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Archive for the ‘Engineer’ Category

RIP, Jim Dickson (April 19, 2011) Manager Of The Byrds

Posted by on April 19, 2011

Jim Dickson
DOB Unknown – April 19, 2011

Jim Dickson was a recording engineer, producer,  and eventual manager of the Byrds.  He is often cited as one of the foundations of the ’60s folk-rock movement, particularly that which was coming out of Southern California.  During his early years, Dickson produced records by the likes of Hamilton Camp, David Crosby, and the Dillards.  He soon began managing a new band formed by Crosby and Chris Hillman who at first went by the Beefeaters and then the Jet Set.  It was their desire to become Los Angeles’ answer to the Beatles.  In 1964, Dickson was sent a demo of Bob Dylan’s then-unreleased “Mr. Tamborine Man,” which the band, now known as the Byrds, recorded and released.  It would became one of the era’s definitive songs and helped launch a sound that inspired countless other musicians.  To help the band build a following in those early days, Dickson enlisted the help of such famous friends as Jack Nicholson and Albert Grossman to champion them. After Dickson split with the group in 1967, he went on to manage and produce the Flying Burrito Brothers which included Hillman,  Michael Clarke, and Gram Parsons.  He later worked with Parsons on his solo albums as well as Gene Clark and eventually retired to Hawaii where he became a competitive sailor.  Jim Dickson was 80 when he passed away on April 19, 2011.

Thanks to Scott Miller for the help

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RIP, Roger Nichols (April 8, 2011) Multiple Grammy-Winning Recording Engineer

Posted by on April 8, 2011

Roger Nichols
September 22, 1944 – April 8, 2011

Roger Nichols was a respected producer and recording engineer who over the course of his career, accumulated seven Grammys.  Most closely associated with Steely Dan, Nichols also worked with the likes of John Denver, the Beach Boys, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Frank Zappa, and Diana Ross, to name just a few.  Raised in Southern California, Nichols went to high school with Zappa with whom he made his earliest tapes.  After graduating from college where he studied nuclear physics, Nichols first found work has a nuclear operator at the San Onofre nuclear power plant north of San Diego.  But in the mid ’60s he moved back over to music and opened his own recording studio.  In 1970, he went to work for ABC Dunhill Records where he met Walter Becker and Donald Fagen who were hired writers for the label.  Within a year, Nichols was behind the board for the birth of Becker’s and Fagen’s group, Steely Dan.  He would go on to engineer such landmark albums as their Pretzel Logic, Aja, Countdown To Ecstasy, and Gaucho.  He earned Grammys for his work on Aja, Gaucho, Two Against Nature, FM, and John Denver’s All Aboard!.  Roger Nichols was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May of 2010, and died from it on April 8, 2011.  He was 66.

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RIP, Owsley Stanley (March 13, 2011) LSD Icon; Longtime Soundman for Grateful Dead

Posted by on March 14, 2011

Augustus Owsley Stanley
January 19, 1935 – March 13, 2011

Owsley “Bear” Stanley was a sound engineer and former notorious LSD cook who was reportedly the first to manufacture large quantities of the drug.  His high-quality LSD, often given away for free, became plentiful in the San Francisco area during the mid ’60s so is credited for being an essential piece of the hippie movement.  As a respected sound engineer, Stanley was employed by (and also helped finance) the Grateful Dead.  He met members of the group during Ken Kesey’s famed acid tests of 1966 and became their first sound man.  He also co-designed their iconic “Steal Your Face” skull logo with Bob Thomas.   It was Stanley who developed the advanced high fidelity live sound system used by the Grateful Dead.  He also helped launch Meyer Sound, the respected concert sound system manufacturer.  During his years with the Grateful Dead, Stanley started the practice of taping the band’s rehearsals and live shows – this lead to the phenomenon of audience-generated tapes that spread well beyond the Dead.  He also made countless live recordings during the ’60s and ’70s of such acts as Jefferson Airplane, Miles Davis, Janis Joplin, Santana, and Johnny Cash to name just a few.   Owsley and his exploits have been documented in (or at least inspired) such songs as “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix, “Kid Charlemagne” by Steely Dan, and numerous others.  On March 13, 2011, Owsley Stanley was killed when the car he was driving swerved off a road near his home in Queensland, Australia.  The car reportedly went down an embankment and crashed into some trees killing Owsley and injuring his wife.  He was 76.

