The contribution to The Beatles George Harrison called the “biggest disaster of all time”

As they were the biggest band on the planet, it was only natural that The Beatles should have an array of hangers-on. Whilst there are several notable mentions, none are as mystifying as Alex Mardas, the Greek electronics engineer also known as ‘Magic Alex’.

Famously, Mardas’ nickname was awarded to him by his close friend and the band’s frontman, John Lennon. As is well-documented, Mardas was so close to Lennon between 1965 and 1969 that he eventually secured the role as head of Apple Electronics, a division of The Beatles’ multimedia company, Apple Corps. Demonstrating the ineptitude of Mardas, despite his colourful imagination, Apple Electronics set out to revolutionise the electronic market, but due to his impractical designs, the division failed in its objective.

Whilst Mardas’ presence was deemed relatively innocuous in the early days, by the late 1960s, Beatles members Paul McCartney and George Harrison, as well as producer George Martin, started to object to it, despite his close friendship with John Lennon. According to Barry Miles’ book, Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, one of the Greek’s schemes was such a flop that George Harrison called it “the biggest disaster of all time.”

Allegedly, Mardas promised the group unique electronic decorations and state-of-the-art recording equipment. Accordingly, they hired him to build a new studio, but it was a total failure, as with most things he designed. The studio Mardas gave to the band was so poor that it had no mixing desk or soundproofing, noisy floorboards and neighbours, and, as the most significant headscratcher, no connecting ports between the studio and the control room.

“Alex’s recording studio at Apple was the biggest disaster of all time,” Harrison said of Mardas’ botched recording complex. “He was walking around with a white coat on like some sort of chemist but didn’t have a clue what he was doing. It was a sixteen-track system, and he had sixteen little tiny speakers all around the walls. You only need two speakers for stereo sound. It was awful. The whole thing was a disaster and had to be ripped out.”

“I confess I tended to laugh myself silly when they came and announced the latest brainchild of Alex’s fertile imagination,” George Martin later recalled. “Their reaction was always the same, ‘You’ll laugh on the other side of your face when Alex comes up with it.’ But, of course, he never did … The trouble was that Alex was always coming to the studios to see what we were doing and to learn from it, while at the same time saying, ‘These people are so out of date.’”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mick Jagger John & Yoko’s Elvis Presley & Priscilla Presley