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Royce: Look, maybe I did abandon my daughter and steal her songs, but I'm still the most honorable record producer y'all have ever worked with!

Natalie Maines: Well, he's got us there. But in human terms, he's deplorable!

Recording an album wasn't easy. You and your plucky underdog band had to either get signed to a record label or raise funds to pay for studio time. Then you had to choose a record producer, hope nobody ended up at somebody else's throats by the end of the sessions and prepare to be dicked around by the label.

Of course, improvements in recording technology now give you the option to say bollocks to all that and just record stuff at home in GarageBand or something. However, these improvements haven't overshadowed traditional studios yet.

A record producer wears many hats. These include: controlling the recording sessions, coaching and guiding the musicians, organizing and scheduling production budget and resources, and supervising the recording, mixing and mastering processes. The last responsibility shouldn't be confused with the studio engineer, who actually does the recording/mixing/mastering. As The Director is to movies, The Producer is to music. In other words, they are an important part of the recording process. Coincidentally, there are a few archetypes in this case.


 You're not going anywhere, Dee Dee.

Supposedly what Phil Spector told The Ramones before threatening them with a gun and forcing them to listen to him playing one of his songs on a piano until three in the morning.


The Producer From Hell comes in many forms: Cloudcuckoolander, one who does not suffer idiots kindly, or a man with a Berserk Button or flat-out Hair-Trigger Temper. He is distinguished by a domineering attitude that sometimes crosses over into bullying the band he's assigned. Band members will often be so marked by the whole thing that they will hate him and swear to never work with him again. Coincidentally, some bands produce critically acclaimed work thanks to a producer from hell.


  • Phil Spector, the inventor of the Wall of Sound and the man behind the board of some of the best known singles and albums of the 60's and 70's. Ignoring his personal life (showing his wife a coffin and threatening to kill her if she left) and that little murder conviction, he is famous being a genius of a producer, but this coupled (and often negated) by his temperamental personality and gunplay in the studio. He threatened Leonard Cohen with a loaded gun, stole tapes for the John Lennon album Rock 'n Roll at gunpoint, and put the Ramones through hell. He was last employed in 2003 by the alternative band Starsailor to produce their second album, but they fired him after two tracks. Also, he was convicted of second-degree murder.
  • Joe Meek. He was the inventor of many modern bits of studio equipment which are still used today in almost their original forms, and is widely considered an electronic music pioneer. He was also completely insane, and ended his life killing himself after shooting his landlady.
  • Martin Hannett, Factory Records' in-house producer. Various stories circulate about his bizarre Cloudcuckoolander behaviour towards Joy Division, his obsession with drum sounds in particular manifesting itself in freaky tormenting for drummer Stephen Morris. The following acts are attributed to Hannett: forcing Morris to dismantle his kit and re-assemble it with extra toilet parts, setting up his kit on a fire escape, making him continue playing for an hour after everybody else finished recording, staying on a hill for an hour to record "silence", and insisting that Morris play every drum separately to prevent leakage.
  • Kevin Shields, who exhibited obssessive studio perfectionism, erratic behaviour and use of 13 separate studios and engineers to record Loveless, who ended up mostly bringing him coffee - only Anjali Dutt and Alan Moulder made any actual contributions to the process.
  • Guy Stevens, the producer of The Clash's London Calling. Now, the band don't complain much since they got along with him very well and rightfully credit his production as a key ingredient of that album's success, but one can only imagine how pleasant it is to work with a producer who swings ladders and throws chairs around to keep everybody on edge and pours wine into piano cases for some reason. Well, hey, at least he ain't Phil Spector.
    • Subverted in that while he did things like this to keep an edge he also did things that were the polar opposite. He for example brought out the band each day to play football with each other which together with other activities he did to encourage a team spirit.
  • Fictional example: The Bruce Dickinson. Not that one.
    • Bruce Dickinson is a real person, but he didn't produce any Blue Oyster Cult albums (he's actually a mid-level executive at BOC's label who oversaw the remastering of the band's catalog in the mid-90's).


 Rundgren had sarcasm down to an extremely cruel art.

Andy Partridge


The Acrimony Producer isn't as insane or bullying as the producer from hell, but the band does not get along with him for some reason. Again, some bands produce critically acclaimed work under his supervision.


