In this long-running SOS feature, we break down and analyse how classic tracks were created, recorded, mixed, and produced - with contributions from the record producers, sound engineers and artists involved.
Classic Tracks: Plastikman ‘Consumed’
Richie Hawtin takes us through a seminal Plastikman album — and its unexpected sequel.
Classic Tracks: Soul II Soul ‘Back To Life’
Soul II Soul’s ‘Back To Life’ was a hit record with a sound all of its own.
Classic Tracks: Freeez ‘IOU’
The result of an extraordinary collaboration between Arthur Baker and London band Freeez, ‘IOU’ was a pioneering hit of the electro genre.
Classic Tracks: Wire ‘Outdoor Miner’
The three albums Mike Thorne produced for Wire showed that there was much, much more to punk than met the eye.
Classic Tracks: The Bangles ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’
‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ was a huge hit for the Bangles, but it all started with a demo mix‑up and some very unusual percussion.
Classic Tracks: Darude 'Sandstorm'
Darude’s 1999 dance hit has taken on an extensive and often surprising life of its own.
Classic Tracks: Steely Dan 'Aja'
The title track of Steely Dan's Aja is legendary for many reasons, including the spectacular work of Steve Gadd. Who, it turns out, almost didn't make the cut in the album's planned 'rotating list of drummers'...
Classic Tracks: Happy Mondays 'Step On'
Much vaunted as a fusion of indie and dance music, Happy Mondays' joyous version of 'Step On' is greater than the sum of its parts.
Classic Tracks: Supergrass 'Alright'
When producer Sam Williams discovered Supergrass, he knew he had to capture the band's infectious energy on tape.
Classic Tracks: Led Zeppelin 'Kashmir'
Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir' became a band-defining track, but it started life in an Airstream trailer known as the Ronnie Lane Mobile Studio.
Classic Tracks: The Cranberries 'Linger'
After a record label bidding war the success of the Cranberries' first single was vital. Fans of the Smiths, they called in producer Stephen Street...
Classic Tracks: Cypress Hill ‘Insane In The Brain’
Cypress Hill’s crossover classic launched the group into the mainstream — and without sampling a single horse...
Classic Tracks: Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’
Begun as an experiment, ‘Sweet Dreams’ launched Eurythmics to international stardom and is still filling dancefloors to this day.
Classic Tracks: My Bloody Valentine ‘Only Shallow’
It may be famous for its difficult birth, but Loveless was a technical triumph. My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields tells us the story behind their breathtakingly original album.
Classic Tracks: Coldcut ‘Paid In Full’ (Seven Minutes Of Madness)
Coldcut’s version of Eric B & Rakim’s ‘Paid In Full’ launched their career and reinvented the concept of the remix at the same time.
Classic Tracks: DJ Shadow ‘Midnight In A Perfect World’
DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing wasn’t just a staggering technical achievement. It also reimagined a whole musical genre.
Classic Tracks: Primal Scream ‘Come Together’
With the Screamadelica album Primal Scream didn’t just reinvent themselves as a band, they reinvented what it meant to be a band.
Classic Tracks: Neneh Cherry ‘Buffalo Stance’
Neneh Cherry’s breakthrough 1988 single melded hip-hop and cut-and-paste sampling into a perfect pop record.
Classic Tracks: Fatboy Slim ‘Praise You’
Armed with nothing but an Atari, a pair of S950 samplers and his faithful TB303, Fatboy Slim took the charts of the late 1990s by storm.
Classic Tracks: Public Image Ltd ‘Rise’
In 1985 John Lydon found himself in a New York studio with producer Bill Laswell and a group of session musicians. The result was to become one of PiL’s most recognisable tracks.
Classic Tracks: ABC ‘The Look Of Love’
1982’s ‘The Look Of Love’ paired an ambitious band with an ambitious producer, and the result was a perfect piece of pop music.
Classic Tracks: Spiritualized ‘Come Together’
Recording the centrepiece of Spiritualized’s celebrated space rock masterpiece took engineer Darren Allison on a trip into the unexpected.
Classic Tracks: The Zombies ‘Time Of The Season’
Now considered one of the classic tracks of the 1960s, the Zombies’ ‘Time Of The Season’ almost disappeared without trace...
Classic Tracks: Buzzcocks 'Spiral Scratch'
Engineer Phil Hampson didn’t even like punk rock — yet, with an inexperienced Martin Hannett, he recorded one of the defining records of the era.
Classic Tracks: Cowboy Junkies ‘Sweet Jane’
In 1987, swimming against the tide of MIDI–powered pop records, Cowboy Junkies went into a church to record an album into a single microphone in a single day.
Classic Tracks: Throbbing Gristle ‘Hamburger Lady’
Throbbing Gristle’s highly individualist approach to music extended as far as making their own instruments and, ultimately, their own genre.
Classic Tracks: A Guy Called Gerald ‘Voodoo Ray’
Hailed as the first British acid house single, A Guy Called Gerald’s sublime ‘Voodoo Ray’ has since become a classic in its own right.
Classic Tracks: Arctic Monkeys ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’
In 2005 the only problem facing Arctic Monkeys was how to capture their frenetic live sound in the studio. Producer Jim Abbiss was ready to accept the challenge...
Classic Tracks: The Fall ‘Hit The North’
In their 39–year career the Fall have always embraced chaos, but perhaps nowhere more so than in the studio.
Classic Tracks: Pink Floyd 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond'
Engineer Brian Humphries tells the story of recording Pink Floyd’s nine-part lamentation to their lost colleague, Syd Barrett.
Classic Tracks: AC/DC 'Back In Black'
In 1980 AC/DC were on a roll and nothing — not even the death of their lead singer — was going to stop them.
