Producers Who Shaped the Sound
Recommended by Denis, a photographer for the library's Internet Branch.
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Phil Spector(A Christmas Gift for You)
Regardless of your opinion of Phil Spector's personal life ("a mess" is far too kind), in the 1960s he employed his "Wall of Sound" in producing what have since been called "little symphonies for the kids," i.e., a succession of Top 40 hits by artists such as the Ronettes, Crystals, Righteous Brothers and Darlene Love. A Christmas Gift for You is a wonderful sampler of holiday music in Spector's grand style. Also noteworthy is The Best of the Ronettes.
Daniel Lanois(Wrecking Ball by Emmylou Harris)
Once Lanois emerged from the shadows of Brian Eno, there's been no shortage of artists lining up to have albums produced by this studio master... U2, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Neville Brothers, Robbie Robertson, Peter Gabriel.... His work on Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball brought a new, moody and very emotional dimension to her repertoire. Lanois records occasional albums himself (Shine, for example), and when this largely unknown genius played the Ark in Ann Arbor in 2004, he sold out the house.
Robert John "Mutt" Lange(Come On Over by Shania Twain)
Lange was noted for producing heavy metal acts, plus albums by others such as the Cars, Boomtown Rats and Graham Parker. But then came Shania Twain. He surrounds the performances of this talented singer (his wife) in a sound that is pure pop bliss. Call it Country, call it Top 40, call it whatever... it's a marvelous match "made in the studio."
Bjorn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson(The Definitive Collection by Abba)
Bjorn and Benny form half of the group, Abba, but they're highly successful songwriters and producers in their own right. They, perhaps more than any other producers or production team, can lay claim to being heirs to Phil Spector's magic touch (but without Spector's madness). The song, "Waterloo," is particularly Spector-ish, but hits like "Dancing Queen" just kept coming after that, establishing a track record that was distinctly their own.
Creed Taylor(Red Clay by Freddie Hubbard)
When he established his own record label, CTI, in the 1970s, Taylor did for jazz what Phil Spector accomplished in rockcreate a "sound" from a stable of accomplished musicians that included Grover Washington Jr., Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, George Benson and Stanley Turrentine. Taylor had already worked with artists such as John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery and Stan Getz, but recordings on CTI (and Kudu, a subsidiary label) bore his imprint more than any other collections of his work. Unfortunately, these records are difficult to find in stores today.