  • Todd Rundgren. Famous for being both a musician and a producer, he did not get along with XTC during the production of Skylarking and Andy Partridge claimed he was often sarcastic towards them. Skylarking is XTC's most critically acclaimed album, coincidentally. When he produced a Bad Religion album, he didn't exactly like them, either, which left the band's singer Greg Graffin disappointed as he was a fan of Rundgren's music. Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman have both stated that their attitude in 1977 was that Rundgren was responsible for "ruining" several songs on Bat Out of Hell by reducing their lengths. However, they have also said that these changes were ultimately for the best (Jim Steinman has even gone so far as to say that Rundgren is one of the few people he considers a genius).
  • Bob Rock. Metallica's favourite pastime during the recording of the Black Album was to find various ways of tormenting him - James at one point plastered the studio room with pictures of gay porn due to Rock's surprised reaction to such earlier. It's insinuated on the A Year And A Half In The Life of Metallica film that this is mostly due to Rock's having the balls to challenge James Hetfield and suggest he change certain riffs or write new lyrics (the case with "Enter Sandman"), something former producers Jon Zazula or Flemming Rassmussen had apparently never done.
  • According to former MC5 members, Jon Landau was overbearing and rude while recording Back in the USA, trying to impose a certain sound on the band.
  • Nick McCabe, The Verve's guitarist, has admitted in an interview that he found working with John Leckie on A Storm in Heaven difficult, disagreeing over what the sound of the album should be like. According to him, the final result is a compromise between the two.
  • Dream Theater fought constantly with David Prater during the Images and Words session. Mike Portnoy hated the electronic snare he was made to use, and the band were very upset when he cut their Epic Rocking masterpiece "A Change of Seasons" from the album for being "too long".
    • Prater did have a point. "A Change of Seasons" clocks in at twenty-three minutes.
    • Which is Completely Missing the Point - Dream Theater are all about the Epic Rocking.
      • But you also have to consider that records can only hold so many minutes of music in order to be replayable. Had "A Change of Seasons" been on the album, it would have been eighty minutes long; the LP would have low fidelity, so the listener would only be able to play it a certain amount of times before it became useless.
  • Soundgarden didn't outright fight with Michael Beinhorn while recording Superunknown, but Chris Cornell mentioned that he did contribute to the recording process being slower and more frustrating:

 Michael Beinhorn was so into sounds. He was so, almost, anal about it, that it took the piss out of us a lot of the time...By the time you get the sounds that you want to record the song, you're sick and tired of playing it.

    • The band specifically chose to self-produce their next album Down on the Upside to avoid the slow, one-song-at-a-time, prolonged recording of Superunknown.
  • Trevor Horn - Previously the singer for The Buggles (and later a member of Yes and Art of Noise), Horn has a reputation for playing to his artist's strengths and adapting appropriately; hence how he can produce slickly produced and expansive pop/rock in the vein of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Two Tribes, Yes' mainstream breakthrough 90125 or Robbie Williams' Reality Killed The Video Star, or alternately experimental and edgy like Grace Jones' Slave To The Rhythm and the Art Of Noise's... well, the Art Of Noise's early material. Horn is often cited as being the best producer in Britain, and the man deserves the accolade. That being said, his perfectionism at all costs (often quite literal costs) has been known to get artists' backs up from time to time, with Frankie Goes to Hollywood eventually taking him to court. Pet Shop Boys acknowledged that Horn promised a finished production job on one song within a week, only for the song to come back six months later, well over budget.
  • David Tickle. According to the members of Split Enz, Tickle became increasingly arrogant after producing True Colours, their global breakout album. With the follow-up album Waiata, they were dismayed at Tickle's refusal to give them any input into the final sound of the album. Later on, Department S and Crowded House had similar creative tensions.
  • Robert John "Mutt" Lange has a reputation for being a perfectionist in the studio. Def Leppard's Phil Collen reputedly described him as the 'nicest dictator in the studio'. And during the production of the Foreigner album '4', guitarist Mick Jones frequently 'locked horns' with Lange.


 It always offended me when I was in the studio and the engineer or the assumed producer for the session would start bossing the band around. That always seemed like a horrible insult to me. [...] So, I made up my mind when I started engineering professionally that I wasn't going to behave like that.

Steve Albini


The Invisible Producer is very minimally involved in the recording process. He just sets up the microphones, pushes "record" and sits back. Sometimes he may give suggestions, but generally takes a backseat to the band.


  • Steve Albini, most famously during the production of Surfer Rosa by The Pixies and In Utero by Nirvana; apparently because he favours "live" recording over the layers of multi-tracking that most producers prefer, Albini has to spend an age setting up the microphones just so. Other than that, the description is fairly accurate. He also tries to have his name left off the album credits if possible, and if not, refuses to allow himself to be listed as a "producer", instead preferring "engineer" or saying the album was "engineered/recorded by". Also, he hates digital recording with a passion.
  • Mick Jones for the Libertines.
  • Glyn Johns, Andy Johns and Eddie Kramer, lumped together due to their producing and engineering work with many of the same artists (The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix).
  • Rodger Bain on Black Sabbath's first three albums. It should be noted, however, that this was due primarily to the rush job they did on said albums, which was a common practice in that era.
  • Nick Mason, drummer for Pink Floyd has done several production jobs for artists like The Damned, Gong and Robert Wyatt. People who he has worked with confirm that he is brilliant at organisation (getting the studios booked, keeping it on budget) but that his influence on the actual music is minimal.
  • Andy Warhol for The Velvet Underground. Although credited as producer, his influence primarily seems to have been just to pay for the recording, the actual production work was done by Tom Wilson and the band themselves. Lou Reed acknowledged that Andy's pedigree allowed them to get away with a lot for their debut that might've otherwise been lost in Executive Meddling.

The George Martin is the Long Runner of production, faithfully sticking with the same band for an incredible amount of time and albums. Of course, this exposes the band to the danger of getting stale, but it's not like they wouldn't get there anyway. Or alternatively, the band loses their way when they ditch the producer.


  • The Trope Namer and Trope Maker, George Martin, who produced every Beatles album, except Let it Be, which was produced by Phil Spector.
  • Nigel Godrich, who has been with Radiohead since OK Computer (1997).
  • Rick Rubin, who has been with the Red Hot Chili Peppers since BloodSugarSexMagik, and produced all System of a Down albums. In addition to his work with those bands, he's also incredibly eclectic, working with artists from Jay-Z to Johnny Cash, all with his signature stripped down production style.
  • Bob Rock for Metallica between 1991-2003. They finally ditched him after St. Anger made them realize they were digging themselves into a hole.
  • Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois in various degrees for U2 since The Unforgettable Fire, only absent on 1997's Pop.
  • Ted Templeman, on Van Halen's first 6 albums. He left with David Lee Roth (although returning for For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge). Templeman stuck around longer with the Doobie Brothers and Michael McDonald.
  • Bill Ham, producing every ZZ Top album from 1969 until 2003.
  • Terry Brown, who produced every Rush album between Fly By Night and Signals.
  • Rob Cavallo, with Green Day since 1994. (they only ditched him for Twenty First Century Breakdown)
  • Pierre Marchand, with Sarah McLachlan since 1994.
  • Frank Peterson, the Martin for Sarah Brightman.
  • Dick Knubbler in Metalocalypse.
    • Notable for doing a double Heel Face Turn- from producer (sent by the record company for quality control) and spy, to trusted confidant of the band and the only person aside from Offdensen they'll actually listen to. If they can hear him...
  • Pat Dillett, who produced all of They Might Be Giants' releases since Factory Showroom.
  • Jimmy Miller, who produced the most highly-regarded series of albums by The Rolling Stones - Beggars' Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street. He was thrown out after Goats Head Soup because his drug use was affecting his production skills.
  • Though he's always credited as co-producing with the band themselves, David Fridmann for the Flaming Lips; He first worked with them in 1990 (when critics and fans seem to generally agree that the band started Growing the Beard), and with the exception of Transmissions From The Satellite Heart, he's co-produced every album since.
  • Gil Norton, with The Pixies between Doolittle and Trompe le Monde.
  • Iron Maiden had two: Martin Birch, that produced all between Killers and Fear of the Dark (then retired), and Kevin Shirley, for all since Brave New World.
  • All of George Strait's albums since the Pure Country soundtrack in 1992 have been produced by Tony Brown.
    • Similarly, Brown produced for Vince Gill from 1989 to 2000.
  • Dwight Yoakam worked with producer/guitarist Pete Anderson from his 1986 debut Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc. until Population Me in 2003.
  • With a career spanning from 1989 to the present, Alan Jackson has worked with producer Keith Stegall on all but one album.
  • All of Patty Loveless' material has been produced by her husband, Emory Gordy, Jr. He also plays bass on all of her albums and in her road band.
  • All of Five Iron Frenzy's albums (eight of them, over the course of eight years) were produced by Masaki Liu. In the liner notes of their final album, FIF called him and label-runner Frank Tate the 9th and 10th members of the band.
  • Tony Clarke, who produced The Moody Blues' "classic seven" albums of the late '60s and early '70s, as well as the not-quite-as-classic-but-still-pretty-damn-good Octave from 1978.
  • Paul Rothchild produced almost every album by The Doors. He split with the band after Morrison Hotel, dismissing their new material as "cocktail music", so the band stuck with their old engineer Bruce Botnick for L.A. Woman.
  • All of The Cure's albums between The Top and Wish were co-produced by David M. Allen.
  • All of Steely Dan's albums were engineered and co-produced by Roger Nichols. All of their albums between Can't Buy A Thrill and Gaucho were produced by Gary Katz.
  • Tim McGraw has always co-produced with Byron Gallimore, starting with his long-forgotten self-titled debut album in 1992. Between Not a Moment Too Soon (1994) and Set This Circus Down (2001), James Stroud co-produced, with Darran Smith taking the co-production role from Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors (2002) through Let It Go (2006) and no third producer ever since. McGraw and Gallimore also produced for labelmate Jo Dee Messina from 1996 through the late 2000s.
  • Buddy Cannon has produced for Kenny Chesney since I Will Stand in 1997. Between then and All I Want for Christmas Is a Real Good Tan (2003), Cannon's frequent co-production partner Norro Wilson helped.
  • All of Garth Brooks' albums except for one have been produced by Allen Reynolds. The one? The Chris Gaines album, produced by Don Was.
  • Keith Urban has worked with Dann Huff from 2002's Golden Road onward.


