Simply the best
After ‘shouting out’ in search of your nominations, we asked you to vote in our poll to determine just who was the best music producer of the 1980s.
You came, you pondered on our list, and you voted in your droves. So don’t just sit there: get clicking to find out who you thought really steered the sounds of the decade that launched MJ into superstardom, defined the sounds of new romanticism, and made metal heavier than a heavy thing.
With your help, we have whittled the vast list of the best music producers of the ‘80s down to just 10. Get ready...
10. Bob Clearmountain
Kicking off our countdown from 10 to the big one is Bob Clearmountain. During the 1980s Bob produced some serious heavyweights including Tina Turner, Hall & Oates, the Pretenders and Simple Minds.
And let’s not forget his work as an engineer earned him credits with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Journey, plus a fair few more.
9. Steve Lillywhite
U2, The Smiths, XTC, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Stones, Big Country, The Pogues and Peter Gabriel all have one thing in common: Steve Lillywhite.
The Surrey-born producer was part of some big records during the '80s, but perhaps one of his most notable contributions was the part he played in the invention of gated reverb, the production trick that formed the basis of Phil Collins’ sound.
8. Giorgio Moroder
Giorgio Moroder is a man that needs no introduction, and the king of electro-disco also featured in the top 10 of our best producer of the ‘70s poll.
His services during the ‘80s were very much in demand, and he helped carve out hits for the likes of the Eurythmics, Berlin, Blondie, Human League and, of course, Donna Summer.
7. Nile Rodgers
Nile Rodgers rose to fame in the late ‘70s as co-founder of Chic, but it was his notoriety as a producer in the 1980s that gets him a place in our top 10.
One famous collaboration came in 1984 on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance and perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of his life.
6. Daniel Lanois
Canadian-born producer Daniel Lanois’ collaborations with Brian Eno saw the pair work on such projects as the theme music to David Lynch’s Dune and U2’s Unforgettable Fire.
This relationship paved the way for one of his most prestigious pieces of work: 1987’s Grammy Award-winning The Joshua Tree.
5. Rick Rubin
Leading us down the home straight to the pinnacle of '80s production prowess is Mr Def Jam himself, Rick Rubin.
Over the years Rubin has become one of the most in-demand producers of our time. His early production work straddled two worlds that, seemingly, couldn’t have been further from one another if they'd tried: those of heavy metal and hip-hop. Rubin’s most successful work of the decade was with the likes of Slayer, Run-D.M.C and the Beastie Boys.
4. Mutt Lange
Robert John "Mutt" Lange hits our top 10 list with a veritable smorgasbord of huge artists of the time. High praise is due for his work in producing the second best-selling album of all time, AC-DC’s Back in Black.
His other production work includes collaborations with the likes of Def Leppard, who were in their prime when he co-wrote much of their material.
It’s hard to talk about the ‘80s with mentioning his royal badness: Prince Rogers Nelson. While his own work is certainly worthy and he dominated throughout the decade, his other production credits of the ‘80s cannot be ignored.
Without Prince we wouldn’t have had albums from the likes of Sheila E, Chaka Khan, Jill Jones and Sheena Easton.
2. Trevor Horn
Think of the archetypal sound of the ‘80s and the chances are that this man was involved in its creation.
Trevor Horn is often credited with inventing the ‘sound of the eighties’, and no band sums up that sound more than Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
Their 1983 smash Relax was banned by the BBC in 1984, while at number six in the hit parade, and subsequently topped the UK singles chart for five consecutive weeks. The follow-up single, Two Tribes, took to the top spot for a record-breaking nine consecutive weeks, during which time Relax drew resurgent popularity and climbed back to number two.
1. Quincy Jones
Let’s be honest with ourselves: we all knew this poll was going to be a two-horse race between Horn and Jones, and while Quincy ran the race from the front at the start, it was a very close run thing.
Quincy Jones’ work with Michael Jackson propelled the smooth criminal into superstardom with the best-selling album of all time: Thriller.
Having first worked together on 1979s Off The Wall, the pair’s final outing together was on the Bad album. Those three albums amassed well over 100 million sales.
Of course, it would be too easy attribute Jones’ success during the ‘80s just to his work with MJ, but his production credits throughout the Thatcher years also included work with the likes of Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand.