ono and Apple Corps, they said of Rouse, “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Allan Rouse, who passed away yesterday and in particular Fiona his wife who cared for him with such tenderness and consideration following his illness. Allan joined Abbey Road studios in 1972 and during his time there made an invaluable contribution towards preserving the music and legacy of The Beatles. He worked on all the releases with extraordinary dedication and loyalty.
“We will also miss his acerbic wit that was actually part of his charm. Allan did not suffer fools gladly but once you earned his respect he could not have been more co-operative and helpful. Allan was a true friend of the band and of everyone at Apple, and will be remembered with great affection by those of us who were lucky enough to spend time working with him.”
Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer Sir George Martin, said, “It’s very sad to hear about the passing of Allan Rouse, known as the “gate-keeper” for The Beatles at Abbey Road. He looked after and cherished everything that was recorded by the band and my father all those years ago. Only Allan knew where everything was and only Allan was trusted with preserving the tapes and the legacy of the most successful band in the history of recorded music. My father spent hours with Allan working through the tapes for ‘The Beatles Anthology.’ From the outset my dad loved his deadpan humor. It was this, linked to his incomparable knowledge of the music, that made trawling through all of the tapes a pleasure for my father during the project.
“When embarking on the ‘LOVE’ show I worked with Allan very closely. It was he that developed the technique of using vari-speed to manually lock each four track generation. This enabled me to create the multi-channel mixes that we used to create the new surround mixes of The Beatles. Having Allan come to my room and react to the work I was doing was always a pleasure. His honesty in everything made me respect his opinions that were always based on his love and respect for the band. More than anything else we will miss Allan as a friend. Our best wishes are with his wonderfully compassionate wife Fiona who cared so well for him during his illness.”
Abbey Road Studios also issued a statement. “Incredibly sad to hear of the passing away of Allan Rouse, an engineer at the Studios for many years as well as friend to many of us still working here. We hold so many fond memories of Allan, he was a huge part of Abbey Road Studios – a man who truly cared, a lover of music, and a comedy genius who could make people laugh and smile at every word. He will be sorely missed.”