SOS takes you behind the scenes of the recording and production sessions of some of the most significant 'classic' tunes of the past 50 years. Best-selling author Richard Buskin weaves together technical and musical facts and anecdotes from the sessions to create an engaging series.

TOP 5: Subscriber Access Required

Peter Gabriel 'Sledgehammer'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Peter Gabriel 'Sledgehammer'

When Peter Gabriel made the transition from prog to pop with 'Sledgehammer' he did it on his own exacting terms...

James Brown 'Papa's Got A Brand New Bag'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: James Brown 'Papa's Got A Brand New Bag'

'Papa's Got A Brand New Bag' was James Brown's statement of intent as he abandoned soulful ballads in favour of a raw and frenetic new sound.

The Blues Brothers 'Everybody Needs Somebody To Love'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: The Blues Brothers 'Everybody Needs Somebody To Love'

His role as producer of The Blues Brothers soundtrack left Bob Tischler in charge of recording some of the best musicians of the 20th century, while managing conflicting shooting schedules and coping with the day-to-day effects of John Belushi's prodigious cocaine habit.

808 State 'Pacific State'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: 808 State 'Pacific State'

Born of the fertile late‑'80s Manchester music scene, 808 State's 'Pacific State' was a landmark in British house music.

Tomorrow 'My White Bicycle'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Tomorrow 'My White Bicycle'

Tomorrow's pioneering paean to the joys of communal public transport has proved to be a classic of the British psychedelic underground.

Open Access unlocked

Tom Petty 'Learning To Fly'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Tom Petty 'Learning To Fly'

While Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne’s writing partnership was certainly successful, it was the partnership between Jeff Lynne and engineer Richard Dodd that gave the records their distinctive sparkle.

Shirley Bassey 'Goldfinger'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Shirley Bassey 'Goldfinger'

Engineer Eric Tomlinson recorded a host of classic soundtracks during his 40-year career, not to mention what's...

The Velvet Underground 'Heroin'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: The Velvet Underground 'Heroin'

Its status as one of pop's most influential albums is clear, but the circumstances surrounding the creation of The Velvet Underground & Nico have always been clouded. We asked Andy Warhol's co-producer to set the record straight.

The Clash 'White Riot' Classic Tracks

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: The Clash 'White Riot' Classic Tracks

When the Clash entered the studio for the first time they were determined not to sacrifice their punk principles, and the fates — not to mention a sympathetic engineer and a negligent record company — were on their side...

Electric Light Orchestra 'Don't Bring Me Down'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Electric Light Orchestra 'Don't Bring Me Down'

Melding Beatlesque pop melodies with symphonic strings, multi-layered vocals and leader Jeff Lynne's generally overblown production of his own compositions

Beastie Boys 'Sabotage'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Beastie Boys 'Sabotage'

The standout track from the Beastie Boys' smash hit Ill Communication album nearly didn't make it onto the record at all — and when it did, it was the eight-track ADAT mix that made the final cut.

Prince ‘Kiss’

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Prince ‘Kiss’

Originally intended for another group, ‘Kiss’ was quickly reclaimed by Prince when he heard David Z’s arrangement. Despite record company scepticism, the track became his third number one single and rejuvenated his career.

Pulp ‘Common People’

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Pulp ‘Common People’

Pulp’s infectiously catchy commentary on the joys of class tourism helped propel the group to fame after nearly two decades of obscurity. Engineer David Nicholas tells us how ‘Common People’ was recorded.

Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells

Classic Tracks

Forty years after its original release, Mike Oldfield tells us the story of recording his hugely successful debut album, Tubular Bells.

George Michael ‘Faith’

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: George Michael ‘Faith’

Wham! went their separate ways in 1986, but the triumph of George Michael’s debut album Faith in 1987 meant that the success of his solo career was never really in doubt.

Adam & The Ants ‘Stand & Deliver’

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Adam & The Ants ‘Stand & Deliver’

To say that producer Chris Hughes was closely involved with Recording Adam & The Ants’ biggest records would be a bit of an understatement — he got so involved he joined the band...

Frank Sinatra ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Frank Sinatra ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’

In 1956, Frank Sinatra revived his flagging career with an album that would define the swing sound and go on to become one of the most highly regarded in history. John Palladino, now in his 92nd year, was at the controls...

Oasis ‘Wonderwall’

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Oasis ‘Wonderwall’

For many, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? is Oasis’s masterpiece. Producer and engineer Owen Morris tells us the story of its creation.

Nine Inch Nails ‘Closer’

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Nine Inch Nails ‘Closer’

Although the shock value of its lyrics and ensuing censorship earned it notoriety, ‘Closer’ perfectly exemplifies Trent Reznor’s radical use of sampling and singularly focused musical vision.

MARRS 'Pump Up The Volume'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: MARRS 'Pump Up The Volume'

The unlikely result of a collaboration between two 4AD bands, the release of ‘Pump Up The Volume’ by MARRS was a great day for house music and copyright lawyers alike.

Gary Moore 'Parisienne Walkways'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Gary Moore 'Parisienne Walkways'

'Parisienne Walkways' showcased Gary Moore's virtuoso guitar work and quickly became his signature song. Its recording also provided a young engineer at Morgan Studios with his first, unexpected production credit.

The Beatles 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: The Beatles 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'

Recording the White Album was a major project by any standards, not least for Ken Scott, who, at the age of just 21, found himself engineering the biggest band in the world...

Whitney Houston 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Whitney Houston 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody'

'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' was a huge global hit, but it also represented a tour de force in coaxing the perfect vocal from a singer, as explained by producer Narada Michael Walden.

Soft Cell 'Tainted Love'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Soft Cell 'Tainted Love'

Soft Cell's cover of 'Tainted Love' not only catapulted the duo to stardom in the UK, but also went on to spend a record-breaking 43 weeks on the American Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Don McLean 'American Pie'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Don McLean 'American Pie'

The story of Don McLean's 'American Pie' goes from cryptic beginnings to massive chart success, and an eventual position as a perennial US radio favourite.

Sinéad O’Connor ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Sinéad O’Connor ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’

Recording Sinéad O’Connor’s breakthrough hit was easy in some ways, but difficult in others — for example, all compression was forbidden...

Petula Clark 'Downtown'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Petula Clark 'Downtown'

The single ‘Downtown’ gave Petula Clark a worldwide hit and rejuvenated her career. Presiding over the session was engineer Ray Prickett, who tells us how it happened...

The Buggles 'Video Killed The Radio Star'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: The Buggles 'Video Killed The Radio Star'

The Buggles' JG Ballard-inspired 'Video Killed The Radio Star' hit the number one spot in no fewer than 16 different countries, and confirmed Trevor Horn in his career as a producer in the process.

The Specials 'Ghost Town'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: The Specials 'Ghost Town'

The haunting dub of ‘Ghost Town’ perfectly captured the mood of its time, and spent three weeks at the top of the British charts during the turbulent summer of 1981.

Elton John: 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Elton John: 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road'

Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road has proved to be one of his most popular and enduring works. The man at the controls, David Hentschel, tells us how it came to be.

John Cougar: 'Jack & Diane'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: John Cougar: 'Jack & Diane'

But for the timely intervention of Mick Ronson, John Cougar’s celebrated portrait of small-town American life might never have existed at all, let alone topped the Billboard Hot 100.

The Orb: 'Little Fluffy Clouds'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: The Orb: 'Little Fluffy Clouds'

Dr Alex Paterson tells us how the Orb’s cavalier sampling and devil‑may‑care attitude towards copyright took ambient house from the chill‑out room to the top of the charts.

Marvin Gaye 'What's Going On?'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Marvin Gaye 'What's Going On?'

As the ’60s came to a close, Marvin Gaye was forced to ask some serious questions about the world as he found it; the result was the sublimely soulful piece of social commentary, ‘What’s Going On’.

Jerry Lee Lewis: 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Jerry Lee Lewis: 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On'

Jerry Lee Lewis’s raucous piano playing is the stuff of rock & roll legend, but his discovery and signing to Sun Records was the result of a series of lucky chances. Engineer Jack Clement tells us the story...

Metallica 'One' | Classic Tracks

Producer: Flemming Rasmussen • Engineer: Flemming Rasmussen

Thumbnail for article: Metallica 'One' | Classic Tracks

...And Justice For All marked a turning point for Metallica — one that would launch the cult band into the mainstream. The man at the controls, Flemming Rasmussen, tells us how it happened.

The Undertones: 'Teenage Kicks'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: The Undertones: 'Teenage Kicks'

'Teenage Kicks' was the punk-pop gem that, with a little help from John Peel, kick-started the Undertones' career.

A-ha 'Take On Me'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: A-ha 'Take On Me'

'Take On Me' was a huge hit, but its birth was a difficult one, taking three years, three versions and a pioneering video to finally give A-ha their first chart success.

Green Day: 'Basket Case'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Green Day: 'Basket Case'

'Do you have the time to listen to me whine?' asked Green Day in the opening lines of their song 'Basket Case'. For 16 million people, the answer was apparently 'yes'...

Elvis Costello & The Attractions 'Oliver's Army'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Elvis Costello & The Attractions 'Oliver's Army'

A song named for Christmas-cancelling regicide Oliver Cromwell may seem like an unlikely hit, but the infectious ebullience of 'Oliver's Army' provided Elvis Costello with his biggest-selling single...

Pet Shop Boys 'It's A Sin'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Pet Shop Boys 'It's A Sin'

Protests against Catholicism have taken many forms, Martin Luther nailing his objections to the cathedral door, but the Pet Shop Boys chose to make theirs in disco...• Producer: Julian Mendelsohn • Engineers: Julian Mendelsohn, Stephen Hague

Talking Heads 'Road To Nowhere'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Talking Heads 'Road To Nowhere'

As the first issue of SOS hit the shops in October 1985, Talking Heads were already climbing towards their highest UK chart position. The song was 'Road To Nowhere'. Engineer Eric Thorngren tells the story of its recording. • Producer: Talking Heads • Engineer: Eric Thorngren

The Eagles ‘Hotel California’

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: The Eagles ‘Hotel California’

1977's Hotel California saw The Eagles abandon their country origins in favour of full-blown rock & roll, and made them one of the biggest-selling groups in the world. Producer Bill Szymczyk tells SOS how it happened.

Crosby, Stills & Nash ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ | Classic Tracks

Producers: David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash • Engineer: Bill Halverson

Thumbnail for article: Crosby, Stills & Nash ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ | Classic Tracks

As the 60s drew to a close, David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash came together to form a new group, the unique sound of which was perfectly demonstrated by their first recording, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.

Human League ‘Don’t You Want Me’ | Classic Tracks

Producer: Martin Rushent • Engineer: Martin Rushent

Thumbnail for article: Human League ‘Don’t You Want Me’ | Classic Tracks

When producer Martin Rushent took the Human Leagues leaden new song and turned it into pop gold, the band hated it — but that didnt stop it from being a number one hit on both sides of the Atlantic...

Tommy James & The Shondells ‘Crimson & Clover’ | Classic Tracks

Producer: Tommy James • Engineer: Bruce Staple

Thumbnail for article: Tommy James & The Shondells ‘Crimson & Clover’ | Classic Tracks

In 1968, Tommy James made a dramatic stylistic turnaround, swapping bubblegum pop for full-blown psychedelic rock. The result was the superlative single Crimson & Clover.

Bob Dylan ‘Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands’ | Classic Tracks

Producer: Bob Johnston

Thumbnail for article: Bob Dylan ‘Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands’ | Classic Tracks

It took a while for Bob Dylan to hit his stride on his seventh studio album, but once he did there was no stopping him. Producer Bob Johnston recalls the difficult birth of Blonde On Blonde.

Miles Davis ‘Round Midnight’ | Classic Tracks

Producer: George Avakian • Engineer: Frank Laico

Thumbnail for article: Miles Davis ‘Round Midnight’ | Classic Tracks

In 1956, Miles Davis was at Columbia Studios to record an album with the musicians who subsequently became known as his First Great Quintet. Engineer Frank Laico was at the controls...

Bruce Springsteen ‘Born In The USA’ | Classic Tracks

Producers: Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Van Zandt • Engineers: Toby Scott, Bob Clearmountain

Thumbnail for article: Bruce Springsteen ‘Born In The USA’ | Classic Tracks

Seven top 10 singles isnt bad going for a career, let alone one album, yet thats precisely what Bruce Springsteen achieved with his smash hit 1984 LP, Born In The USA. This is the story of how it was made...

Joan Jett ‘I Love Rock & Roll’ | Classic Tracks

Producers: Ritchie Cordell, Kenny Laguna, Glen Kolotkin • Engineer: Glen Kolotkin

Thumbnail for article: Joan Jett ‘I Love Rock & Roll’ | Classic Tracks

Joan Jetts heartfelt reworking of the Arrows I Love Rock & Roll became an international hit in 1982 and turned her career around. Glen Kolotkin tells us how it happened.

Public Enemy ‘Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos’ | Classic Tracks

Producers: The Bomb Squad • Engineer: Nick Sansano

Thumbnail for article: Public Enemy ‘Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos’ | Classic Tracks

Hank Shocklees 1988 collaboration with Public Enemy brought a new aggression to hip-hop — both sonically and politically...

New York Dolls ‘Personality Crisis’ | Classic Tracks

Producer: Todd Rundgren • Engineer: Jack Douglas

Thumbnail for article: New York Dolls ‘Personality Crisis’ | Classic Tracks

The fact that they achieved little commercial success didnt stop the New York Dolls from making one of the most influential albums in the history of pop music.

REM ‘Radio Free Europe’ | Classic Tracks

Producers: REM, Mitch Easter, Don Dixon

Thumbnail for article: REM ‘Radio Free Europe’ | Classic Tracks

REMs first single wasnt just an embryonic form of the style and sound that would later make them so successful, it was also a gem of the American new wave. But it took a long time coming...

Donna Summer ‘I Feel Love’ | Classic Tracks

Producers: Giorgio Moroder, Pete Bellotte • Engineer: Juergen Koppers

Thumbnail for article: Donna Summer ‘I Feel Love’ | Classic Tracks

The pioneering electronica of I Feel Love didnt just revolutionise disco, it changed dance music forever. This is the story of how it was made...

The Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’ | Classic Tracks

Producer & Engineer: Shel Talmy

Thumbnail for article: The Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’ | Classic Tracks

There are very few records whose influence can be so strongly felt after 45 years as the Kinks You Really Got Me. At the controls was Shel Talmy, who tells us the story of a song that changed pop music.

Classic Tracks | Aerosmith ‘Walk This Way’

Producer: Jack Douglas • Engineer: Jay Messina

Thumbnail for article: Classic Tracks | Aerosmith ‘Walk This Way’

In 1975, Aerosmith stormed into the mainstream with their Toys In The Attic album, and in doing so set the tone for a decade of West Coast heavy metal.

Classic Tracks: The Moody Blues ‘Nights In White Satin’

Producer: Tony Clarke • Engineer: Derek Varnals

Thumbnail for article: Classic Tracks: The Moody Blues ‘Nights In White Satin’

Thunderous reverbs, haunting vocals and Mellotron galore: we tell the story of recording the Moody Blues symphonic rock masterpiece, Nights In White Satin.

Classic Tracks: John Lennon ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’

Producer: John Lennon • Engineers: Roy Cicala, Shelly Yakus

Thumbnail for article: Classic Tracks: John Lennon ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’

Engineer Roy Cicala worked on all of John Lennons albums from Imagine onwards, and in Whatever Gets You Thru The Night, recorded the only solo number one hit single of Lennons lifetime.

Classic Tracks: Van Morrison ‘Moondance’

Producer: Van Morrison • Engineers: Shelly Yakus, Elliot Scheiner

Thumbnail for article: Classic Tracks: Van Morrison ‘Moondance’

On his second solo album, Van Morrison took the production reins for the first time. Manning the desk was engineer Shelly Yakus, who tells the story of recording Moondance.

Classic Tracks: Heavy Zebra ‘Karla’

Producer: Heavy Zebra • Engineer: Kevin Byrne

Thumbnail for article: Classic Tracks: Heavy Zebra ‘Karla’

Blighted by drug abuse and mental illness, Heavy Zebra never fulfilled their early promise. Nevertheless, the deranged majesty of their 1972 single Karla makes it a bona fide classic track.

Classic Tracks: The Flamingos ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’

Producers: George Goldner, Terry Johnson • Engineer: Allen Weintraub

Thumbnail for article: Classic Tracks: The Flamingos ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’

This is the story of how an inspired rearrangement of an old song created a track that, 50 years on, remains a genuine and enduring classic.

Classic Tracks: Rick Astley ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’

Producers: Stock, Aitken and Waterman

Thumbnail for article: Classic Tracks: Rick Astley ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’

Producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman developed a massively successful formula for making pop records — and the story of Rick Astleys 1987 smash hit, Never Gonna Give You Up, is a perfect guide to the SAW assembly line...

Status Quo: 'Rockin' All Over The World'

Classic Tracks

Thumbnail for article: Status Quo: 'Rockin' All Over The World'

In 1977 Status Quo brought in producer Pip Williams to help them clean up their act. The result was a hit album and a best-selling single — 'Rockin' All Over The World'.

The Pogues 'Fairytale Of New York' | Classic Tracks

Producer: Steve Lillywhite • Engineers: Chris Dickie, Steve Lillywhite

Thumbnail for article: The Pogues 'Fairytale Of New York' | Classic Tracks

A Christmas song was an unexpected move from a group like the Pogues, but the story of heartbreak and pain that is 'Fairytale Of New York' eventually became the band's biggest commercial success.

Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force: 'Planet Rock'

Classic Tracks | Producer: Arthur Baker

Thumbnail for article: Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force: 'Planet Rock'

For mixing Kraftwerk's synthetic beats and simple melodies with New York rap, 'Planet Rock' and producer Arthur Baker can arguably be credited with creating an entirely new genre: hip-hop. This is how it happened...

Paul Simon 'You Can Call Me Al' | Classic Tracks

Producer: Paul Simon • Engineer: Roy Halee

Thumbnail for article: Paul Simon 'You Can Call Me Al' | Classic Tracks

Paul Simon's Graceland album combined a huge mixture of musical styles and was recorded in studios all over the world. The man responsible for putting it all together, both sonically and physically, was Simon's long-time engineer Roy Halee. This is how he did it...

DEVO 'Whip It' | Classic Tracks

Producers: Devo, Robert Margouleff • Engineers: Robert Margouleff, Howard Siegel

Thumbnail for article: DEVO 'Whip It' | Classic TracksArmed with a subversive view of society and a command of catchy synth-pop, Devo burst into the charts in 1980 with weird classic 'Whip It'. Producer Robert Margouleff talks de-evolution...

Blondie 'Hanging On The Telephone' | Classic Tracks

Producer: Mike Chapman • Engineer: Peter Coleman

Thumbnail for article: Blondie 'Hanging On The Telephone' | Classic TracksThe partnership between Blondie and producer Mike Chapman created a perfect pop record - and catapulted the group from the underground to mainstream chart success.

Luciano Pavarotti 'Nessun Dorma' | Classic Tracks

Producers: Ray Minshull, Michael Woolcock • Engineers: James Lock, Kenneth Wilkinson

Thumbnail for article: Luciano Pavarotti 'Nessun Dorma' | Classic TracksRecording opera requires a completely different approach, environment and technique to pop or rock music — a fact that has seldom been better demonstrated than in Pavarotti's 1972 recording of 'Nessun Dorma'.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood 'Relax' | Classic Tracks

Producer: Trevor Horn • Engineers: Steve Lipson, Julian Mendelsohn

Thumbnail for article: Frankie Goes To Hollywood 'Relax' | Classic TracksThe debut single from Liverpool's Frankie Goes To Hollywood was the result of adventurous production and enjoyed massive chart success - as well as creating a great deal of controversy.

The Ramones 'Pet Sematary' | Classic Tracks

Producer: Jean Beauvoir • Engineer: Fernando Kral

Thumbnail for article: The Ramones 'Pet Sematary' | Classic TracksUndisputed kings of the three-chord thrash and arguably responsible for punk rock, it took over 10 years and the theme song to a Stephen King film to secure serious US chart success for the Ramones...

The Four Tops: 'Reach Out I'll Be There' | Classic Tracks

Producers: Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland

One of the most famous record labels of all time, Motown fostered a group of uniquely talented writers, engineers and musicians who often had to invent the equipment and techniques they used to keep their music at the cutting edge. Lamont Dozier explains how it was done...

Lynyrd Skynyrd 'Sweet Home Alabama' | Classic Tracks

Producer: Al Kooper • Engineers: Al Kooper, Rodney Mills

Thumbnail for article: Lynyrd Skynyrd 'Sweet Home Alabama' | Classic Tracks

In 1973, a band from Florida and California went to a studio in Georgia to record a song, provoked by a Canadian, about Alabama - and managed to define the sound of Southern rock while they were at it.

Classic Tracks: Billy Swan 'I Can Help'

Producers: Chip Young, Billy Swan; Engineer: Chip Young

Thumbnail for article: Classic Tracks: Billy Swan 'I Can Help'

In 1974 Billy Swan walked into Chip Young's Young'un Sound studio and, in two takes, recorded a million-selling single that had taken him 20 minutes to write. This is how it was done...

CLASSIC TRACKS: Ian Dury & The Blockheads

Track: 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick'

The story of how a characteristically chaotic and unorthodox 1978 recording session took Ian Dury & The Blockheads to the top of the UK charts.

CLASSIC TRACKS: Madonna 'Like A Virgin'

Producers: Nile Rodgers, Madonna, Stephen Bray • Engineer: Jason Corsaro

In mid-1984 Madonna arrived at New York City's Power Station studios with Nile Rodgers to record the album that would make her an international superstar - using cutting-edge 12-bit technology.

CLASSIC TRACKS: Fleetwood Mac 'Go Your Own Way'

Producers: Richard Dashut, Ken Caillat, Fleetwood Mac

In 1976, in the face of deteriorating personal relationships and massive record company pressure, Fleetwood Mac managed to create a record that would go on to sell 30 million copies.

CLASSIC TRACKS: Charlie Rich 'The Most Beautiful Girl In The World'

Producer: Billy Sherrill • Engineer: Lou Bradley

1973's 'The Most Beautiful Girl In The World' was one of the defining moments of the Nashville sound, and was the product of a finely-honed studio recording process.

CLASSIC TRACKS: Depeche Mode's 'People Are People'

Producers: Depeche Mode, Daniel Miller, Gareth Jones • Engineer: Gareth Jones

Released in 1984, 'People Are People' perfectly combined Depeche Mode's love of pop music and experimentalism, and gave them their first US hit single.

Classic Tracks: ORBITAL 'Chime'

Producers: Paul & Phil Hartnoll • Engineers: Tim Hunt, Orbital

Orbital were renowned for their amazing live shows, and the story of 'Chime', the track that launched their career, shows how they brought their 'live' approach to electronic music to the studio and into the charts.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Future Sound Of London 'Papua New Guinea'

Producers: Garry Cobain, Brian Dougans • Engineers: Yage

In 1991 The Future Sound of London brought their unique brand of experimentalism to the dancefloor with the seminal track, 'Papua New Guinea' — and launched their career in the process.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Band 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down'

Producers: The Band, John Simon • Engineers: John Simon, Robbie Robertson, Tony May

The origins of The Band as Bob Dylan's backing group are well known, but with songs like 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' they forged their own unique American sound.

CLASSIC TRACKS: Derek & The Dominos 'Layla'

Producers: Tom Dowd • Derek & The Dominos

Inspired by a Persian classical poet and a certain Mrs Harrison, 'Layla' went on to become Eric Clapton's most enduring hit.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Knack 'My Sharona'

Producer: Mike Chapman • Engineers: David Tickle, Pete Coleman

In 1979, at the end of a 13-way bidding war, The Knack went into the studio to record their debut single — a debut single that would go gold in seven days and sell six million copies worldwide. This is the story of how it came to be...

Classic Tracks: Bryan Adams 'Run to You'

Producers: Bryan Adams • Bob Clearmountain

The Reckless album was a huge success for Bryan Adams, giving rise to six hit singles - but the first one, 'Run To You', was almost never even recorded.

CLASSIC TRACKS: 'Our House' by Madness

Producers: Clive Langer, Alan Winstanley

Producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley helped to make Madness one of the most successful British bands of the '80s. Find out how they worked their magic on this 1982 classic pop track...

CLASSIC TRACKS: Dire Straits 'Money For Nothing'

Producers: Mark Knopfler, Neil Dorfsman

The Brothers In Arms album turned Dire Straits into one of the biggest-selling bands of all time, thanks to some technical innovation, tough decision-making, and that guitar sound — which was created by accident. Find out how they did it...

CLASSIC TRACKS: Big Star: 'September Gurls'

Producer: Big Star • Engineer: John Fry

Three decades after they disappeared into obscurity, the cult of Big Star continues to grow. John Fry was the engineer and studio owner at Ardent, who oversaw the recording of their now-classic albums #1 Record and Radio City.

