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Record Producer

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Royce Boss Hogg Lumpkin: Okay, maybe I abandoned my daughter and stole her song, but I'm still the most honorable record producer y'all have ever met!
Emily Robison: Well, he's got us there.
Martie Maguire: Still, in human terms, he's deplorable!

Throughout the 20th century and even into the Turn of the Millennium, recording an album wasn't easy. You and your plucky underdog band had to either get signed to a record label or raise a duffel bag of money to pay for studio time and hire an audio engineer. 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 executives.

Of course, improvements in recording technology now give you the option to say bollocks to all that and just record stuff at home on your laptop in GarageBand or something (as The KLF predicted in The Manual). However, these improvements haven't overshadowed traditional studios yet.

A record producer is an important figure in the modern recording industry. Music producers wear many hats. These include: controlling the recording sessions, coaching and guiding the musicians, hiring session musicians and backup singers, 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, though there are plenty of producers who do both. As The Director is to movies, The Producer is to music. In other words, they are a key leader of the recording process. Coincidentally, there are a few archetypes in this case.

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    The Producer from Hell 

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. The musical version of the Prima Donna Director.


  • 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 '60s and '70s. 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 for being a genius of a producer, but this was 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 when he produced End of the Century. He was last employed in 2003 by the alternative band Starsailor to produce their second album, but they fired him after two tracks.
  • 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, as well as the man responsible for the first song by a British band to hit #1 in America (the Instrumental "Telstar" by The Tornados), and one of the great One-Hit Wonder hits of The British Invasion ("Have I the Right?" by The Honeycombs). He was also completely insane and ended his life by killing himself after shooting his landlady. It didn't help that his trademark production style was going out of fashion and legal disputes were engulfing his biggest hits.
  • Martin Hannett, Factory Records' in-house producer. On the day Factory opened, he disappeared from the studio and was found on a hill recording "silence".note  There are also various stories circulating about his bizarre Cloudcuckoolander behavior towards the bands he worked with, his obsession with drum sounds, in particular, manifesting itself in freaky tormenting for Joy Division 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, and insisting that Morris record every drum separately to prevent leakage.
    • Despite — or perhaps because of — all of his eccentricities, Hannett was heralded as a production genius who effectively invented the sonic palette of Post-Punk and Goth Rock with his pioneering work with the AMS Digital Delay Circuit. Former Pitchfork writer Chris Ott explains thusly in his Shallow Rewards video series:
    [Hannett] knows the guys who invent digital delay and he gets that circuit, and the circuit is such a brand new thing that he bases the entire sound of Unknown Pleasures around this one circuit. He applies it to everything — the drums, the bass, everything has digital delay on it. But because he was Martin Hannett, he did the exact opposite of what anyone would have done when presented with a delay circuit: He turned it all the way down! The delay was set to the shortest possible time. If you listen to the opening of "Disorder", what you're hearing is this bizarre watery warble, that's caused by having this digital delay repeat so quickly after the snare hit.
    Chris Ott
  • Kevin Shields, who exhibited obsessive studio perfectionism, erratic behavior 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.
    • Note that Shields was producing his own damn band and put them through hell. The other band members haven't really complained since Loveless is pretty much Awesome Music. The follow-up, m b v, which took literally twenty-two years to make, is nearly as good.
  • Guy Stevens, the producer of The Clash's Awesome Music 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.
  • Fictional example: The Bruce Dickinson. Not that one.
    • Bruce Dickinson is a real person, but he didn't produce any Blue Öyster 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).

    The Acrimonious Producer 

Rundgren had sarcasm down to an extremely cruel art.
Andy Partridge on the making of Skylarking

The Acrimonious 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, ironically. 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 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 also said that these changes were ultimately for the best (Steinman even went so far as to say that Rundgren was one of the few people he considered a genius).
  • Bob Rock. Metallica's favorite pastime during the recording of the 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 surprising 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.
  • Yoshiki Hayashi, who once bought Bob Rock's studio. Dir en grey liked/likes him as a person, but working with/for him is another matter entirely.
  • 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 was very upset when he cut their Epic Rocking masterpiece "A Change of Seasons" from the album for being "too long" (which is completely missing the point - Dream Theater are all about the Epic Rocking). The band was also frustrated with how Prater's mix failed to bring out certain sections of the songs the way they desired and the overly polished final mix toned down their aggressiveness, making them sound more like Queensr˙che than a Progressive Metal band.
    • When they finally got around to recording "A Change of Seasons" as an EP three years later, it was with great difficulty that they decided to hire Prater to produce once again, reasoning that since "A Change of Seasons" was an Images and Words outtake it made the most sense to have him handle it. There were fewer fights this time around, and Prater wasn't around long enough to start clashing with the band again since the rest of the EP was filled by a series of covers recorded at one of the band's concerts. However, the most infamous incident during these sessions was when Prater asked James LaBrie to sing the whole 20-minute song of "A Change Of Seasons" when he had to record multiple takes. However, Prater stopped when LaBrie absolutely went off on him.
  • Michael Beinhorn has cast himself as this to several acts he has produced for:
    • When he produced the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Mother's Milk, John Frusciante frequently fought with Beinhorn over guitar tone and layering, because Beinhorn wanted Frusciante to play in an almost heavy-metal style. Beinhorn's idea eventually prevailed, which explains the peculiar sound of the album.
    • Soundgarden didn't outright fight with Beinhorn while recording Superunknown, but Chris Cornell mentioned that he did contribute to the recording process being slower and more frustratingnote :
    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.
    • Hole hated working with Beinhorn on Celebrity Skin, with drummer Patty Schemel accusing Beinhorn of forcing her out of the band because he wanted to work with a studio drummer instead (which is what happened; Schemel's replacement Samantha Maloney joined the band after the album was done but before touring), and Courtney Love calling him "a Nazi" in a retrospective documentary about the album's making.
    • On the other hand, Korn enjoyed working with him on Untouchables; while he was ridiculously perfectionist about sounds to the point where you could go an entire week without getting a single final track down (which contributed to the massively expensive final price tag of its production), the difference was that he was very upfront with Davis about what he wanted and how he was going to do it, and they all accepted his offer with the knowledge that he was going to obsess over the tiniest details and go over everything with a fine-toothed comb.
  • Speaking of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, they had an earlier example with their self-titled debut album, when they fought harshly with Andy Gill - producer and guitarist for one of the band's influences, Gang of Four - because he wanted their sound to be more radio-friendly. They disliked him so much that Flea reportedly gave Gill a pizza box filled with poop.
  • 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' comeback 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. It's widely known that Frankie's song "Relax" was reworked so much that, like the album it sat on, only Holly Johnson's voice is an original element of the song. Pet Shop Boys acknowledged that Horn promised a finished production job on "Left to My Own Devices" within a week, only for the song to instead 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. Crowded House (which included Neil Finn of Split Enz) were planning to use Tickle as an engineer but not as a producer on their first album, but after Tickle insisted on being paid more money than the band had initially agreed to, he was dropped from the project before a note was recorded.
  • Robert John "Mutt" Lange has a reputation for being a perfectionist. 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.
  • Squeeze were initially excited to be working with John Cale of The Velvet Underground as producer for their first album (having actually named themselves after VU's de jure last album), but their enthusiasm rather quickly evaporated when Cale forced them to throw out all the songs they had already written, made them write songs on the spot in the studio, outright terrorized the band during sessions and pursued his pet theme of having the album be named A Bunch of Gay Guys (thus explaining the album's cover). And after that was all done, the record company then made them put "Bang Bang" and "Take Me I'm Yours" on the album — both of which the band produced themselves, with no involvement from Cale — so they could have singles to sell. The result (except for the two self-produced singles) has since been received comparatively negatively.
  • Corey Taylor has made it clear that he was not at all happy with his experiences working with Rick Rubin on Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses). According to Taylor, Rubin charged them an incredible amount of money while barely ever showing up to recording sessions; on the rare occasions when he did arrive, it was for around forty-five minutes, and he apparently did nothing other than lay down on a couch while listening to the preproduction tracks a few times, not even bothering to provide constructive criticism or basic guidance; the one time that he apparently made any real input was when he told Taylor that the chorus to "Before I Forget" wasn't strong enough, which Taylor balked at and got into a heated argument with him over (and got one of their most famous songs in spite of Rubin's "help"). He apparently would also regularly bring in horrific-smelling food of indeterminate origin and would haphazardly bolt it down (and apparently got it all over himself on a regular basis); other than that, he was completely absent and was largely just an invisible (and enormous) expense. Taylor made it clear that he respected what Rubin had accomplished to get him to the level he was at, but also that he felt that Rubin was a shadow of his former self who coasted by on his reputation and used it to justify charging jaw-dropping amounts of money, and furthermore vowed to never work with him on anything ever again.

    The Invisible Producer 

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 prefers to be this by default, even to the point of refusing to accept royalties from records he works on (most famously during the production of Surfer Rosa by The Pixies and In Utero by Nirvana), considering the act to be insulting to the band he worked with. Apparently, because he favors "live" recording over the layers of multi-tracking that most producers prefer, Albini has to spend an age setting up the microphones just so, but 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, he absolutely refuses to allow himself to be listed as a "producer", instead preferring the title of "engineer" or saying the album was "engineered/recorded by". Also, he despises digital audio formats and recording systems with a passion, to the point of referring to CD's as "the rich man's eight-track tape" and refusing to use the Pro Tools installed in his studio.
  • Mick Jones for The Libertines (also qualifies as Artist As Producer).
  • Glyn Johns. Differs from most examples in that he was noted for discouraging wasted time in the studio (as the Eagles and Eric Clapton can both attest to).
  • Andy Johns (Glyn's younger brother)
  • Ethan Johns (Glyn's son.)
  • Bob Johnston. With all of Dylan's late 60s albums and Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison on his resume, you certainly can't argue with his approach. He once wrote that if Cash had wanted to record a live album on the Moon, he would've gotten everything set up.
  • Eddie Kramer
  • 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 have confirmed that he is brilliant at organization (getting the studios booked, keeping it within budget) but that his influence on the actual music is minimal.
  • Rick Rubin is famous for largely leaving bands to their own devices instead of taking an active role. This is part of the reason why Corey Taylor regrets having worked with him on Vol. 3; by his own admission, Slipknot was mired in dysfunction at the time and really needed a producer who could give them a good kick in the ass and unite them, and Rubin's extremely laissez-faire approach was the absolute last thing that they needed from a producer at the time.
  • Andy Warhol for The Velvet Underground's debut The Velvet Underground & Nico. 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.
  • Speaking of Wilson, he also produced Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home, The Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat, Frank Zappa's Freak Out, "The Sound of Silence", and other masterpieces. Many of the artists who worked with him have noted that he basically just signed off on whatever they wanted to do because he trusted their instincts. He did, however, contribute massively to the popularity of Folk Rock (Dylan had already recorded "Like a Rolling Stone", which Wilson also produced) by overdubbing electric guitars, bass, and drums to the original acoustic version of "The Sound of Silence", which became an immediate hit and served as Trope Codifier for the genre. Zappa praised Wilson throughout his career for the fact that he "stuck his neck out for us" and deflected Executive Meddling to allow the Mothers of Invention practically free rein on Freak Out!, and letting their debut be an unprecedented double album.

    The George Martin 

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, and which the band (mostly John Lennon) initially wanted to record without any producer.
  • Brown Bannister, who has produced or co-produced all of Amy Grant's Christian albums.
  • Bill Maxwell produced all of Keith Green's Christian recordings.
  • Nigel Godrich, who has been with Radiohead since the My Iron Lung EP (1994), although he was not actually the main producer of one of their albums until OK Computer three years later.
  • Rick Rubin, who had been with the Red Hot Chili Peppers since 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magik, producing all but one of their albums since thennote . He has also produced all of System of a Down's 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 from The Unforgettable Fire to No Line On The Horizon, 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 from 1994 to 2016, the only exceptions being 2000's Warning (produced by the band with Cavallo serving as executive producer, i.e. providing the money) and 2009's 21st Century Breakdown (produced by the band and Butch Vig).
  • Pierre Marchand, with Sarah McLachlan since 1994.
  • Frank Peterson, the Martin for Sarah Brightman.
  • Fictional example 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 St.. 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.
    • He has also had a hand in producing every album by Mercury Rev (for whom he used to play bass), continuing even after he left the band in 2004. As above, he's always credited along with at least one other band member, but has received top billing since 1998's Deserter's Songs.
  • 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.
  • Tony Brown, who was a pianist for Elvis Presley, then a member of Emmylou Harris' and Rodney Crowell's road bands, turned to production in the late 80s and it has been his calling ever since. He produced all of Vince Gill's albums from 1989-2000, and all of George Strait's albums between the Pure Country soundtrack in 1992 and Love Is Everything 20 years later.
  • Dwight Yoakam worked with producer/guitarist Pete Anderson from his 1986 debut Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc. until Population Me in 2003. Anderson also played lead guitar on all of those albums.
  • Alan Jackson has worked with producer Keith Stegall on all but one album (his 2006 New Sound Album Like Red on a Rose). Scott Hendricks co-produced the first two albums and one song on the third, while 2013's The Bluegrass Album features his nephew Adam Wright as a co-producer.
  • Patty Loveless has been produced by her husband, Emory Gordy Jr., for all but two albums. He and Tony Brown co-produced the first two, then Brown produced her third and fourth by himself before Gordy returned permanently (with assistance from Justin Niebank on 2005's Dreaming My Dreams). Gordy also played bass guitar on most 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. He's often referred to as "The Sixth Moody" by fans.
  • 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 instead promoted engineer Bruce Botnick (who had engineered all of their albums) to the position 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. Katz and Nichols also worked on Donald Fagen's solo debut, The Nightfly.
  • All of Tim McGraw's material to date has been co-produced by Byron Gallimore except for his little-known debut single "What Room was the Holiday In", which was produced by Doug Johnson instead. Initially, James Stroud co-produced with Gallimore; McGraw joined as co-producer starting with Everywhere in 1997, and Stroud left after 2001's Set This Circus Down. McGraw's road band guitarist Darran Smith co-produced from Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors (2002) until Emotional Traffic (2012), with McGraw and Gallimore as the only producers ever since.
  • 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. The only exception has been a cover of Dwight Yoakam's "Wild Ride" on 2007's Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates, which featured Joe Walsh on lead guitar and co-production.
  • Almost all of Garth Brooks' albums have been produced by Allen Reynolds. The first one was the In the Life of Chris Gaines album, produced by Don Was. After Reynolds retired in the mid-2000s, his longtime sound engineer Mark Miller (not the same person as the lead singer of Sawyer Brown) took over as producer.
  • Keith Urban worked with Dann Huff from 2002's Golden Road until 2013's Fuse, which included a different producer on nearly every track (including Huff on the single "Somewhere in My Car" plus a bonus track).
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter co-produced all of her albums with John Jennings from her little-known 1987 debut Hometown Girl through Time* Sex* Love* in 2001. The former included one track co-produced by Steve Buckingham instead, while the latter had Blake Chancey as a third producer.
  • Brad Paisley worked with producer Frank Rogers from his 1999 debut to 2012. Paisley notably refused to co-produce (something that many artists do), although he still abandoned Rogers in favor of self-production on 2012's Wheelhouse, and co-production with Luke Wooten starting with 2014's Moonshine in the Trunk.
  • From 1996 to 2013, all of Gary Allan's material was produced by Mark Wright, albeit with at least one helping hand on the first four discs (songwriter Byron Hill on the first three, then Tony Brown on his third and fourth). Allan co-produced with Wright on his fifth through seventh albums, and Mark Droman (an engineer who frequently co-produces with Wright) joined on his eighth, Get Off on the Pain. 2013's Set You Free broke from the pack, with Jay Joyce on five tracks, Droman on four, and Wright on only three.
  • With a handful of exceptions, Felton Jarvis produced or co-produced most of Elvis Presley's late 60s material, and in 1970 he was officially hired as Elvis's exclusive producer, a job he held until Elvis died.
  • With a career spanning from the late 1970s to The New '10s, Randy Travis was produced by Kyle Lehning for all but four albums: his little-known 1978 debut under his real name of Randy Traywick (produced by Joe Stampley); Wind in the Wire, a 1992 album done as a side project for a TV series (produced by Steve Gibson); and his first two albums after switching from Warner Bros. to DreamWorks Records in 1998: You and You Alone and A Man Ain't Made of Stone (produced by Byron Gallimore and James Stroud).
    • He's also had a couple stray tracks by different producers: his Warner Bros. debut "On the Other Hand" was co-produced by Keith Stegall, who declined any further production roles at the time as he wanted to focus on his own singing career (which imploded, thus leading to Stegall's long-running role as Alan Jackson's producer), and a cover of Brook Benton's "It's Just a Matter of Time", which was produced by Richard Perry for a compilation called Rock, Rhythm & Blues and included on one of Randy's albums because he liked how it sounded.
  • The Oak Ridge Boys were produced by Ron Chancey for most of their hit-making years, spanning from the late 70s to the mid-late 80s.
  • All of John Conlee's material dating back to his Breakthrough Hit "Rose Colored Glasses" in 1978 has been produced by Bud Logan.
  • Jason Aldean has only ever been produced by Michael Knox. Before Aldean's debut single in 2005, Knox had only one other production credit way back in 1998.
  • From his third album onward, Cledus T. Judd was produced by his frequent co-writer, Chris Clark, although 2013's Parodyziac!! had a couple of tracks co-produced by Rex Paul Schnelle instead.
  • Carrie Underwood has been produced by Mark Bright from 2004-2014, all except her American Idol coronation single "Inside Your Heaven", a few tracks on her debut album that were produced by Dann Huff instead, and a handful of guest appearances.
  • The Judds had only one producer, Brent Maher, in a career spanning 1984-1991. After Wynonna Judd broke from the duo, Maher also produced most of her fourth studio album, 1997's The Other Side, as well as all of her releases since her 2006 Christmas album.
  • Diamond Rio has been produced by Michael Clute since their third album, 1994's Love a Little Stronger. From the next album onward, they began co-producing.
  • Except for a few instances, all of Girls Aloud's albums have been written and produced by Xenomania, a team headed up by producer Brian Higgins, lyricist Miranda Cooper, and their various helpers. Higgins is also one of the producers behind Cher's legendary comeback song "Believe".
  • In combination with being the DIY Producer (q.v.), Jimmy Page was responsible for all nine Led Zeppelin albums.
  • All of Rodney Atkins' material except for his very little known 1997 debut "In a Heartbeat" has been produced by songwriter Ted Hewitt, who has almost never produced for anyone else.
  • Eric Church has never had any producer except for Jay Joyce.
  • Tom Collins produced Ronnie Milsap from Where My Heart Is in 1973 through Stranger Things Have Happened in 1989.
  • Though she's since brought additional producers into her fold, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, aka Flyte Tyme, have been Janet Jackson's main producers since 1986's Control, with 2008's Discipline being her only post-Control album they didn't contribute to.
  • Quincy Jones had worked with Michael Jackson for nearly a full decade, from the soundtrack of The Wiz (1978) to Bad (1987). When Jones and Jackson mutually ended their relationship after Bad Jackson hired Teddy Riley, who worked with him from Dangerous (1991) to Invincible (2001), and also remixed some tracks on Jackson's first posthumous release, Michael.

    The Helping Hand Producer 

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 Kilmister, 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 occurred.


