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 Posted:   Nov 24, 2015 - 11:54 PM   
 By:   Chris Malone   (Member)

It is with deep sadness I report that Eric Tomlinson has passed away at the age of 84.

I fondly remember several highly rewarding wintery days in west England during January 2007. Rolling green hillsides, angular ochre coastline, and exceptionally friendly people were to be found in the Devon countryside. Two such inconspicuous locals were recording engineer Eric Tomlinson and his radiant wife, Joy.

In an atmosphere of laughter, playful banter, and £2 bets we reminisced the days of CTS, Anvil, and Abbey Road. This was to be a remarkable epoch of film music recording in England. Ever so modest about his contribution to recorded sound – a gold record for Star Wars decorated the hallway but only at Joy's insistence – Eric was allocated the moniker of “Sir” by me and in return he labelled me “Magic.” My lowly contribution was sorting out his computer!

We would individually take turns warbling film tunes with the other two harmonising along, trying to guess the piece. Discussions about The Quiller Memorandum were met with our best Matt Monro impressions as we crooned the theme. Was it “Thursday's Child” or “Wednesday's Child?” Eric and Joy were supremely confident of the former whilst I was steadfast on the latter. Google resolved the dispute in my favour and £2 was placed on the table for the taking.

Eric Arthur Tomlinson was born on 8 January 1931, the son of a chauffer from Lancashire. A childhood adoration of aircraft led to the completion of an apprenticeship for the Fairey Aviation Company Limited. It was during his daily commute through Hayes that Tomlinson longed for the excitement of tinkering with ultra-modern broadcast and recording equipment at the neighbouring EMI Laboratories.

Abandoning his aircraft career and joining IBC Studios, Tomlinson cut acetate discs during the renaissance of traditional jazz in England for artists including John Dankworth, Cleo Laine, and Ted Heath’s band. It was a virtual proving ground for future recording luminaries including Keith Grant, Adrian Kerridge, and the eccentric Joe Meek.

Tomlinson commenced his film music career in the late 1950s, initially executing recordings for conductor Muir Mathieson until the then new Cine-Tele Sound (CTS) studios beckoned.

Eric’s was an enviable resume. Frank Sinatra’s only album recorded outside of the USA; the “James Bond Theme” together with early OO7 scores including Goldfinger and Thunderball; blockbusters such as Ryan’s Daughter and Star Wars were among frequent and prestigious projects; and he brought film scoring to Abbey Road where he captured Raiders of the Lost Ark, Night Crossing, and Brainstorm with astonishing depth, realism, and nuance.

Rich in tone, delivered via Maxell chromium oxide cassette tape, takes 104 and 105 of Farewell to the King provided fitting musical accompaniment as we toured Dartmouth in Eric's green Mercedes station-wagon. With 230,000 miles clocked on the odometer, the vehicle seemed to exude Eric and Joy’s unperturbed temperament. A view of seagulls soaking up sunshine with a sailing vessel meandering past was typical of our journey through this peaceful nook of England.

My catch ups and conversations with Eric and Joy will indelibly be recalled with great affection. We formed a close bond that has endured more than ten years and I felt the love and care of parents towards their son. They made me laugh and I was fortunate to be able to return the good medicine.

Self-effacing and humble about his contributions to recorded history, Eric was a charming, humorous, and engaging person. I am forever in Eric’s debt for his interest and subtle, yet critically important, life coaching that he provided me. It was an absolute privilege sharing pints of Kronenbourg 1664 with him.

Farewell to the King.

Chris Malone

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 12:05 AM   
 By:   Gunnar   (Member)

Rest in peace, Eric Tomlinson. Your recordings truly do sound wonderful. Thank you.

And thank you, Chris, for sharing your memories with us.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 12:37 AM   
 By:   BrendonKelly   (Member)

A wonderful tribute Chris. Thank you.

RIP Mr Tomlinson

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 12:42 AM   
 By:   finder4545   (Member)

A sad loss. Men like this gave us our loved music.

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 12:43 AM   
 By:   Amer Zahid   (Member)

Very sad indeed. Eric was an icon in the sound recording world. I had developed great appreciation of Eric's work after I became soundtrack sentient. Some of my favourite scores had been wonderfully captured by him. He really brought out the oomph of the composers work in his recordings. Really a great genius who wonderfully captured the sounds of that galaxy far away, Superman, Raiders etc. the list is endless. RIP.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 1:27 AM   
 By:   jenkwombat   (Member)

RIP, Mr. Tomlinson.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 1:43 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

Thanks for a taste of the man behind the name, Chris. RIP, Mr. Tomlinson, and may all the sessions in the afterlife be completed in one take.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 1:58 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Sorry to hear this. It's a name that I grew up with, in a way, as I frequently saw his name on the back of the soundtrack that I bought. He was one of the great 'soundtrack engineers'.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 2:10 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

Oh no! He was so good at his job. Really knew how to capture a robust, arid, sweeping sound, especially in the strings. So sorry to hear about his passing, but so glad for the legacy he left behind.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 2:49 AM   
 By:   tony_carty   (Member)

Indeed, very sad news.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 3:02 AM   
 By:   JamesFitz   (Member)

My first visit to a recording studio was to Anvil Denham to see Eric recording with Maurice Jarre. I was so fortunate in life to become friendly with both ...and in later years Eric recorded some of my Prague sessions with Jan Holzner assisting. A sad loss

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 3:05 AM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

Charles Gerhardt, George Korngold, Christopher Palmer, Eric Tomlinson. When I used to see any of those names listed on a new release, it would always and substantially raise my expectations about what I was about to hear.

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 3:16 AM   
 By:   Tester   (Member)

Was he still working?

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 3:24 AM   
 By:   Amer Zahid   (Member)

More details on his life and career by Chris Malone at his website:


http://www.malonedigital.com/tomlinson.pdf

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 3:43 AM   
 By:   John-73   (Member)

Rest in peace Mr Tomlinson, & thanks for your wonderful contributions to so many memorably scores.

Thanks for a beautifully written piece Chris.

If only all soundtracks sounded as rich & sparkling, and expansive as his did. A true master of the art.

Going to blast out some of his work right now smile

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 6:19 AM   
 By:   Broughtfan   (Member)

Had the pleasure of interviewing him once (by phone) about his memories of working with Barry Gray. He had some great stories not only about Gray but also about working with Irwin Kostal on "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (apparently Kostal could be quite the practical joker, even on the podium). Of course, with Eric being the music engineer on "Star Wars, I couldn't resist telling him how much his work on the film's score (and on "Superman," and "ROLA," "The Dark Crystal," "Young Sherlock Holmes"...) meant to me (really was the "soundtrack of my life") and that I must have played the two LP disks every day during the summer of 1977 AND how this album was, in essence, my generations "young person's guide to the orchestra" as almost everyone I knew (even people who didn't usually listen to/didn't appreciate instrumental music) had this album in his/her record library.

Quite the gentleman and talent, he was. I'm sorry we never met face-to-face.

R.I.P., Eric. Condolences to your family.

Bill

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 7:29 AM   
 By:   martyn.crosthwaite   (Member)

Thank you..................R.I P.....

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 8:43 AM   
 By:   dogplant   (Member)

Beautiful tribute, Chris. Thanks for sharing.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 9:18 AM   
 By:   Xebec   (Member)

This is very sad. Of course i appreciate his work, his name is all over my CD collection, and he was originally a Lancashire lad, so he's one of the best. RIP yon mon.

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2015 - 9:37 AM   
 By:   Matt B   (Member)

Rest in peace, sir.

 
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