CLASSIC TRACKS: Bob Marley & The Wailers: 'I Shot The Sheriff'

Producers: Chris Blackwell, The Wailers; Engineers: Phill Brown, Tony Platt

Bob Marley & The Wailers were the first Jamaican musicians to achieve world stardom. Tracked in Kingston and finished in London by Island engineers Phill Brown and Tony Platt, their breakthrough album was a truly international recording and a true reggae classic. Find out how it was recorded...

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Fifth Dimension 'Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In'

Producer/Engineer: Bones Howe

The art of the record producer blossomed in the 1960s, with the likes of Phil Spector crafting miniature symphonies in the studio. As that decade drew to a close, Bones Howe masterminded one of its biggest and most innovative hits.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Staple Singers I'll Take You There

Producer: Al Bell; Engineers: Terry Manning, Jerry Masters

For the Staple Singers' landmark 1972 Stax album, Terry Manning and producer Al Bell employed the talents of Memphis's finest musicians and two of the South's most famous studios.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Pixies 'Monkey Gone To Heaven'

Producer/Engineer: Gil Norton

With their oblique, short and often brutally noisy songs, The Pixies reinvented rock music at the turn of the '90s, and influenced almost everyone who picked up a guitar in the following decade. Producer and engineer Gil Norton helped them to shape their breakthrough single.

CLASSIC TRACKS: Jimi Hendrix Experience All Along The Watchtower

Eddie Kramer

With his searing version of 'All Along The Watchtower', Jimi Hendrix set a standard for Dylan covers that has rarely been equalled. Eddie Kramer was behind the glass as the sessions moved from London to New York.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Hollies The Air That I Breathe

Producer: Ron Richards, The Hollies; Engineer: Alan Parsons

The Hollies were the third artist in as many years to cut Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood's pop ballad, yet it was their version that became a worldwide top 10 hit. In 1974, Alan Parsons was behind the mixing desk at Abbey Road for their recording of 'The Air That I Breathe'.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Pretenders: Back On The Chain Gang

Producer: Chris Thomas; Engineer: Steve Churchyard

In 1982, the Pretenders responded to desperate circumstances with some of the strongest material they would ever produce. Engineer Steve Churchyard was there to record it.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Bee Gees Stayin' Alive

Producers: The Bee Gees, Albhy Galuten, Karl Richardson

Disco was an American phenomenon, but its greatest hits were recorded in France by an English band who were trying to play R&B...

CLASSIC TRACKS: Supertramp‘s 'Logical Song'

Producers: Supertramp, Peter Henderson

Producer and engineer Peter Henderson spent nine months recording an album that neither he nor the A&M label could afford to fail. Yet when he handed in the masters, Henderson was convinced that Supertramp‘s Breakfast In America would finish his career...\n

CLASSIC TRACKS: 10cc 'I'm Not In Love'

Producers: 10cc; Engineeer: Eric Stewart

Disagreement can be destructive, but it can also drive a band on to new heights. So it was when 10cc's Kevin Godley turned up his nose at a love song penned by Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman, insisting that it would have to be completely reinvented in the studio...

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Who 'Who Are You?'

Producers: Jon Astley, Glyn Johns

The Who's final album with Keith Moon took almost a year to record and pushed the band to the limit. Engineer and producer Jon Astley tells the remarkable story behind Who Are You?'s title track.


Producers: Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards. Engineer: Bob Clearmountain

They might have been the greatest production team of the disco era, but even Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards could fall victim to the elitism of New York's club scene - and their response was the most memorable of all Chic's hits.

CLASSIC TRACKS: New Order 'New Faith'

Producers: Stephen Hague & New Order; Engineer: David Jacob

Producer Stephen Hague took New Order into the studio with an ambitious brief: to write and record a single that would break the band in America.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Stone Roses 'Fools Gold'

Producer: John Leckie. Engineers: John Leckie, John Cornfield, Paul Schroeder

As the '80s drew to a close, The Stone Roses made rock music cool again, melding '60s psychedelia and acid house under the production guidance of John Leckie.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Smiths 'The Queen Is Dead'

Producers: Morrissey, Johnny Marr • Engineer: Stephen Street

Stephen Street made his name as an engineer working with one of the most influential indie bands ever. He describes the sessions that created the title track of The Smiths' most celebrated album.

CLASSIC TRACKS: The Cure 'A Forest'

Producers: Robert Smith, Mike Hedges

Mike Hedges made his 1980 debut as a producer with one of The Cure's most enduring singles. 'A Forest' and the accompanying Seventeen Seconds album used his and the band's creativity in the studio to the full.

CLASSIC TRACKS: Sade's 'The Sweetest Taboo'

Producers: Robin Millar, Sade Adu, Mike Pela, Ben Rogan

Sade's ice-cool vocals and sophisticated, jazz-tinged instrumentation defined a new kind of soul music for the '80s. Engineer and producer Mike Pela describes the organic recording process that produced one of the singer's most memorable hits from 1985.


Artist: David Bowie; Producers: David Bowie, Tony Visconti; Studio: Hansa Ton, Berlin

With 'Heroes', David Bowie pulled off the rare feat of having a major hit with a highly experimental piece of art-rock, which featured among other highlights live synth treatments from Brian Eno, pitched feedback from guitarist Robert Fripp, and a lead vocal with level-triggered ambience.


Artist: The Sex Pistols; Producer: Chris Thomas; Engineer: Bill Price

When punk rock broke in 1976, the Sex Pistols caused panic in establishment Britain — and more than a few raised eyebrows in Wessex Studios, where Chris Thomas and Bill Price recorded the band's milestone EMI debut album.

MICHAEL JACKSON 'Black Or White' | Classic Tracks

Producers: Michael Jackson, Bill Bottrell • Engineer: Bill Bottrell

The 18-month gestation period behind Michael Jackson's Dangerous album and its lead single 'Black Or White' saw '80s studio perfectionism taken to extremes — and despite their success, the experience helped to convince co-writer, engineer and co-producer Bill Bottrell that there had to be another way to make records!


Producers: Duran Duran, Alex Sadkin, Ian Little; Engineers: Phil Thornalley, Pete Schwier

When Duran Duran began work on their third album in 1983, they were already one of the biggest bands in the world — and with eight months of studio time and half a million pounds spent, huge expectations surrounded Seven And The Ragged Tiger...

CLASSIC TRACKS: 'Wuthering Heights'

Artist: Kate Bush; Producer: Andrew Powell; Engineer: Jon Kelly

Kate Bush's 1978 smash hit debut single was also the first major project Jon Kelly had recorded. It proved to be a dream start for both artist and engineer, and a perfect illustration of the benefits of working with talented session musicians.

CLASSIC TRACKS: 'What's Love Got To Do With It?'

Artist: Tina Turner; Producer: Terry Britten; Engineer: John Hudson

In 1984, a dose of British soul resurrected Tina Turner's flagging career in spectacular style. For engineer John Hudson, the recording of 'What's Love Got To Do With It?' also provided a memorable example of the 'less is more' principle in action...


Artist: The Rolling Stones; Engineer: Chris Kimsey

In 1981, 'Start Me Up' became one of the Rolling Stones' biggest hit singles. Yet it was actually a reject from a previous session, and only saw the light of day because its infamous co-writers had fallen out...

Classic Tracks: The Police's 'Every Breath You Take'

Producers: The Police, Hugh Padgham • Engineer: Hugh Padgham.

The Police's final studio album was both a technical and artistic tour de force, and yielded one of their most memorable hit singles. Yet the three members were unable to play in the same room without a fight breaking out, so the recording sessions proved tough going for engineer and co-producer Hugh Padgham...

CLASSIC TRACKS: 'Unforgettable'

Artists: Natalie Cole & Nat 'King' Cole; Producer: David Foster; Engineer: Al Schmitt

Half a century in the business has seen recording engineer Al Schmitt reach the very top of his profession, but even a man of his experience can find himself faced with new challenges. So it was in 1991, when he was called upon to turn a classic Nat 'King' Cole recording into a duet with Cole's daughter Natalie...

CLASSIC TRACKS: 'Strange Days'

Artist: THE DOORS; Producer: Paul Rothchild; Engineeer: Bruce Botnick

Engineer and producer Bruce Botnick recorded some of the greatest artifacts of West Coast psychedelia, among them the first five albums by The Doors. Here he describes the making of their influential second album and its title track, which saw them develop their live sound through radical experimentation in the studio.


Artist: Cliff Richard; Producer: Norrie Paramor; Engineer: Malcolm Addey

This month, Sound On Sound begins a major new series, looking back in detail at the engineering and production behind some of the most historically significant recordings ever made, with the story of the first and greatest British rock & roll record.


DAW Tips from SOS


Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help


Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26


All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2014. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media