When bobbing your head to a Hip Hop track, or dancing in the club to a rock tune, one usually gives the musician all the credit for the song. Very few people take into consideration that a lot of work was invested in the studio before the song came out. In the lab, the popular name for studio, it’s the producers who call the shots. They’re the ones who make sure that every little detail of the song sounds perfect. They make changes and advice the artists accordingly for a high quality end product.
These are the professionals who can largely be acknowledged for the success of a song. Producers are bestowed the responsibility of shaping the raw and uncut diamond. They hone the artist’s skills so that expectations of critics, fans and the record label can all be met. Here is the top 10 list of music producers that are most probably responsible for the jam you may be bumping right now:
10. The Neptunes
This is a group composed of two gentlemen, known as Chad Hugo and Pharell Williams, who played an important role in shaping the urban contemporary scene. They have recorded many of the top artists in the US including Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes. After making hits consistently, larger record labels started using The Neptunes to make their tracks. Apart from producing, Pharell Williams is also a musician and songwriter.
9. Butch Vig
Before venturing into production full time, Butch was a singer-cum-drummer. He even contributed to a soundtrack to the movie Slumber Party Massacre. With his recording studio, he was able to work with the biggest artists in the Indie region. These include: The Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Garbage and The Foo Fighters. His name is synonymous to many hit grunge records.
8. Daniel Lanois
In the 80s, Daniel was a highly regarded figure in Rock music. He was behind the most successful records of that era ranging from The Unforgettable Fire by U2 and So by Peter Gabriel. His touch is generally smoky and silky making him one of the most sought after producers by urban rock bands. Critics agree that Daniel has the capability of making electronic instruments sound natural, an attribute that lead to exploration of creative ideas.
7. Todd Rundgren
Todd can be labeled as Daniel’s predecessor because in the 70s, he was capable of achieving what Dan did in the 80s. Initially a member of the Nazz Rock Band, he learned engineering and then decided to venture into production. He has produced artists like Oates, Hall, Cheap Trick and many more others. One of his most outstanding works to date, in which he produced and played the lead guitar, is the track Bat Out of Hell by The Meatloafs. Innovation adopted from the ever evolving technology is his biggest secret to success.
6. T-Bone Burnett
The legendary T-Bone has been in the industry for more than 3 decades now. The producer, who is also a songwriter and musician, supervises soundtrack recordings as well. He is adequately experienced in the traditional American sound. His record label is where the top stars usually turn to when in need of this style. He has worked with musicians like The Counting Crows, Allison Krauss, The Wallflowers and Elvis Costello, just to mention a few.
5. Dr. Dre
Starting as a local DJ in LA, Dr. Dre re-invented the Hip Hop sound which consequently made him an established producer. Initially, he used to produce for his group, NWA, a move that propelled them to the limelight. Dre has worked with top Hip Hop artists such as 2Pac, 50 Cent, Ice Cube, Kurupt, Xzibit and Snoop Dogg. Curtis Mayfield was one of his biggest role models. This encouraged Dre to avoid samples and thus making tracks using live instruments. His sound has a very big influence on Hip Hop music.
4. Sam Philips
After graduating with a Broadcasting Degree, Sam proceeded to opening Sun Records. Although the record label was little at first, it grew into a talent harbor within no time. Sam was able to discover new talent through working with legends like Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, B.B. King and Johnny Cash. His style was more focused on capturing the artists’ feeling than on audio quality. His keen ear allowed him to tap into raw talent consistently.
3. Barry Gordy
Gordy, like Sam, knew how to spot talent, refine it, brand it and sell it. The owner of Motown Records is one of the few producers who can boast of a wide collection of talent under his umbrella. He has worked with musicians like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and The Jackson Five. Many more others are on the list. Gordy was successful at marketing African American music to appeal to all audiences worldwide.
2. Phil Spector
In the 60s, Phil emerged as one of the most outstanding songwriter, musician and instrumentalist. He coined the term ‘The Wall of Sound’ to refer to his style of music that basically involved a track with dense multiple layers. After making his mark, he then went ahead to work with other big acts like John Lennon from The Beatles. Despite working with numerous other artists, Phil and Lennon had chemistry which led to the production of timeless classics like Imagine and Happy Christmas. His songs generally define classic rock.
1. George Martin
A revolutionary producer set to banish all common perspective towards rock music succeeded by ending up as the top producer in US. George signed The Beatles, in the 60s, in a bid to shape their talent. He was able to turn those great songs written by The Beatles into amazing classics that redefined rock music. He appreciated fresh ideas from artists which lead to experimentations during recording sessions.
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