Alexis Mardas, the Beatles’ ‘Magic Alex,’ Dies
Yanni Alexis Mardas, an early employee of the Beatles' Apple Corps who was known as "Magic Alex," has died. He was 74.
Billboard broke the news in the U.S., but according to Greece's NewsIT, he passed away several days ago in his apartment in the Kolonaki neighborhood of Athens, Greece. It's believed that he died of natural causes.
Born March 5, 1942 in Athens, he, as Beatles Bible notes, moved to London in the early '60s, where he became friends with John Dunbar of the Indica Gallery, the same venue where John Lennon met Yoko Ono. Through the Indica, he met Lennon and Brian Jones, who hired him to create a psychedelic light show for a Rolling Stones tour in support of Their Satanic Majesties Request.
Lennon was particularly wowed by Mardas' visions of futuristic electronic devices and, when the Beatles set up Apple, Mardas, now dubbed "Magic Alex" by Lennon, was hired to run the electronics division. But as with nearly everything Apple-related, precious little actually got done.
As they began work on the Get Back project that became Let It Be, Magic Alex insisted that Abbey Road Studios' eight-track machines were no good, and that he would build a 72-track studio, with sonic beams instead of baffles to prevent sounds from bleeding into the other mics, in the basement of Apple's Savile Row headquarters. It proved to be a disaster, and the mixing desk was sold as scrap for £5. Mardas was fired when Allan Klein was brought in to make sense of the Beatles' finances.