Producer and engineer Tal Herzberg, who died April 7 of liver cancer, was celebrated for his gifts as a musician, mentor and studio master at a memorial service Thursday attended by more than 400 people at the Los Angeles offices of Interscope Geffen A&M.
"His gift was his oneness with digital recording," said Geffen Records Chairman Ron Fair, who worked with Herzberg for 10 years. "Everyone who knew him marveled at his intuition when it came to combining digital recording and music making. It wasn't a techie thing with him -- it felt like analog recording."
Herzberg was widely known for his prowess with the Pro Tools digital recording platform. Among the acts he worked with were U2, Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears and Counting Crows.
He entered Fair's world when Fair was producing Christina Aguilera's Christmas album and needed a Pro Tools expert. "I found out that our musical training was in lockstep with each other," Fair said. "I was blessed to have had him in my life."
Herzberg, who was 41 when he died, moved to the Los Angeles from Tel Aviv, Israel, 18 years ago and studied at the Dick Grove School of Music in Studio City, Calif. A bassist, he worked with producers David Foster, Rob Cavallo, Antonina Armato and Tim James, among others.
Among the top 10 hits he had as an engineer was the 2001 version of "Lady Marmalade," by Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink. The track was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks and won a Grammy for best pop collaboration with vocals.
Herzberg received Grammy nominations for the Black Eyed Peas/Justin Timberlake collaboration "Let's Get It Started," Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles" and Mary J. Blige's "Be Without You." He also played a key role in the career of Australian guitarist Orianthi, who was in Michael Jackson's band at the time of his death.
Herzberg is survived by his wife, Ofrah, and young daughters Shai and Danielle. He was buried April 13 in Israel.