Recording engineer Derek Varnals was one of the more visible men in his field for much of the 1960s and early '70s.
As a staff engineer at England's Decca Records, he worked on every kind of music from the electric blues of John Mayall (Bare Wires, etc.) to the 1969 studio cast recording of Cole Porter's Anything Goes, but he will probably always be best known for his work recording and mixing all but one of the "classic seven" albums by the Moody Blues. Varnals was the engineer assigned with producer Tony Clarke to work with the group in developing what was proposed as a rock version of Dvorák's New World Symphony in early 1967 -- and he was, with them, part of the "conspiracy" that instead yielded Days of Future Passed, a redefining psychedelic album for the band and one of the best-selling recordings in the history of the label. From there on, with the exception of A Question of Balance, he was in charge of the recording equipment and the studio for their subsequent classic 1960s and early '70s music, and played a key role in the shaping of their sound, giving it a unique lushness and grandeur. Varnals also worked with East of Eden, the Keef Hartley Band, and Canterbury-spawned prog rockers Caravan, and on the various Moodies' solo recordings generated during the band's mid-'70s hiatus. He also later participated in the remixing and reissue of sides by Thin Lizzy and the Zombies. Since the late '90s, he has served as a technical advisor to the British Phonographic Society, the U.K. equivalent of the Recording Industry Association of America. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi