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One of the great rock producers of his time,
first became interested in sound production when he worked with sonar in the Navy. After leaving the Navy, the producer drifted to New York where he took a job at Dick Charles Recording, the firm that handled all the Screen Gems demos. Being surrounded by the likes of
, it is doubtless that the merits of a good song were not lost on
. Like many producers of the era, he worked at a four-track studio where everything was cut live and by the seat of the pants. Cutting his teeth with the likes of
and Jerry Ragavoy,
thought he was ready for production and signed on to do former
' first LP. The record didn't do much to further the career of either party, but a year later,
caught his first major break when he went to work for ABC. His first major success came when he convinced
to cut a contemporary-sounding album and the result, Live & Well, made the charts. Even better the follow-up, Completely Well, spawned B.B.'s first major pop crossover, "The Thrill Is Gone." The producer went on to have great success in the '70s as both an A&R man and behind the board, signing and producing
the James Gang
and producing several
albums, including the great party record Morning After. His biggest success, though, was
, who hired
when they wanted more of a rock & roll sound.
On the Border
One of These Nights
were the result, and the unprecedented chart success made both parties millions. The money allowed
the luxury of relaxing a bit from the industry, and like many of his contemporaries, he spent much of the next two decades recovering from the drug fog of the '70s. Even in his absence, though,
remains a class act whose work is felt through the younger producers and engineers he has inspired.
Steve Kurutz, Rovi
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