Perfect Producer and Artist Match...and Worst Producer Artist Match

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by wayneklein, Dec 9, 2009.

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  1. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    Got a bit of time to kill and it occurred to me that some artists have managed from the get go to be aligned with the perfect producer that helped them realize their sound while others...left a lot to be desired.

    Don't just put together a list--tell us why you think the two did or didn't gel.

    A couple of perfect matches--

    George Martin-The Beatles
    Todd Rundgren and Chris Thomas-Badfinger
    Quincy Jones-Michael Jackson
    Roy Thomas Baker-Queen, The Cars (why didn't they use him again after "Shake It Up"?), Journey
    Mick Ronson-Ian Hunter
    Chris Thomas-Roxy Music
    Hugh Padgham-The Police
    Steve Lilywhite, Todd Rundgren (although he found endlessly with Andy Partridge)-XTC

    Worst matches:
    Neil Dorfsman-Dire Straits (their music became too sterile for my taste when they worked with him)
    Robert Fripp-some King Crimson albums (he could have benefited from an occasional outside producer on some of their early albums after the rest of the band spilt)
    Mick Jones-Ian Hunter
  2. mbleicher1

    mbleicher1 Well-Known Member

    San Mateo, CA, USA
    Jimmy Miller/The Rolling Stones. He showed up when their songwriting was at its zenith, but he also evidently knew how to get those fat, earthy sounds that make the golden-era albums sound so good.

    Bad producer artist match: Jeff Lynne/Tom Petty. I can't stand the sound of Into the Great Wide Open, and like Full Moon Fever's sound only a little better. Too processed, too sterile, too eighties.
  3. tim_neely

    tim_neely Forum Hall Of Fame

    Central VA
    Great matches:

    Roy Halee - Simon & Garfunkel [Bookends and Bridge Over Troubled Water; 'nuff said]
    Fred Foster - Roy Orbison [the Monument recordings; again, 'nuff said]
    Peter Asher - James Taylor; Linda Ronstadt
    Mutt Lange - Shania Twain [the personal relationship may have ended, but they were a great producer/artist team]

    Not-so-good matches:

    Phil Spector - The Ramones [Wall of Sound vs. one of the ultimate three chords and a cloud of dust bands]
    Holland-Dozier-Holland - The Isley Brothers [one hit and a bunch of relative stiffs; both were more successful with others]
  4. surfingelectrode

    surfingelectrode Active Member

    Lutz, FL
    Absolute worse:

    The Damned's "Music For Pleasure", produced by Nick Mason (yes, the drummer for Pink Floyd).

    It's an awful sounding album.
  5. Jay F

    Jay F New Member

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Linda Ronstadt and Peter Asher
    Warren Zevon and Jackson Browne
  6. jwoverho

    jwoverho Forum Resident

    Mobile, AL USA
    Best matches:
    Bob Dylan & Bob Johnston
    Nick Drake & Joe Boyd
  7. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    A bit of trivia--Producer Guy Stevens (Mott The Hoople, The Clash) worked at their record label and was charged with finding obscure blues b-sides for them to cover on their early albums/singles. The Stones knew of course about a lot of them but Stevens evidently had an amazing knowledge of the releases.

    I'd add

    Guy Stevens-Mott The Hoople, The Clash-His made working method (getting the musicains drunk, recording everything live warts and all) worked for most of them.
  8. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    Really? I would think that Mason would know a thing or two about producing but obviously it didn't worked with The Damned. This is one of their albums I don't have although admittedly I only have three albums by them(and if I recall it was because I had heard bad things about it but I thought that it had more to do with the songs than the production) .
  9. surfingelectrode

    surfingelectrode Active Member

    Lutz, FL
    Yeah, the songs aren't great but the production is the nail in the coffin... it just sounds weak. Everything is very, very thin.
  10. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    Mason produced a few albums in the 70's for various people - according to Nicholas Schaffner's book he contributed nothing artistically but was very helpful in keeping things running smoothly.

    In the case of the Damned the rumor was that they wanted Syd Barrett, and the closest they could get was Mason.
  11. Murph

    Murph Formerly 7/4 war furor

    Jimmy Page/Led Zep
  12. mbleicher1

    mbleicher1 Well-Known Member

    San Mateo, CA, USA
    Oh, whoops:

    Brian Wilson - The Beach Boys.

    But everyone knew that, right?
  13. Michelle66

    Michelle66 Forum Resident


    Phil Spector & solo Beatles (heck, let's add "Let It Be" to this too).