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RIP, Bruce Jackson (January 29, 2011) Longtime Concert Sound Engineer For Bruce Springsteen

Posted by on January 29, 2011

Bruce Jackson
DOB Unknown – January 29, 2011

Bruce Jackson was a sound engineer who helped Bruce Springsteen create his storied concert experiences as his concert sound engineer for over ten years.  Jackson started with Springsteen during his historic Darkness On The Edge Of Town tour of 1978 and stayed on board through 1987’s Tunnel Of Love  Express tour.   And if that weren’t impressive enough, Jackson also worked with the likes of Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder, and Barbra Streisand over the years.  He was also an experienced pilot.  On January 29, 2011, Bruce Jackson was killed when the plane he was flying crashed in Southern California.

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RIP, Jim Williamson (January 20, 2011) Legendary Nashville Recording Engineer

Posted by on January 20, 2011

Jim Williamson
DOB Unknown – January 20, 2011

Jim Williamson was a respected Nashville recording engineer who worked on several of the most iconic recordings in pop music history.  His behind-the-board talent can be heard on such records as Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden,” and Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.”  He also worked on recordings by Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristofferson, to name a few.  Jim Williamson passed away from pulmonary disease on January 11, 2011.  He was 75.

Thanks to Jon Grimson for the help

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RIP, Harry Andronis (December 27, 2010) Sound Tech For Frank Zappa

Posted by on December 27, 2010

Harry Andronis
February 4, 1953 – December 27, 2010

Harry Andronis is perhaps best remembered as the long time front-of-house sound mixer for Frank Zappa.  He joined up with Zappa in 1988, coming on board for the Broadway The Hard Way Tour.  Prior to his job with Zappa, Andronis worked with the likes of Shadowfax, Chris DeBurgh, Supertramp, and Jean-Luc Ponty. He also created jingles for such companies as Schlitz, United Airlines, and McDonalds, and did sound effects for such television shows as L.A. Law and Doogie Howser.  In his later years with Zappa, Andronis helped him remix tapes from many of his old shows.   On December 27, 2010, Harry Andronis passed away following a long struggle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  He was 54.

Thanks to Roger Palmeri for the help

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Died On This Date (August 21, 2008) Jerry Finn / Produced Blink-182, Green Day, Sum 41

Posted by on August 21, 2010

Jerry Finn
March 31, 1969  – August 21, 2008

Jerry FinnJerry Finn was a well-respected producer who lent his talents to a who’s who of alternative rock, artists like Blink-182, Green Day, Sum 41, AFI, Rancid, the Offspring, Morrissey, Alkaline Trio and many others. While working on a Morrissey release in July of 2008, Finn suffered a massive brain hemmorage.  Never regaining consciousness,  he was taken off life support on August 9 and passed away twelve days later.  He was just 39.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums for the help

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Died On This Date (June 25, 2006) Arif Mardin / Notable Producer & Arranger

Posted by on June 25, 2010

Arif Mardin
March 15, 1932 – June 25, 2006

Born to a well-to-do family in Istanbul, Turkey, Arif Mardin, moved to the United States in 1958, having been awarded a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music.  After graduating, Mardin moved to New York City to break into the music business.  He took a job at Atlantic Records as assistant to fellow Turkish immigrant, Nesuhi Ertegun.  Within no time, Mardin became the label engineer and producer and eventually Sr. Vice President of the company.  Along with Tom Dowd and Jerry Wexler, he would be credited for creating the legendary “Atlantic Sound.”  Over his career he produced hits by a who’s who of popular music, and in doing so was awarded a dozen Grammys and over 40 gold and platinum records.  Artists that he produced include Barbra Streisand, the Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Queen, Aretha Franklin, Norah Jones, Willie Nelson, Dusty Springfield, and many more.  Arif Mardin died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 74.

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Died On This Date (June 12, 2009) Andy Hughes / Electronic Music Producer

Posted by on June 12, 2010

Andy Hughes
November 11, 1965 – June 12, 2009

andyAndy Huhges was a respected UK music producer who is best remembered for his work with the Orb and Basement Jaxx.  His work on the Orb’s “Toxygene” single helped it reach #4 on the UK charts back in 1997.  He’s also done work on music by the Cranberries and Tangerine Dream.  He died of a short undisclosed illness at the age of 44.

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Died On This Date (June 9, 2008) Elmer Alley / Helped Create Opryland

Posted by on June 9, 2010

Elmer Alley
1921(?) – June 9, 2008

elmerElmer Alley’s career spanned radio, television, cable television and the record industry, but he is probably best known as one of the creators of Nashville’s Fan Fair and Opryland. As a recording engineer, Alley worked on records by, among others, Hank Williams and Burl Ives.  He passed away on June 9, 2008 at the age of 87.

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