Jimmy Iovine, who holds an undisclosed position at Apple following the Beats deal, was the sound engineer for the Golden Record that NASA sent into space with the Voyager probes.
According to Jason Kottke, via Daring Fireball, science writer Timothy Ferris revealed this previously unknown tidbit about Iovine in his August write-up for New Yorker celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Voyager launches.
Iovine was recommended to Ferris, who produced the record, by John Lennon.
I sought to recruit John Lennon for the project, but tax considerations obliged him to leave the country. Lennon did help us, though: he recommended that we use his engineer, Jimmy Iovine, who brought energy and expertise to the studio.
Carl Sagan was project director for the Golden Record.
This was early in Jimmy’s career—as you know, he later went on to became famous as a rock and hip-hop producer, as well as a record company executive and an entrepreneur.
A twelve-inch golden phonograph record that contains pictures and sounds of Earth, the Golden Record has visual instructions on the cover for playing audio and symbolic directions detailing the location of our planet within the Solar System.
It’s an interstellar message of sorts to an alien civilization that the Voayger spacecraft may eventually stumble upon. Launched in 1977, the Voyager probes are now exploring the outer boundary of the heliosphere in interstellar space.
During his career as a revered sound engineer and a music industry executive, Iovine produced well known names and labels like John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks, Interscope, Dr. Dre, Snoop, Death Row Records, Eminem, Lady Gaga and more.