    While "All Things Must Pass" has some fantastic songs on it, I sometimes think its production is seriously dated. (In an interview done for the remaster, George Harrison even admitted that he wished he could go back and strip some of the production away from the tapes.)

    John Lennon's "Rock and Roll" LP is another one that suffers from Spectorization. The songs that were produced by John weren't so bad, but Phil's were a mess.

    Spector did produce some decent music with John (like the "Instant Karma!" single), but many of the other songs from that period now just sound cheesy.
  14. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al Forum Resident

    Long Island, NY
    Here's one with room for thought:

    Phil Spector with George Harrison
    (ATMP was a number one album, sold millions, and is still remembered as one of the best solo Beatles albums, yet everyone kvitches about the production. WTF?)

    Phil Spector with John Lennon
    Why hire the "wall of sound" guy when you want a minimalist stark (3) piece band album? Although POB was great - was it because of Lennon's strong opinions more than Phils production? They did a few more albums together, but it seems to me that the writing was on the wall for Phils pink slip during the Rock n' Roll sessions.
  15. TeddyB

    TeddyB Forum Resident

    A lesson passed on successfully to Mick Jones>The Libertines. Very much unlike his precocious (he was only 25 at the time), and perhaps somewhat overwrought (the situation was actually more complicated than that) effort producing Ian Hunter, Mick used the Guy Stevens method to great effect with The Libertines, playing piano live with the band while recording. He even used Guy's favorite engineer, Bill Price. Of course, he didn't have to get the band drunk.

    Has anyone else noticed that Guy Stevens is credited with producing the BB King and Ike & Tina Turner sides of the Get Yer Ya-Ya's 40th Anniversary release? By the way, Guy didn't work for Decca, he worked for Island and ran an R&B subsidiary called Sue. He did however provide the Stones with cover and listening material, as he did for most of the hip bands of the day.
  16. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Uh Huh

    Northeast Ohio
    Perfect: Dionne Warwick with Bacharach and David
    Perfect: Supremes with Holland-Dozier-Holland
    Perfect: Temptations with Norman Whitfield

    I can't think of any bad ones at the moment.
  17. Galley

    Galley Forum Resident

    Perfect: Jim Steinman with Meat Loaf
  18. INSW

    INSW Forum Resident

    Open for endless debate, of course but Daniel Lanois/Bob Dylan works for me.

    Bill Szymczyk and The Who for the dead sounding Face Dances and Jon Landau and the MC5 get my votes for worst pairings.
  19. Edwin Hawley

    Edwin Hawley Forum Resident

    Okobojo, SD
    Awful: Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem with Teo Macero.
  20. kwadguy

    kwadguy Forum Resident

    Cambridge, MA
    Best: Phil Spector and Leonard Cohen.

    Cohen's art and poetry level lyrics were never better showcased. Probably why this is the sole album most critics single out as "the one" for Cohen.
  21. JDeanB

    JDeanB Forum Resident

    Charlotte, NC USA
    Great examples!

    I will say that while Hal Davis did some excellent work with the solo Diana Ross, his production on Mary Wilson's solo debut did her no favors.
  22. bogrod

    bogrod Active Member

    Metro Detroit, MI
    POB does not sound like it was produced by Spector at all. I think Lennon should have just done the job himself, but I bet that Spector was probably so enamored at the idea of working with him, that he was willing to basically strip his entire production style down to nothing.
  23. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    Good catch! I had forgotten that he was actually employed by Sue (thankfully it was a record label named Sue..maybe that explains everything). It's been awhile since I've read Campbell Devine's book on Mott and clearly I got that tidbit a bit mixed up but, hey, I'm an original mixed up kid.
  24. wayneklein

    wayneklein Forum Fool Thread Starter

    The one distinctive mark that Spector brought to the production of POB, Imagine and STINYC (as well as the singles) was all the echo on Lennon's voice. It was a nice contrast to the stark production.
  25. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    Perfect artist/producer matches:
    Brown Bannister with Amy Grant and nearly everybody else he has produced for (nearly a who's who in Contemporary Christian Music throughout history, past and present) and was a huge part in Amy's crossover appeal as well as he produced or executive produced nearly her entire catalog.
    Sam Phillips with everybody who has recorded for Sun
    Peter Asher - James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and many others
    Paul Rothchild - The Doors, Janis Joplin, etc.
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