The Beatles‘ technology “wizard” Yanni ‘John’ Alexis Mardas – better known as Magic Alex – has died at the age of 74.
Athens-born Mardas was appointed head of the group’s Apple Electronics division in 1968, appeared in the Magical Mystery Tour film, and accompanied the band to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram at Rishikesh in India.
Originally taken on after John Lennon‘s appreciation of the light machines he’d constructed for The Rolling Stones in 1967, Mardas was later asked to construct a 72-track studio for The Beatles in the basement of the Apple HQ on Savile Row. It was designed but never completed after the group’s new manager Allen Klein shut down much of the Apple Corps venture.
Mardas claimed to have invented items such as an electronic camera, and ‘the composing typewriter’, a voice recognition device.
After Apple Corps, he founded a number of companies that specialised in bulletproof vests, armoured cars and night vision equipment, selling some of these to figures such as King Hussein of Jordan.
Mardas died at home in Athens’ Kolonaki district.
The February 2017 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on Leonard Cohen. Elsewhere in the issue, we look at the 50 Great Modern Protest Songs and our free CD collects 15 of the very best, featuring Ry Cooder, Jarvis Cocker, Roy Harper, Father John Misty, Hurray For The Riff Raff and Richard Thompson. The issue also features our essential preview of the key albums for 2017, including Roger Waters, Fleet Foxes, Paul Weller, The Jesus And Mary Chain, the Waterboys and more. Plus Leon Russell, Mike Oldfield, Ty Segall, Tift Merritt, David Bowie, Japandroids, The Doors, Flaming Lips, Wilco, The XX, Grateful Dead, Mark Eitzel and more plus 139 reviews