New McLuhan Centenary Visiting Fellow at the University of Toronto: Sandy Pearlman


Music industry icon teaches class at Dominican

Sandy Pearlman

Pearlman is a musical genius, but one who works in the background, creating and teaching the craft as producer, songwriter, creator, manager, poet, theorist, and former record company executive for many famous bands — such as Blue Oyster Cult, The Clash, and Black Sabbath.

He is also founding Vice President of — one of the first sites to sell music in the MP3 format, beginning in 1998. In the late 1990s, this was a subscription store for download-to-own online music and audiobooks.

The musical icon is well known internationally as being responsible for inventing many musical trends over the last 30 years, including new genres known as Heavy Metal, Occult Rock, Goth, Punk, and New Wave music.

Pearlman founded, has written for, and produced or co-produced, many LPs that have become groundbreaking albums. In all formats, his recordings have sold an incredible 40 million copies.
Described by the Billboard Producer’s Directory as “the Hunter Thompson of rock, a gonzo producer of searing intellect and vast vision,” Sandy is a musical visionary.

Famous around the world for his innovative ideas and ensuing success, he was portrayed by acclaimed actor Christopher Walken in Saturday Night Live’s parody skit on the making of “The Reaper” (which Pearlman produced for Blue Oyster Cult).

Currently the Dean’s Professor for Interdisciplinary Innovation at the University Toronto, Pearlman was recently the Schulich Distinguished Professor Chair at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in the History of Ideas at Brandeis, and a New School Fellow in Sociology and Anthropology.

Over the last few years, at McGill and UofT, Pearlman has taught and created, often in collaboration with Dean Don McLean of McGill, and currently, at the University of Toronto, many “provocative” courses distributed amongst the Music, English, Religious Studies, Law and Management Faculties.

Pearlman says he would describe himself as a “relentless brainstormer on the Future of Media in general, and, the ever tightening embrace of Music by Technology and Technology by Music in particular.”

While at the McLuhan Coach House Institute, he plans to give a seminar on Monday, December 1, 5:00-7:00 pm at the Coach House. He is also scheduled to be giving a public lecture on Wednesday, December 3 at 140 St. George Street, Room 538, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. (Source: )

Sandy Pearlman’s credits read like a who’s who of rock radio.  A former Woodrow Wilson Fellow in the History of Ideas, the Billboard Producer Directory called Sandy the “Hunter Thompson of rock, a gonzo producer of searing intellect and vast vision.”  As producer and writer for the Blue Oyster Cult, Sandy helped establish the genre of Heavy Metal.  (He was one of the founders of Rock Criticism, and literally was the first to use the phrase “Heavy Metal” as it applied to music during his sojourn at Crawdaddy magazine.)  BOC recorded and Sandy produced such classics as “Don’t Fear the Reaper, “ “Burning For You,” “Astronomy” (covered by Metallica) and “The Red and The Black” (covered by the legendary Minutemen).  (Sandy was even portrayed by Christopher Walken in a Saturday Night Live parody skit of the making of “Reaper.”)  He produced the classic second record by The Clash, Give ‘em Enough Rope, along with what was arguably the first “punk” record, The Dictators’ Go Girl Crazy.  Sandy worked with the legendary Pavlov’s Dog, who anticipated the goth movement by more than ten years as well as the leaders of LA’s Paisley Underground, The Dream Syndicate.  He has collaborated with the likes of Patti Smith (who co-wrote various BOC songs), Phil Manzanera and Andrew Mackay of Roxy Music, Bill Bruford, etc.  In recognition of his work, Sandy has received 17 Gold and Platinum records.      ( )

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