  • Vic Maile for Motörhead, 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, The Stone Roses 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 among her most critically acclaimed.
  • Tony Visconti for David Bowie. The albums he recorded with David Bowie, including Low, "Heroes", Lodger, and Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), are among the most critically acclaimed of Bowie's career. Following his split with Visconti in the '80s, Bowie produced Let's Dance (his biggest commercial hit, but considered by many to be too 'polished' to be a proper Bowie album), the derided Tonight and Never Let Me Down, and the divisive Tin Machine duology. While Bowie eventually made a critical and commercial comeback in the '90s, his renewed association with Visconti in the 21st century produced, among other things, 2013's well-regarded The Next Day and Bowie's swan song .
  • 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 dilapidated 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 was 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 seemed to lose focus after ditching original producer 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 (1994's In Pictures), then Don Cook for everything afterward.
  • Going the opposite way, Brooks & Dunn's fortunes were failing with their 1999 dud Tight Rope. It was their last album with original producer Don Cook and their only album with Byron Gallimore (who produced all three singles from it). Their two most-acclaimed albums, 2001's Steers & Stripes (which included their biggest hit, "Ain't Nothing 'bout You") and 2003's Red Dirt Road, were praised for the more energetic and muscular production of Mark Wright. They switched again to Tony Brown on Hillbilly Deluxe (2005), who moved them more or less back to where they were on the early Cook-produced albums.
  • Little Big Town acknowledged on a Great American Country special that they did not find their sound until they began working with Wayne Kirkpatrick, who gave them a sound, not unlike a grittier, more countrified Fleetwood Mac. Interestingly, they abandoned him in favor of the eclectic Jay Joyce starting with 2012's Tornado.
  • 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, which pretty much had him as an expy of then-labelmate Tim McGraw, Hewitt later helped find Atkins' strength as a baseball cap-wearing everyman who sings positive songs that often centralize on the family starting with If You're Going Through Hell.
  • John Simon produced The Band's first two albums; coincidentally or not, those are also their two most popular and acclaimed releases by a large measure.
  • When The Monkees won the right to control their own music they brought in former Modern Folk Quartet member Chip Douglas as producer. His laid-back, patient style was perfect for a group who was basically learning on the job. Fan consensus is that the two albums he produced (Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.) are among their best.
  • Jake Owen's most commercially successful are the two on which Joey Moi (best known for his work with Nickelback) produced: Barefoot Blue Jean Night (2011) and Days of Gold (2013).
  • Cannibal Corpse worked with Erik Rutan from Kill to Torture before they decided to change it up with Mark Lewis for 2014's A Skeletal Domain. They returned to Rutan for 2017's Red Before Black, and statements from band members indicate that they felt that Lewis' crisp, polished production style was not the best fit for them and that Rutan was better suited to bringing out the aggression and dirt that they wanted, in addition to being a very good friend of theirs who understood them in and out.
  • George Martin also falls under this category, as well as his own. Although undeniably talented, none of the Beatles had any formal education in music. Martin helped the Beatles expand their sound beyond the guitars-keyboards-drums of their beginning, such as writing the string quartet for "Eleanor Rigby" the trumpet part in "Penny Lane", and the brass band in "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
  • Scott Litt oversaw the most critically and commercially successful period of R.E.M.'s career, helping them become one of the biggest bands in the world during 1987-1996. The music the band put out after his departure, meanwhile, was far more contested and far less successful (not helped by the concurrent retirement of drummer and co-writer Bill Berry) until they started working with producer Jacknife Lee in 2007, whose working relationship with the band was comparable to Litt's.
  • Steve Nye handled production work on Japan's final album, Tin Drumnote , and frontman David Sylvian's first three solo albums, Brilliant Trees, Gone to Earth, and Secrets of the Beehive. In doing so, he brought Sylvian some of his biggest critical and commercial successes both with and without Japan, establishing him as a leading figure in '80s art pop. Sylvian's solo material without Nye, meanwhile, sees much less publicity and is more divisive among fans, especially following a Genre Shift to improvisational ambient music in the 21st century.
  • Quincy Jones produced all of Michael Jackson's material as a solo artist from his contributions to The Wiz in 1978 to Bad in 1987, resulting in three critically and commercially successful albums that made Jackson the biggest artist of the 1980s. After Bad, Jackson ended his working relationship with Jones and gained full creative control with his subsequent work, which was still commercially successful, but earned increasingly mixed responses.

    The DIY 

The DIY occurs when a band or artist decides to produce their albums themselves to avoid interference. Either that, or they have a creative vision that they couldn't express properly before.


  • Electronic music, due to its basis in sound generated from scratch, has each musician working as their own producer. In the pop landscape of the 2000s, many electronic musicians are even asked to produce for other artists.
  • The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, at least in their most commercially and critically successful years.
    • Although the nominal producer on their earliest records was Nick Venet, by most accounts his role was limited to telling the engineer to do whatever Brian Wilson wanted.
  • The Beach Boys' early '60s surf-pop rivals, Jan and Dean, also had a DIY producer/arranger in Jan Berry.
  • Aaron Carter has begun co-producing his own records since his 2017 EP Love.
  • 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, not the engineer.
  • Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks have produced and recorded all their albums since 1988's Interior Design by themselves.
  • Trent Reznor, the first (and for a long time, only) permanent member of Nine Inch Nails. There's also the frequent collaborator Atticus Ross, who had worked on all NIN releases since 2005's With Teeth before he was officially inducted as the second permanent member in 2016.
  • All of Chic's releases from 1977 to their 1983 breakup were produced by bassist Bernard Edwards and guitarist Nile Rodgers. Each album since then has featured Rodgers either as producer or co-producer.
  • 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.
  • My Bloody Valentine were credited as producers for every album/EP except Loveless, which credits bandmembers Kevin Shields and Colm Ó Cíosóig (the latter purely for the interlude "Touched").
  • Primus.
  • The Velvet Underground started self-producing with 1969's eponymous album, The Velvet Underground, after one album (allegedly) produced by Andy Warhol (The Velvet Underground & Nico) and one with Tom Wilson (White Light/White Heat).
  • Queen, alone (1976-1977) or in collaboration with three other producers: Roy Thomas Baker (1973-1975, 1978), Mack (1980-1986) and David Richards (1986-1995).
  • 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' "Glimmer Twins" (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) 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, who produced their album Songs About Fucking.
  • 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, since her third album, Never For Ever.
  • The Tea Party.
  • Later Rush albums give the band, or at least guitarist Alex Lifeson, a producer co-credit.
  • Later Hot Hot Heat albums were 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 Hybrid Theory, which was solely produced by Don Gilmore, and Dead by Sunrise's only album Out of Ashes. Meanwhile, Meteora credits both Gilmore and the band themselves as co-producers.
  • 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 (Album).
  • 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 Records, 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). Keith produced with Lari White on 2006's White Trash with Money, and with a couple of exceptions, has produced by himself ever since. He also co-produced for Trailer Choir, Carter's Chord, and Krystal Keith, all of whom recorded on the formerly Keith-owned Show Dog-Universal Music (and the last of whom is Keith's daughter).
  • Garbage, which isn't surprising for a band whose members were already experienced producers (though Bleed Like Me has an extra producer as they were burnt out when they started recording).
  • Kanye West is the Trope Maker of this for hip-hop, 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.
    • Kanye opened a door for "producer/rappers" and made them appealing to record-labels (fewer production costs), and as a result, there are now the likes of J. Cole and Big K.R.I.T. in or on the outskirts of the mainstream.
    • Before Kanye, someone taught Eminem how to produce, and as a result, he co-produced the vast majority of The Eminem Show.
    • Dr. Dre is not really an example, simply because Dre didn't write any of his raps, and was first and foremost a record producer. A number of well-known rappers have written raps for Dre, including Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Royce da 5'9', Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z (famously on "Still D.R.E.").
  • Electric Light Orchestra's albums are either produced or co-produced by Jeff Lynne.
  • As mentioned above, Brad Paisley abandoned Frank Rogers, who'd produced him since 1999, in favor of self-production on 2013's Wheelhouse. That album has a far more bombastic style than before, which has been met with mixed results. What makes this more interesting is that, unlike most artists, Paisley refused to co-produce.
  • Clint Black was produced by James Stroud for the entire first decade of his career. Mark Wright co-produced the first album, and Clint co-produced from his third album onward. Starting with D'Lectrified in 1999, he abandoned Stroud and produced everything by himself. He also produced Nashville Star winner Buddy Jewell's debut.
  • Sloan tends to co-produce most of their albums.
  • The Yardbirds' bassist, Paul Samwell-Smith, produced some of their '60s sessions (most notably their Roger the Engineer album). After the group's breakup, he went on to become a successful producer for such artists as Cat Stevens, Jethro Tull, and Carly Simon.
  • Manny Charlton helmed the releases of Nazareth between Hair of the Dog and No Mean City. Charlton also co-produced the album Rampant, which came right before Hair of the Dog, with Roger Glover.
  • Cat Stevens was the producer of his 1973 album Foreigner and helmed every release from there to his final album as Cat Stevens, Back to Earth, both collectively with others (Paul Samwell-Smith on Buddha and the Chocolate Box and Back to Earth and Dave Kershenbaum on Izitso) and individually (the only other release as such being Numbers).
  • Nick Jameson produced two albums for Foghat, Rock and Roll Outlaws and Fool for the City. He played bass as an actual member of Foghat on the songs from the latter, including "Slow Ride".
  • Roger Boyd of Head East produced the group's debut album, Flat as a Pancake.
  • Sleigh Bells has Derek E. Miller who plays all instruments, writes all the songs, and produces the albums himself (the only other member is Alexis Krauss, who only sings).
  • Country/southern rock band The Kentucky Headhunters has always self-produced their albums.
  • Skip Spence's Oar could either be considered this or an extreme case of "invisible producer". While Skip is credited with producing the album himself, he did start out by consulting with producer David Rubinson... Who sent Skip to a recording studio, gave the recording engineer the instruction to keep the tapes running at all times, and didn't get involved in the recording process beyond that. Skip was under the impression that he was recording a demo, and that David would have studio musicians add overdubs to the basic drum, bass, guitar, and vocal tracks Skip had performed all by himself; instead David mixed the tracks as they were and sent it to the label for release.
  • After falling out with Martin Hannett, New Order shifted to self-producing their albums starting with their second one, Power, Corruption & Lies, widely regarded as their masterpiece. Their albums would continue to be self-produced for the remainder of the '80s, with 1993's Republic marking a switch back to enlisting help from outside producers.
  • Tame Impala's Kevin Parker, who writes, produces, and plays all instrument's on his own material.
  • Teddy Riley produced or co-produced everything recorded for his groups Guy and Blackstreet.
  • Eurythmics' Dave Stewart produced all their albums and branched out into producing for other artists.