Classic Tracks: Peter Gabriel 'Sledgehammer'
When Peter Gabriel made the transition from prog to pop with 'Sledgehammer' he did it on his own exacting terms...
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: Shirley Bassey 'Goldfinger'
Engineer Eric Tomlinson recorded a host of classic soundtracks during his 40-year career, not to mention what's...
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: The Clash 'White Riot'
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...
Classic Tracks: 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
Classic Tracks : 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: Mike Oldfield 'Tubular Bells'
Forty years after its original release, Mike Oldfield tells us the story of recording his hugely successful debut album, Tubular Bells.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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...
Classic Tracks: 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...
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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...
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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...
Classic Tracks: 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...
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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’.
Classic Tracks: 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...
Classic Tracks: Metallica 'One'
...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.
Classic Tracks: The Undertones: 'Teenage Kicks'
'Teenage Kicks' was the punk-pop gem that, with a little help from John Peel, kick-started the Undertones' career.
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: 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'...
Classic Tracks: 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...
Classic Tracks: 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
Classic Tracks: 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
Classic Tracks: 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.
Classic Tracks: Crosby, Stills & Nash ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’
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'.
Classic Tracks: Human League ‘Don’t You Want Me’
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...
Classic Tracks: Tommy James & The Shondells ‘Crimson & Clover’
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.
Classic Tracks: Bob Dylan ‘Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands’
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.
Classic Tracks: Miles Davis ‘Round Midnight’
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...
Classic Tracks: Bruce Springsteen ‘Born In The USA’
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...
Classic Tracks: Joan Jett ‘I Love Rock & Roll’
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.
Classic Tracks: Public Enemy ‘Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos’
Hank Shocklees 1988 collaboration with Public Enemy brought a new aggression to hip-hop — both sonically and politically...
Classic Tracks: New York Dolls ‘Personality Crisis’
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.
Classic Tracks: REM ‘Radio Free Europe’
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...
Classic Tracks: Donna Summer ‘I Feel Love’
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...
Classic Tracks: The Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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’
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 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...
Classic Tracks: 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'.
Classic Tracks: The Pogues 'Fairytale Of New York'
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.
Classic Tracks: 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...
Classic Tracks: Paul Simon 'You Can Call Me Al'
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...
Classic Tracks: DEVO 'Whip It'
Armed 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...
Classic Tracks: Blondie 'Hanging On The Telephone'
The partnership between Blondie and producer Mike Chapman created a perfect pop record - and catapulted the group from the underground to mainstream chart success.
Classic Tracks: Luciano Pavarotti 'Nessun Dorma'
Recording 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'.
Classic Tracks: Frankie Goes To Hollywood 'Relax'
The 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.
Classic Tracks: The Ramones 'Pet Sematary'
Undisputed 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...
Classic Tracks: The Four Tops: 'Reach Out I'll Be There'
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...
Classic Tracks: Lynyrd Skynyrd 'Sweet Home Alabama'
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: Stevie Wonder 'Pastime Paradise'
Epic in every sense of the word — unning to 21 songs, involving more than 120 musicians and taking almost two years to complete — Stevie Wonder's Songs In The Key Of Life was in many ways the high-point of an already illustrious career. This is the story of how it was created.
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 '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'
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'
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: The Only Ones 'Another Girl, Another Planet'
Although never a commercial success, the Only One's 'Another Girl, Another Planet' has proved to be massively influential; and nearly 30 years after its original release, it's finally getting the recognition it deserves.
Classic Tracks: Tricky 'Black Steel'
Tricky's highly unorthodox approach to recording and making music led to the creation of one of the most unique and critically lauded records of the '90s.
Classic Tracks: Charlie Rich 'The Most Beautiful Girl In The World'
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: The Ronettes 'Be My Baby'
Phil Spector was one of the first producers to realise that a recording studio could be an instrument in itself - and the sound he created over 40 years ago has influenced popular music ever since.
Classic Tracks: The Jam 'The Eton Rifles'
'The Eton Rifles' captured both Paul Weller's growing talent as a songwriter and the raw power of his band the Jam, and gave the group their first top 10 hit.
Classic Tracks: Depeche Mode 'People Are People'
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: Les Paul & Mary Ford 'How High The Moon'
Les Paul made some of the most innovative records of the 20th Century, but he had to invent multitrack tape recording first...
Classic Tracks: Orbital 'Chime'
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: Future Sound Of London 'Papua New Guinea'
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'
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'
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'
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'
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: Madness 'Our House'
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'
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'
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'
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: Fifth Dimension 'Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In'
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. Find out how...
Classic Tracks: The Staple Singers 'I'll Take You There'
For the Staple Singers' landmark 1972 Stax album, engineer 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'
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'
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'
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 the recording.
Classic Tracks: The Pretenders 'Back On The Chain Gang'
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'
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 'The Logical Song'
Producer/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...
Classic Tracks: 10cc 'I'm Not In Love'
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?'
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.
Classic Tracks: Chic 'Le Freak'
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 'True Faith'
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'
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'
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'
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 'The Sweetest Taboo'
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.
Classic Tracks: David Bowie 'Heroes'
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.
Classic Tracks: The Sex Pistols 'Anarchy In The UK'
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.
Classic Tracks: Michael Jackson 'Black Or White'
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!
Classic Tracks: Duran Duran 'The Reflex'
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: Kate Bush 'Wuthering Heights'
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: Tina Turner 'What's Love Got To Do With It?'
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...
Classic Tracks: The Rolling Stones 'Start Me Up'
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 'Every Breath You Take'
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: Natalie Cole & Nat 'King' Cole 'Unforgettable'
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: The Doors 'Strange Days'
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.
Classic Tracks: Cliff Richard 'Move It'
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.