Ken Scott rose to prominence in the 1960s as a sound engineer and record producer in Abbey Road Studios in London. He grew up with a keen interest in the burgeoning rock ‘n’ roll scene in 1950s America championed by the likes of Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. Scott became interested in the recording and engineering side of music aged just 12 after receiving a tape recorder which he used to record material from the BBC Light Programme Pick of the Pops.
Scott’s career aspirations were made concrete when he watched an episode of Here Come the Girls, a television programme hosted by Alan Freeman about British female pop artists in recording studios. During the episode, he saw Carol Deene singing in Studio Two at Abbey Road Studios, where Malcolm Addey was behind the recording console.
In 1964, he sent several letters around various studios in London with hopes to be taken on as a recording engineer. To his great fortune, Abbey Road Studios responded and offered him an interview which he passed to become part of the engineering crew aged just 16.
He was trained by expert engineers, including Malcolm Addey and Norman Smith and, within six months, he was promoted to the position of second engineer. His first session in his new role was working with The Beatles on side two of their third album, A Hard Day’s Night. This truly was the first day of the rest of his life. Scott subsequently worked alongside The Beatles on and off for the remainder of the ‘60s as well as engineering for Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck and Procol Harum among others.
Over the late 1960s and ‘70s, Scott cut his teeth as a producer and worked with the likes of Elton John and David Bowie on their formative albums. Other collaborations involved work with Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones, Harry Nilsson, Supertramp and America.
In 2010, while Scott was interviewed by Elianne Halbersberg of Premier Guitar, the legendary producer and engineer reflected on his work with The Beatles during the interview. After detailing some of the innovative recording methods they had used to record some of the band’s most iconic albums, Scott was asked what his favourite Beatles tracks were.
He made it clear that it was too difficult to name a singular stand out track. Instead, he picked out some favourites by each member. “I have several favourites. ‘We Can Work It Out’ is my favourite from Paul. From George, ‘Something’. From John, ‘A Day In The Life’ and ‘Strawberry Fields’. From Ringo – not a Beatles song – ‘It Don’t Come Easy’.”
Ken Scott’s favourite Beatles songs:
- ‘A Day in the Life’
- ‘We Can Work It Out’
- ‘Strawberry Fields’