    The One or More Trick Pony 

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, or is associated with a certain genre.


  • Nigel Godrich - ethereal space-rock (Radiohead, Pavement, R.E.M., Beck etc.).
  • Mark Ronson - more trumpets (Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, etc.).
  • Jackknife Lee - fuzzy ballad rock (U2, Kasabian, Bloc Party, etc.).
  • Bill Laswell - Genre-Busting fusion with a recurring Production Posse of session musicians. 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 and Post-Rock ensemble Godspeed You! Black Emperor 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).
  • Nick Lowe developed a clean, unpretentious power pop sound ("bash it out, we'll tart it up later") in the late '70s which helped launch the careers of, among others, Elvis Costello and the Pretenders.
  • 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 Super Creeps)), 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 by Tori Amos led to him being hired quite frequently by other 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", Céline Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now").
  • 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: Beastie Boys (Licensed to Ill), Run–D.M.C., 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), AC/DC (Ballbreaker), Neil Diamond (12 Songs), Justin Timberlake and Weezer. On a more negative note, he is also notorious for Loudness Warring his recent releases to an egregious extent.
  • Bob Ezrin - alternately grandiose and arty, often with brass and string arrangements (Pink Floyd's The Wall, Lou Reed's Berlin, Peter Gabriel's Car) 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-Grunge 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
  • David Foster - Bombastic piano and orchestral-driven power ballads.
  • The Neptunes - dance-pop/rap music with an 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 - Mostly death metal, though he does other genres from time to time. Especially known for great guitar tone and an approach that can be anal and perfectionist at some times and laissez-faire at others, though he also has major Loudness War issues. Also known for fairly minimal editing to the actual takes and a refusal to quantize drums, which is a rarity in death metal - he just makes people redo bad takes instead of cleaning them up.
  • Giorgio Moroder - a pioneer of the 'computer disco' sound in the 1970s, like with Donna Summer's I Remember Yesterday (1977) and Bad Girls (1979) and subsequently producing many New Wave, hi-NRG and rock artists in the 1980s. Heavy emphasis on analog synthesizers and four-on-the-floor drum machine rhythms.
  • Bruce Fairbairn - overly bombastic, occasionally horn- and synth-laden rock (Aerosmith, Yes, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Loverboy).
  • Red One - booming drums, grungey sawtooth synth bass overlaid with sweet-sounding synth melodies.
  • Dann Huff — Slick, often bombastic mainstream country-pop with loads 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, and often plays on whatever he produces.)
    • One of his favorite tricks with Rascal Flatts, whom he produced from 2005 to 2013, is to make the song start off really soft with just piano, then keep building and building until the song is almost ridiculously loud on the final chorus, before cooling back off to just piano again. This power balladry often forced lead singer Gary LeVox, who already has an extremely nasal tenor voice, to resort to really whiny, warbly histrionics just to be heard over the noise.
    • Some of his production on The Band Perry's Pioneer is noticeably more organic than Huff usually is, particularly "Better Dig Two".
    • Huff made a rare excursion outside country-pop when he produced Megadeth's Cryptic Writings and Risk, but he still brought a slicker, more mainstream-friendly sound to those albums compared to Megadeth's previous output. Mustaine later admitted that he made a mistake in allowing Huff and his manager Bud Prager more creative control over Risk, blaming them for its terrible reception.
    • Kelly Clarkson's "Don't Rush" is also a major exception, with none of Huff's usual bombast. It's a very laid-back song that sounds like an early 80s country-pop tune.
  • Jay Joyce uses lots of funky acoustic guitar riffs, usually in really low tunings like Drop C, and heavy electric guitar. He also loves using drum loops and nonstandard instrumentation (for instance, "Homeboy" by Eric Church has harps on it), and loves vocal filters (e.g. Church's "Creepin'" or Little Big Town's "Pontoon"), and his production has a very "raw", unpolished feel throughout. However, he does know when to tone it down, such as Thomas Rhett's "Beer with Jesus" or Church's "Like Jesus Does".
  • Keith Stegall has been Alan Jackson's producer 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 and Jamie O'Neal.
  • 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, Darius Rucker, and Scotty McCreery (although unusually for him, some of Rucker's work falls under Loudness War). On the other hand, his production for Brad Paisley usually tended to be a little heavier and more guitar-driven (a logical choice, since Paisley is a guitarist).
  • Paul Worley (no relation to Darryl) 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 that come and go throughout the song.
  • Michael Knox seems to excel in a raw, overdriven, Southern rock-influenced sound that's less brickwalled than most but isn't as "quirky" as Jay Joyce. 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. His biggest success is Katy Perry, but his sound is so distinctive that a number of people confused Jessie J for Perry on first hearing simply because they both work with him. Is also the most modern example of a Producer From Hell after his protracted court case for allegedly raping Kesha on multiple occasions and his part in Sony refusing to let her out of her recording contract on his label.
  • Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift) has an affinity for more acoustic-driven arrangements. If any electric guitar is used at all, it's usually clean. The only exceptions are the pop mixes of Swift's songs, which are given heavy backbeats, and the heavy electric guitar on the pop mix of The Band Perry's "If I Die Young". However, as of about 2012, he's developed a much more layered, overdub-heavy style with lots of polish, as seen on the tracks he produced on Keith Urban's Fuse, as well as Lady Antebellum's output from "Compass" onward.
  • Frank Liddell seems to have two modes: "reasonable" and "brick-walled into total noise". It's hard to believe that Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" (nothing but vocals and acoustic guitar) and "Only Prettier" (very loud and brickwalled) had the same man behind the boards. One of his favorite tricks is making the guitars super-loud but hyper-compressing them into a loud, trebly, tinny mess (good example: "Let It Rain" by David Nail).
    • Some of it also comes from his occasional production partner Mike Wrucke, who does the same thing to albums by the Eli Young Band — one track sounds good, another is obscenely brick-walled.
  • Billy Sherrill: sophisticated, dramatic music mixing traditional country instruments with strings and other embellishments, fronted by a distinctively-voiced singer (Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Charlie Rich).
  • James William Guercio: horn-dominated hybrids of jazz and rock (Chicago's first 11 albums; Blood, Sweat & Tears; The Buckinghams).
  • Mark Bright: Slick country-pop, dating back to his work with Blackhawk in the mid-late 90s. It carried Rascal Flatts for their first few albums and is now seen on Carrie Underwood's work. Basically "Dann Huff if he backed off on the guitars a little".
  • Buddy Cannon seems to have two modes. The first is neotraditionalist fiddle-and-steel country, a style that he's kept since the early 90s when he worked with the likes of Sammy Kershaw and George Jones, and on through the likes of Chris Young and Ashton Shepherd. The other is "Kenny Chesney style", which has evolved from the same neotraditionalism, to a snare drum and guitar-heavy arena rock sound (e.g. "Big Star", "Young"), to a combination of tropical influences ("Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven") and somber, spare, acoustic numbers with little more than acoustic guitar and organ ("You and Tequila", "El Cerrito Place").
  • Andy Sneap specializes in heavy metal and has a known penchant for a very specific guitar sound that heavily pushes low-mids.
  • Mark Wright, a Country Music producer, is known for really "heavy" instrumentation with lots of up-front guitar and drums. His production style helped re-energize Brooks & Dunn on their 2001 comeback album Steers & Stripes. Since about 2000, he's also favored a huge amount of instrumentation with big walls of backing vocals and often odd instrument choices, such as a mandolin distorted through an amplifier. (Lee Ann Womack specifically sought out Wright on her first albums for his "fat" production.) Wright is also a fan of vocal processing: he used lots of Auto-Tune on Joe Nichols' Old Things New and has repeatedly used filters on Gary Allan's voice.
  • Rap/hip-hop producer DJ Mustard, who has worked with everyone from Rihanna to Kanye West is known for his up-tempo club hits.
  • Dave Cobb seems to favor stripped-down, ballad-heavy production styles and primarily works for alt-country artists such as Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, or Chris Stapleton. Even when he works with a more mainstream artist (e.g. Zac Brown Band) the sound is still very minimalistic.
  • Stephen Hague - Synth-Pop and early British Alternative Rock, in the Pre-Nirvana era when the two were synonymous. He's best known for working with Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Erasure, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Public Image Ltd., and Blur.
  • As one of the creators of New Jack Swing, this was a given for Teddy Riley for about a decade, though he was able to evolve his style with the times.
  • Likewise, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis are largely known for their unique style of R&B that gradually morphed into New Jack Swing, though they could produce just about any genre of music, from rock to house.

    Multiple Producers 

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, disorganized and schizophrenic mess.


  • Almost every Hip-Hop album since sometime in the mid-nineties, with Nas' Illmatic usually being cited as the starting point of this trend. 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. Guthrie has handled the band's remastering projects since the '90s.
  • All of U2's albums since 1984 have been produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, but in The '90s 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-52s' 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. Not really surprising, considering both Rodgers' and Was' backgrounds as performers, with Rodgers serving as lead guitarist for the mainstream disco pop band, Chic, and Was serving as bassist for the more eclectic rock group, Was (Not Was).
  • Country Music producers Buddy Cannon and Norro Wilson frequently co-produced in The '90s, most notably for Kenny Chesney. From about 2003 onward, Wilson has been largely retired, while Cannon has focused almost all of his production efforts on Chesney.
  • Jason Aldean's road band (which consists of Tully Kennedy, Kurt Allison, David Fanning, and Rich Redmond) produces for labelmates Thompson Square, James Wesley, and Parmalee under the name New Voice Entertainment. Fanning also records on the same label as a solo artist.
  • Keith Urban's Fuse and Ripcord both have multiple producers instead of just longtime producer Dann Huff, showing Urban's desire to introduce more variety to his sound.

    The Man in the Middle 

What's my job as a producer? To produce an album. I'm not getting paid to be Layne Staley's friend.
Dave Jerden, about working with Alice in Chains.

The Man in the Middle is the exact opposite of the Acrimonious Producer: this time around, the band members 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 from More to The Wall (either as 'Pink Floyd' or David Gilmour & Roger Waters)note , various producers such as Chris Thomas (The Dark Side of the Moon) and Bob Ezrin (The Wall) were brought in to mediate between Gilmour and Waters' different visions of the music. Thomas largely accomplished this goal by skillfully reaching a sonic middle ground that satisfied both Gilmour and Waters, while co-producer James Guthrie described Ezrin as being more forceful in bridging the gap between the two, who at that point had a soured relationship after Waters' I Am the Band trip starting with Wish You Were Here.
  • Gary Usher produced three albums for The Byrds and found himself in this role for the chaotic The Notorious Byrd Brothers sessions, during which David Crosby and Michael Clarke were fired and ex-member Gene Clark rejoined the group but abruptly quit after a few weeks. A bonus track on a later CD reissue of the album captures a vicious in-studio argument between Crosby and Clarke with Usher trying to act as peacemaker. To his credit, it's usually considered their best album.
  • Johnny Sandlin for Win, Lose or Draw by the The Allman Brothers Band. Their previous album Brothers And Sisters was going to be a Tough Act to Follow even if things were going well for the band. But in this case, drugs, egos, personality clashes, and more drugs made things a complete mess. Then add to the mix Gregg Allman leaving the band's Georgia home base for Los Angeles and starting a high-profile relationship with Cher. Band members started avoiding being in the studio at the same time, forcing a huge amount of overdubs to finish the album. It sold well upon release but was savaged by critics and the band hated it enough that they wouldn't record another album together for four years.
    Sandlin: You could just walk into the studio and feel all this tension. There might as well have been an electric sign warning you: "Things could get rough in here."
  • While recording Labcabincalifornia, The Pharcyde's infighting was at its worst, and J Dilla, the album's main producer, was caught in the middle, and frequently had to break up fights between group members.

    Artist as Producer and vice versa 

Artist as Producer/Producer as Artist. Two sides of the same coin. Sometimes, an established artist will be sought out by up-and-coming artists hoping that whatever magic made the established artist a star will rub off 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 established 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;

  • Munetaka Higuchi.
  • Yoshiki Hayashi. See "Acrimonious Producer" above.
  • Todd Rundgren. See "Acrimonious Producer" above.
  • Paul Samwell-Smith, following the breakup of The Yardbirds. See "DIY Producer" above.
  • 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, Devo, 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 (The Idiot, Lust for Life) and Lou Reed (Transformer).
  • From about 1979 through the late 1980s, Elvis Costello carved out a decent little career as a producer, most famously for albums by The Pogues (Rum, Sodomy & The Lash), Squeeze (East Side Story) and The Specials (The Specials). He also produced singles for Mental As Anything, Clive Langer & The Boxes, Robert Wyatt, The Bluebells, and Nick Lowe (who had himself produced Costello's first five albums.) Costello was at one point considered to produce They Might Be Giants' breakthrough Flood, but the Johns hired his former producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley instead. Costello was also almost brought in to produce their follow-up Apollo 18 but the Johns opted to self-produce instead.
  • Nick Lowe himself also qualifies, becoming the in-house producer for Stiff Records, producing for The Damned and Elvis Costello while recording and releasing his own music. Other artists he has produced for include Pretenders, Graham Parker, and Dr. Feelgood, among others.
  • Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers went on to a successful career as a producer in the 1980s, producing Diana by Diana Ross, Like a Virgin by Madonna, Let's Dance by David Bowie, among others, after the band broke up.
  • Trevor Horn started out as the lead singer of The Buggles, then Yes, before carving a niche for himself as a prolific producer for artists such as Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Mike Oldfield, Grace Jones, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney, and Seal (among many, many others).
  • Edwyn Collins: Having had hits with the group Orange Juice and a successful solo career, he went on to produce for Terrorvision, The Proclaimers and The Cribs.
  • As mentioned above, Tim McGraw produced most of Jo Dee Messina's albums with Byron Gallimore; the two also produced The Clark Family Experience, Lori McKenna, and Halfway to Hazard. The former was on Curb as well, while the latter two were on StyleSonic, a label that McGraw and Gallimore own as a side project.
  • As mentioned above, Tony Brown was a prolific piano/keyboard player for several artists before becoming a producer at the end of The '80s.
  • Dann Huff was a member of the Christian rock band White Heart, and later the rock band Giant. He spent most of the late 1980s through mid-1990s as a session guitarist, primarily in country music. By the end of the 1990s, he started working as a producer, starting with a few small country acts before getting his big production break on Faith Hill's Faith album. Ever since, Huff has focused more on production, and generally plays guitar only on albums that he produced.
  • Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn co-produced Wade Hayes' 2001 album Highways & Heartaches. Another producer on this album was Terry McBride, formerly Lead Bassist of McBride & the Ride and a then-member of Brooks & Dunn's road band.
  • Garth Brooks produced Highways & Dance Halls, the third album by his friend (and former guitarist) Ty England.
  • Singer-songwriter Paul Overstreetnote  made his production debut in 2012, collaborating with Tony Brown on songs by Kristen Kelly.
  • The Reverend Horton Heat had three different albums produced by people primarily known as musicians: The Full-Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat was produced by Butthole Surfers vocalist Gibby Haynes, Spend a Night in the Box was produced by Butthole Surfers guitarist Paul Leary, and Liquor In The Front was produced by Ministry's Al Jourgensen.
    • Paul Leary has done a fair share of producing or mixing in general, starting in the mid-90's: a few of the better-known acts he's produced are Sublime, Meat Puppets, and Daniel Johnston.
  • Electric Light Orchestra's Jeff Lynne has found a second career of producing other musicians' albums as a result of his work with ELO and The Traveling Wilburys. He produced his Wilburys bandmate Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever (Petty credits him for being the main reason "Free Fallin'" was written, as he had brought the sequence of three chords into the studio and encouraged Petty to work it into a song), and became a Promoted Fanboy by working on The Beatles' "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" from The Beatles Anthology, having been chosen specifically because of the combination of his production expertise, his work with George Harrison on The Traveling Wilburys and Harrison's Cloud Nine, and the fact that he was a great fan of the Beatles.
  • The Cars' frontman and songwriter, Ric Ocasek, began producing records for other artists in the 1980s, including Bad Brains, Guided by Voices, Bad Religion, Suicide, Nada Surf, and most famously, Weezer.
  • Brett James is an interesting version, as his career path changed many times. He started out with an album on Arista Records in 1995, then put his career on hold to start a family and attend college. In the early 2000s, he turned down an invitation to join the band Sixwire and started writing songs for others. These cuts' success led to him re-signing with Arista and charting with two singles that never made it onto an album. Although the second phase of his singing career didn't pan out, songwriting was his bread and butter for many years. But after the hits stopped coming, he turned to producing for the likes of Mark Wills, Josh Gracin, Jessica Simpson, and Kip Moore.
  • Byron Gallimore was originally a singer who won a contest at a song festival. When his singing career didn't pan out, another producer (James Stroud) encouraged him to start producing as well. Gallimore went on to produce all of Tim McGraw's albums, with other notable production credits including Faith Hill (Tim's wife), Jessica Andrews, and Sugarland. He also collaborated with Stroud on several occasions.
  • Besides his work with The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson produced a few singles for outside artists during the '60s, although none of them enjoyed anything close to the commercial success the Beach Boys did. In 2003 Ace Records in the UK issued a compilation CD of these, cleverly titled Pet Projects.
  • Have you ever wondered how, exactly, Neil Diamond managed to get onstage with all those rock legends in The Last Waltz? The fact that The Band's Robbie Robertson had produced Diamond's Beautiful Noise album earlier that year might just possibly have had something to do with it.
  • In the last twenty years of pop music, electronic music producers (themselves artists, as they produce their own songs) have increasingly been tapped to produce songs for mainstream pop acts. Some examples include William Orbit for Madonna, Zedd for Lady Gaga, and Calvin Harris for a number of artists including Rihanna and Ellie Goulding.
  • Frank Zappa founded his own labels, "Bizarre", "Straight", "Barking Pumpkin",... to help musicians that wouldn't get a chance for release elsewhere. This included producing Outsider Music like Wild Man Fischer and Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica and Alice Cooper's debut album. He also produced an album for Grand Funk Railroad, despite the band being extremely popular at the time.
  • John Zorn's independent label Tzadik distributes his own music, but also produces countless experimental musicians, among which Boredoms are the most famous.
  • Jay DeMarcus, bassist and keyboardist of Rascal Flatts, has produced albums by James Otto (his brother-in-law), Chicago, and Kix Brooks among others.
  • Roger Glover of Deep Purple took the reins of three Nazareth albums, Razamanaz, Loud 'n' Proud, and Rampant. Glover produced the last of these with Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton.
  • The aforementioned Norro Wilson was originally a singer for Smash Records before becoming a producer.
  • As mentioned above, Jason Aldean's road band is also the production team New Voice Entertainment. One of the members, David Fanning, has also released singles on Broken Bow, the same label to which Aldean has signed.
  • Shane McAnally was originally a recording artist for Curb Records in 1999, for which he recorded one album and three singles. When this didn't pan out, he disappeared for a while and scored a few songwriting credits. These then paved the way for an equally fruitful career as a producer for Kacey Musgraves, Sam Hunt, Jake Owen, and Old Dominion.
  • Mac McAnally (no relation), a prolific songwriter, on and off singer ("Down the Road", "Back Where I Come From"), and member of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer band, has also produced for Buffett, Sawyer Brown, Restless Heart, and others.
  • In The '80s, Jeff Stevens fronted the band Jeff Stevens and the Bullets, which had a couple of minor chart entries. He later turned to songwriting, and made his production debut on Jerry Kilgore's Love Trip. He returned to production in 2007 when he started with Luke Bryan, and has worked with him ever since (although Mark Bright assisted on "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)", and Bryan produced the Farm Tour... Here's to the Farmer digital EP with songwriters Ashley Gorley and Dallas Davidson). His son Jody, formerly one-half of the duo Fast Ryde, produced (and played every instrument on) Cole Swindell's debut single "Chillin' It", and started co-producing Bryan with his dad starting with 2015's Kill the Lights.
  • Rick Derringer was the frontman of the group The McCoys and had his own solo career (most notable for the hit "Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo" and Hulk Hogan's WWF theme "Real American"); he also served as "Weird Al" Yankovic's producer until the UHF soundtrack, at which point Yankovic began self-producing.
  • Robert Ellis Orrall, best known for his 1983 pop hit "I Couldn't Say No" (with Carlene Carter) and his 1993 country hit "Boom! It Was Over", has produced albums for Taylor Swift and Love and Theft among others.
  • Greg Kurstin found moderate success with his alt-jazz band Geggy Tah in the late 90s before becoming an in-demand producer and songwriter for artists such as Lily Allen, Sia, Adele, Tegan & Sara, and The Shins.
  • Former Semisonic lead singer Dan Wilson went on to a highly successful songwriting and production career after the band split. His most notable credit is as the producer, co-writer and pianist for Adele's number one hit "Someone Like You".
  • John Feldmann, the lead singer and guitarist for punk band Goldfinger, has had a successful career as a producer since the 2000s, working with the likes of Good Charlotte, The Veronicas, Panic! at the Disco, 5 Seconds of Summer, blink-182 and Avril Lavigne.
  • Matt Bayles was the keyboardist for the indie rock band Minus the Bear until 2006 until he quit to focus on his production career. He's since produced albums for Mastodon and Cursive. He's also produced two albums for Minus the Bear following his departure.
  • Richard Bennett, a sideman for Neil Diamond and Mark Knopfler, has been an infrequent producer. In The '80s and The '90s, he co-produced several albums for Jo-El Sonnier, Marty Stuart, George Ducas, and Steve Earle.
  • Sawyer Brown lead singer Mark Miller has several production credits, including Bucky Covington and Casting Crowns.
  • Gary Barlow turned to writing songs and producing albums for other artists after being publicly humiliated and ostracized by the music industry due to his feud with Robbie Williams.
  • Tim McGraw and his above-mentioned co-producer Byron Gallimore produced for then-labelmate Jo Dee Messina from 1996 through 2006, except for her 2002 Christmas album. In addition, they produced the self-titled debut albums of The Clark Family Experience (2000) and Halfway to Hazard (2007), as well as Lori McKenna's Unglamorous (also 2007).
  • Travis Barker, having built a reputation since the 1990s as a highly proficient and highly prolific drummer in both blink-182 and as a session musician (to the point he often recieved "featuring" credits and released his own solo album in 2011), became a highly sought-out record producer in the 2020s, with his work with artists like Machine Gun Kelly (Tickets To My Downfall and Mainstream Sellout), Trippie Redd (Neon Shark vs Pegasus), Jxdn (Tell Me About Tomorrow), Lil Huddy (Teenage Heartbreak) and Avril Lavigne (Love Sux) being key in the genre's mainstream revival in The New '20s.
  • King Crimson's de-facto bandleader Robert Fripp produced a number of artists in between King Crimson projects since 1971. Among others, Fripp produced albums for Centipede, prior King Crimson collaborator Keith Tippett, Matching Mole, and the Roches. Most prominently, Fripp produced Peter Gabriel's Scratch and Daryl Hall's Sacred Songs as part of a Thematic Series alongside his debut solo album, Exposure.

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. Broudie admitted that he was very uncertain about beginning a career as a musician, and played all the instruments on the Lightning Seeds' first album - only after it was successful did he assemble a real band.
  • Garbage. All of the members apart from singer Shirley Manson were experienced producers and remixers before forming the band. Most notably, drummer Butch Vig produced Nirvana's Nevermind.
  • 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, a joint solo career with manager/songwriter Eric Woolfson).
  • Daniel Lanois was already a big name producer when he released the album Acadie in 1989. It was critically acclaimed and sold well enough to make the Billboard album charts. Since then he's released several more albums and also did some film soundtrack work alongside his production duties.
  • Jon Astley (no relation to Rick). In the middle of his prolific production career (most notably with The Who, being Pete Townshend's ex-brother-in-law, and Eric Clapton) he released two albums in the late 1980s and scored a couple of minor hits ("Jane's Getting Serious", "Put This Love To The Test".)
  • Norman Smith engineered all The Beatles recording sessions through Rubber Soul, then produced three of Pink Floyd's first four albums. Then in the early 1970s, he adopted the stage name Hurricane Smith and managed to have Top 10 hits in the UK and US.
  • Kanye West started out producing for various acts in Chicago before breaking it big with Jay-Z in the early 2000s. He still continues to produce for other artists after his career took off.
  • Will Putney was a longtime producer before starting Fit for an Autopsy in 2008, though his schedule means that he cannot play shows with them.
  • Lou Reizner actually started out as a singer but became a full-time producer in The '60s, best-known for producing Rod Stewart's first two albumsnote  and organizing the 1972 All-Star Cast performance of Tommy with the London Symphony Orchestra. In the middle of all that he released a self-titled 1970 album as a performer (he was in his mid-30s, which at the time was considered positively ancient for a Rock singer).
  • J. Cole, in addition to producing the vast majority of his own music, has also produced tracks for various other rappers, including Kendrick Lamar ("HiiiPower" and "The Jig is Up"), Mac Miller ("Hurt Feelings"), Cordae ("RNP") and Young Thug ("Mannequin Challenge").
  • John Simon produced quite a few landmark albums toward the end of The '60sBookends by Simon & Garfunkel, Cheap Thrills by Big Brother & The Holding Company, Leonard Cohen's debut album, and the first two albums by The Band. In the first part of The '70s he recorded two albums as a singer-songwriter-keyboardist that didn't do much business in America, but became cult favorites in Japan. Because of that, in The '90s he recorded three more albums aimed at the Japanese market, and did a couple more American albums after that.
  • David Andrew Sitek, the favored producer for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, helmed their debut Fever to Tell about a year before his own band TV on the Radio released their first album. He's maintained a busy producing schedule since, working with artists like Kelis, Our Lady Peace, and Scarlett Johansson(!)
  • Teddy Riley qualifies as both this, and as a DIY producer. He originally cut his teeth as a hip-hop producer, before migrating over to producing R&B, and formed Guy during his early R&B period. Since then, he's maintained a steady career as a songwriter and producer for other artists and his own groups.
  • J Dilla was (and still is) mainly known as a producer, and had it not been for label politics, he would've also been known as an artist much sooner than he would've liked.

A possibly unique example of both:

  • Keith Stegall. He was a solo singer-songwriter in the 80s and had a few cuts by other artists, most notably Dr. Hook's "Sexy Eyes" and Mickey Gilley's "Lonely Nights". Although he scored a Top 10 hit on his own with "Pretty Lady" in 1985, his singing career was never very successful. His first production credit was two tracks on Randy Travis' 1986 album Old 8×10, and by 1990, he largely stopped recording in favor of production, having had his breakout as Alan Jackson's producer. In 1996, Stegall made a one-time return to the other side of the mic as a side project for Mercury Nashville (where he was also head of A&R) before returning mainly to production, although he still had the occasional songwriting gig and owned the short-lived label Bigger Picture Music Group.