 After that, I think we finally figured out that Guy [Bidmead] just wasn't Vic Maile. [...] He was too nice! Vic knew when to tell us to shut the fuck up!

Lemmy, about working on Nö Sleep At All


The Helping Hand Producer is a slightly subjective trope, and one whose existence is rather hard to determine until after the fact. It refers to the belief that one producer is a great match for a band because he knows their strengths and helps them produce excellent albums. A great sign of this trope is when the band split with said producer and release albums that don't have the same reception. As said, it's easier to discern after a split occured.


  • Vic Maile for Motorhead, to the point that even Lemmy admitted it (see above).
  • Stephen Street for the Cranberries. After they switched to Bruce Fairbairn in 1996, To the Faithful Departed got a massive panning.
  • A review of The Stone Roses' debut album reissue which includes demos pointed out that John Leckie played an important part in making the band sound great.
    • Actually, Leckie also applies here because both Radiohead and The Verve only started being really awesome when they worked with him, no matter how much Nick McCabe doesn't want to admit it.
  • The Tori Amos albums that Eric Rosse produced (Little Earthquakes, Under the Pink) are her most critically acclaimed.
  • Tony Visconti for David Bowie. Your Mileage May Vary but the albums he recorded with David Bowie, Low, "Heroes", Lodger and Scary Monsters are among the most critically acclaimed of his career. Following his split with Visconti in the ages, Bowie produced Let's Dance (his biggest commercial hit, but considered by many to be too 'polished' to be a proper Bowie album) and the derided Tonight, Never Let Me Down and Tin Machine albums.
  • Joy Division started as a generic punk band. Then they hooked up with Martin Hannett, and the rest is history.
  • Elvis Costello admitted that he took up production duties on The Pogues' Rum, Sodomy & the Lash because he felt he could help them achieve Three Chords and the Truth-hood:

 I saw my task... was to capture them in their delapidated glory before some more professional producer fucked them up.

    • For added hilarity points, The Pogues hooked up with professional producer Steve Lillywhite for If I Should Fall from Grace with God and scored one of their most successful albums.
  • Rush have this sort of relationship with Nick Raskulinecz, the producer of Snakes and Arrows and Clockwork Angels. The band were initially taken aback by how readily and enthusiastically he would tell Neil Peart to change a drum part, but he won their respect by not letting the band coast through the recording process.
  • Alabama lost its country-rock-pop fusion sound upon abandoning Harold Shedd in 1988. Larry Michael Lee and Josh Leo were able to carry them for a few more years with a more mainstream sound, but their fate continued to slide once he was replaced with Garth Fundis for two tracks off a Greatest Hits Album, Emory Gordy, Jr. for one album, then Don Cook for everything afterward (again keeping the more mainstream sound).
  • Going the opposite way, Brooks and Dunn's fortunes were failing with their 1999 dud Tight Rope. They switched producers from Don Cook to Mark Wright, who re-energized the duo with a more muscular sound on the acclaimed Steers & Stripes in 2001 (which included their biggest hit, "Ain't Nothing 'bout You") and Red Dirt Road in 2003. They switched again to Tony Brown on Hillbilly Deluxe (2005), and their critical acclaim and hits continued to slip.
  • Little Big Town acknowledged on a Great American Country special that they did not find their sound until they began working with Wayne Kirkpatrick.
  • Rodney Atkins originally worked with producer Chuck Howard, who cast him as a mustachioed cowboy singing in a Roy Orbison-esque voice. Dissatisfied with this image, Atkins asked the head of his label for a change in producers, and he ended up under the production of otherwise completely unknown Ted Hewitt. After a false start with Honesty, Hewitt helped find Atkins' strength as a baseball cap-wearing everyman who sings positive songs that often centralize on the family.
  • Travis Tritt's commercial success came to a screeching halt after he abandoned producer Gregg Brown, who ran the gamut from meat-and-potatoes mainstream ("I'm Gonna Be Somebody") to rowdy Southern rock ("T-R-O-U-B-L-E") to outright Power Ballad ("Anymore", "Foolish Pride").

The DIY occurs when a band gets Genre Savvy toward Real Life and decides to produce their albums themselves to avoid interference. Either that, or they have a creative vision that they couldn't express properly before.


  • The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, at least in their most commercially and critically successful years.
    • Although the named producer on their early records was Nick Venet, by most accounts his role was limited to telling the engineer to do whatever Brian Wilson wanted.
  • Yoshiki Hayashi for almost every X Japan single or album, although Jade was co-produced with an American producer.
  • Jimmy Page, who produced every Led Zeppelin album.
    • It is worth noting Jimmy was an experienced producer by the time Led Zeppelin started. He even admitted he switched around engineers for every album to make it clear to everybody that he was the architect of the band's sound.
  • Trent Reznor, the only permanent member of Nine Inch Nails.
  • Al Jourgensen, for Ministry.
  • RZA for the Wu-Tang Clan.
  • Prince.
  • Geoff Barrow, for Portishead.
  • George Clinton, for Parliament-Funkadelic.
  • Jack Dangers, the only permanent member of Meat Beat Manifesto.
  • Daft Punk.
  • My Bloody Valentine were credited as producers for every album/EP except Loveless, which credits bandmembers Kevin Shields and Colm O Ciosoig (the latter purely for the interlude "Touched").
  • Primus.
  • The Velvet Underground started self-producing with 1969's eponymous album, after one album (allegedly) produced by Andy Warhol and one with Tom Wilson.
  • Queen, in collaboration with three other producers: Roy Thomas Baker (1970-1977), Mack (1980-1984) and David Richards (1986-1991).
  • Paul McCartney. alone or in collaboration, for most of his solo career. Anything of his recorded after the break-up and before 1998 has his touch.
  • Steve Harris has produced or co-produced a lot of albums and videos for his band, Iron Maiden.
  • Steven Wilson self-produces Porcupine Tree records, and has produced other bands such as Opeth.
  • The Rolling Stones have either produced their albums themselves or in collaboration with others (Steve Lillywhite, Don Was, The Dust Brothers) since It's Only Rock 'n Roll.
  • Sonic Youth have had a co-production credit on almost every record since around Bad Moon Rising.
  • Big Black, considering their guitarist was Steve Albini...
  • After Tori Amos' boyfriend/producer broke up with her, she thought it would be appropriate to produce her next album Boys for Pele. Now Tori produces all of her albums.
  • Kate Bush.
  • The Tea Party.
  • Most recent Rush albums give the band, or at least guitarist Alex Lifeson, a producer co-credit.
  • Recent Hot Hot Heat albums are recorded in a studio Steve Bays owns and mostly self-produced.
  • Disturbed from Indestructible onward. The primary production seat is held by guitarist Dan Donegan.
  • Mike Shinoda has produced everything Linkin Park-related aside from their first two albums and Dead by Sunrise's debut.
  • The Smiths co-produced all their albums, usually with either John Porter or Stephen Street. Morrissey and Johnny Marr received the main credits, but Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce were allowed to make decisions about how to mix their own instruments.
  • The Cure or Robert Smith have been credited as co-producers on every album since Seventeen Seconds.
  • The Band, beginning with their third album.
  • Toby Keith's first two albums and a Christmas album were produced by Nelson Larkin and Harold Shedd. After Shedd left Mercury, Keith began co-producing everything he put out: first with Larkin for one album, then with James Stroud (from 1997's Dream Walkin' through 2005's Honkytonk University, his last album for DreamWorks Records before it closed). He has been mostly DIY ever since, with the occasional helping hand.
  • Garbage (though Bleed Like Me has an extra producer as they started it really burned out).
  • Kanye West is the only rap example, as he was a producer before he became a rapper and so produces all of his songs, which lends his albums a sense of coherence and vision that most hip-hop albums lack.

The One Or More Trick Pony has one or more distinctive styles that consciously or not he imposes on the bands who work with him.


  • Nigel Godrich - ethereal space-rock (Radiohead, Pavement, REM, Beck etc.).
  • Mark Ronson - more cowbell trumpets (Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, etc.).
  • Jackknife Lee - fuzzy ballad rock (U2, Kasabian, Bloc Party, etc.).
  • Bill Laswell - fusion. His production work on Herbie Hancock albums is often derided as "Bill Laswell featuring Herbie Hancock".
  • John Leckie - Sixties influenced psychedelic rock (The Stone Roses, XTC, The Verve, Radiohead).
  • Steve Albini - aggressive, lo-fi Grunge/Alternative Rock (The Pixies, The Breeders, Nirvana, PJ Harvey).
    • Although he did do a fantastic job recording folk singer/songwriter/harpist Joanna Newsom with an almost absurd degree of clarity, and Mono's Hymn To The Immortal Wind with an orchestra and thirteen minute instrumental tracks. But he's still stereotypically associated with lo-fi recording methods and big-name Alternative Rock bands.
  • Robert John "Mutt" Lange - formerly gritty Hard Rock (AC/DC's Highway to Hell, Back in Black), now over-produced pop-rock (Def Leppard's Pyromania and Hysteria, The Cars' "Heartbeat City", Bryan Adams' Waking Up the Neighbours, Nickelback's Dark Horse) and pop-country (ex-wife Shania Twain).
  • Butch Vig - clearly recorded but still aggressive grunge/alternative rock (Nirvana, L7, The Smashing Pumpkins) or industrial rock (Garbage).
  • Tony Visconti - trippy glam rock (T. Rex), grinding proto-industrial rock (David Bowie's Berlin Trilogy and Scary Monsters), and various other styles (Mary Hopkin, Moody Blues, etc.)
  • Larry Klein has produced exclusively albums by female singer-songwriters. He got his start on Wild Things Run Fast by Joni Mitchell, whom he eventually married, though it didn't last.
  • The same thing happened to Eric Rosse, whose production credit on Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink led to him being hired quite frequently by female singer-songwriters (Lisa Marie Presley, Anna Nalick, Sara Bareilles, etc).
  • Jim Steinman - a grandiose, bombastic sound that is equal parts Bruce Springsteen and Richard Wagner. He perfected this style with Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler, and it's very much in evidence on a variety of one-shot singles he's done with other artists (Air Supply's "Making Love Out of Nothing at All", Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now").
  • Marty Munsch - known as "The Phil Spector of punk rock" for his aggressive, massive sound and his work with various industrial (Ministry, KMFDM, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Nine Inch Nails, Revolting Cocks, Young Gods, Front Line Assembly) and electronic bands (Meat Beat Manifesto, The KLF).
  • Phil Spector - inventor of "The Wall of Sound".
  • Rick Rubin - his scaled down sound marked by minimal use of effects like reverb, trying to keep most of the instrumentation live and a focus on performance and precision. He's known for the sheer eclecticism of the bands he's worked with and his seemingly uncanny ability to bring out the best in the people he works with. His credits include: The Beastie Boys (Licensed to Ill), Run-DMC, LL Cool J (Radio famously had the credit "reduced by Rick Rubin"), Jay-Z, Slayer (Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss and more), Johnny Cash (the American Recordings series), Red Hot Chili Peppers (all of their albums since Blood Sugar Sex Magik), Danzig, Metallica (Death Magnetic), System of a Down (all their albums), ACDC (Ballbreaker), Neil Diamond (12 Songs), Justin Timberlake and Weezer.
  • Bob Ezrin - alternately grandiose and arty (Pink Floyd's The Wall, Peter Gabriel's first album) or simple and direct (Aerosmith's Get Your Wings, Kiss' Destroyer), but always pretty slammin' rock.
  • Scott Burns very nearly invented the sound of 90's death metal, producing Cannibal Corpse's first five albums, five by Deicide, four by Obituary three by Death, three by Malevolent Creation, and many more. His retirement from producing was largely due to death metal exhaustion, having never been a big fan of the music, just very good at making it sound right.
  • Gil Norton - spacey, aggressive Alternative Rock (The Pixies, James, Belly, Catherine Wheel, Foo Fighters) or whiny Post-Grungey indie rock (Dashboard Confessional, Jimmy Eat World).
  • Stock Aitken Waterman - high-energy pop-dance (Dead or Alive, Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue). Probably the most hated of the bunch.
  • Conny Plank - Krautrock. Yes, it is a bit circular since Krautrock is basically "sounding like Conny Plank", but his tendencies (expressed through Kraftwerk and Neu!) are clear: lots of synth, lots of echo, clear clean drums and liberal use of abstract noise as an instrument.
  • Timbaland - dance-pop music with heavy drums
  • The Neptunes - dance-pop/rap music with emphasis on bass & drums
  • Trevor Horn - crystal-clear sound quality, eighties reverb, lush arrangements, heavy use of samplers and new recording technology, the presence of Anne Dudley and J.J. Jeczalik.
  • Erik Rutan - Death metal. Especially known for great guitar tone.
  • Giorgio Moroder - a pioneer of the 'computer disco' sound in the 1970s, and subsequently producing many New Wave, hi-NRG and rock artists in the 1980s. Heavy emphasis on analogue synthesisers and four-on-the-floor drum machine rhythms.
  • Bruce Fairbairn - overly bombastic, occasionally horn- and synth-laden rock (Aerosmith, Yes, AC/DC).
  • Red One - booming drums, grungey sawtooth synth bass overlaid with sweet-sounding synth melodies.
  • Dann Huff — Slick, mainstream country-pop with lots of electric guitar, making him a particularly effective producer for the rock-styled guitar work of Keith Urban. Not surprisingly, Huff is also a session guitarist. On other artists' albums, most notably Rascal Flatts and his early work with Faith Hill, the guitars are often paired with orchestras.
  • As mentioned above, Keith Stegall has worked with Alan Jackson on all but one album. While Jackson is known for his meat-and-potatoes, everyman simplicity, that same sound can be heard in a lot of Stegall's other productions. Most notably, Stegall's knack for simplicity brings out the harmonies and nylon-string guitar/fiddle/keyboard interplay of the Zac Brown Band.
    • However, Stegall often let his bombastic pop side out of the bag in the early 2000s when producing for Mark Wills.
  • Frank Rogers also has a generally light touch with crisp vocals and a prominent bass line, making him most effective for the deep-voiced, traditional-sounding Josh Turner and other strong vocalists such as Darryl Worley and Darius Rucker (although unusually for him, some of Rucker's work falls under Loudness War). He generally mixes louder for Brad Paisley, and brings out the guitar a lot more since Brad is a guitarist.
  • Paul Worley also wears many hats. He started off with a meaty, guitar-heavy sound (unsurprisingly, he's also a session guitarist like Dann Huff) that wasn't too polished, and kept this into the late 1990s. By the early 2000s, he used ultra-slick pop sheen on Martina McBride, nearly Meat Loaf levels of pure rock loudness on Big & Rich's albums, and returned to ultra-slick pop sheen later in the decade for Lady Antebellum. One of Worley's trademarks is using a very large number of instruments but still avoiding the loudness war.
  • Michael Knox seems to excel in a raw, overdriven, Southern rock-influenced sound with little to no brickwalling. This is most evident on his production for Jason Aldean, but it also helped return Montgomery Gentry to their signature sound on Rebels on the Run.
  • Dr Luke - self-consciously low-fi, video-gamey synths, arrangements that sound sparse but take ridiculous amounts of multitracking to do, and very sparkly, ultra-sampled guitar.

The Multiple Producers is, well, when a band works with more than one producer for an album. This can be for various reasons - either they worked with one at first then moved on to the other and both batches of songs ended up on the album, they consciously set out to do so, they found a few who bring out different parts of their sound, etc. The advantage here is that you get more people you can bounce ideas off of, and may provide a degree of diversity to your album. The pitfall is that Too Many Cooks Spoil the Soup, and you might just end up with an inconsistent, disorganised and schizophrenic mess.


  • Almost every Hip Hop album since sometime in the mid-nineties. There are lots of reviewers who point out that this basically loses the coherence and sonic/conceptual unity that rap albums had in the past when the entire production would be handled by one guy/team.
  • Whereas previous Pink Floyd albums were either credited to Norman Smith (1967-1970) or the band alone (1971-1977), The Wall's production credit reads: Bob Ezrin, David Gilmour, James Guthrie, Roger Waters. The Final Cut is slightly less unwieldy, being reduced to Waters, Guthrie and Michael Kamen - but that's partly because Gilmour had his name removed from the production credits over disagreements with Waters over the direction of the album.
  • All of U2's albums since 1984 have been produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, but in The Nineties they expanded production credits by having The Edge take occasional credits, bringing in Steve Lillywhite for Achtung Baby, Mark "Flood" Ellis for Zooropa and Howie B and Steve Osborne for Pop. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb bears their longest list of producers, numbering: Steve Lillywhite, Chris Thomas, Jacknife Lee, Nellee Hooper, Flood, Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno and Carl Glanville.
  • The production duo of Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley produced just about every Madness studio album (with the exception of their covers album, The Dangermen Sessions, Vol. 1), as well as Too-Rye-Aye for Dexys Midnight Runners and a couple of albums for They Might Be Giants and Elvis Costello.
  • Most of Jars Of Clay's self-titled debut was self-produced, but "Flood" and "Liquid" (two of their first hit singles) were produced by Adrian Belew.
  • Primus specifically drafted in more producers and guest musicians for Antipop to try and do something different. Said producers included: Tom Morello, Tom Waits, Stewart Copeland, Matt Stone and Fred Durst.
  • The B-52's Cosmic Thing. Half the tracks are produced by Nile Rodgers, and half by Don Was. The tracks produced by Rodgers are more commercial sounding and happy, whereas the Was tracks are more experimental and jungly.
  • Several country acts in the 1980s and 1990s were co-produced by Buddy Cannon and Norro Wilson. Cannon continues to produce for Kenny Chesney, but Wilson is retired.
  • Jason Aldean's road band, which consists of Tully Kennedy, Kurt Allison, David Fanning and Rich Redmond, produced the debut album of labelmates Thompson Square ("Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not").


 What's my job as a producer? To produce an album. I'm not getting paid to be Layne's friend.

Dave Jerden, about working with Alice in Chains.


The Man in the Middle is the exact opposite of the Acrimony Producer: this time around, the band are too busy fighting amongst themselves and the producer by default ends up trying to keep the whole thing going, even if it means being the only one around to tell the band to chill out and get back to, y'know, recording.

  • Richard Dashut and Ken Caillat, Fleetwood Mac's producers from 1977's Rumours to 1987's Tango in the Night. Ken recalled that during the Rumours sessions the band members would, when not recording, get into fights with one another and snort whatever they had handy, and he repeatedly found cocaine lying on the mixing desk.
  • George Martin himself in his final sessions with The Beatles. After the ordeal that was recording Let It Be, with George Martin mostly absent, Glyn Johns being more in charge of the whole thing than anyone, and fights erupting left and right, Paul asked George Martin if he was willing to do one more album with the band. George replied "Yes, if I am really allowed to produce it". Although the boys didn't hate each other much less than in the previous sessions, they were willing to let George Martin reign supreme and the ensuing album, Abbey Road, is not only much more consistent and cohesive than The Beatles ("The White Album") and Let It Be, it's also one of the best albums by anybody, period.
  • Dave Jerden had the misfortune of being pretty much the only sober man around while Alice in Chains were recording Dirt, inevitably clashing with the band over their destructive habits.
  • By some accounts, Trevor Horn was forced to attempt this on Yes' Big Generator. It didn't work.
  • Although Pink Floyd were credited as Producers or Co-Producers on all their albums up until Roger Waters left (either as 'Pink Floyd' or David Gilmour & Roger Waters), various producers such as Chris Thomas and Bob Ezrin were brought in to mediate between Gilmour and Waters' different visions of the music.

Artist as Producer/Producer as Artist. Two sides of the same coin. Sometimes, an established artist will be sort out by up-and-coming artists hoping that whatever magic made the established artist a star will rub off of to them. This can have varying results (the less said about Keith Moon's attempts to produce Peter Cook the better) but sometimes it will lead to a secondary career for the establishd artist which may prove invaluable when the hits dry up and when touring becomes more of a pain. In the second category, there are those who start off with 'Producer' as their day job and seeing the adulation for the acts they work with, at some point think "I gotta get me a bit of that"

Examples in the first category include;

  • Brian Eno. Starting as a synthesizer player with Roxy Music, he then released a number of acclaimed solo albums. This led to production jobs with the likes of Talking Heads, David Bowie, U2 and James.
  • David Bowie. Used his star power to resurrect the careers of early influences such as Mott the Hoople, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.
  • Elvis Costello: For The Pogues, Squeeze and The Specials.
  • Edwyn Collins: Having had hits with the group Orange Juice and a succesful solo career, he went on to produce for Terrorvision, The Proclaimers and The Cribs

Examples in the second category include:

  • Ian Broudie. Starting out as a producer for the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen, The Icicle Works and Terry Hall before forming his own group The Lighting Seeds
  • Garbage. All of the members apart from singer Shirley Manson, were experienced producers and remixers before forming the band.
  • Timbaland: Was a producer for three years before releasing his first solo album.
  • Alan Parsons: Probably the definitive example of this trope, Parsons had already engineered and produced for the likes of Pink Floyd, Cockney Rebel, Pilot and Al Stewart before starting his solo career (or, to be technical, joint solo career with manager/songwriter Eric Woolfson).