“We had some incredible musical adventures together… He truly was our Mr Big”: Geddy Lee pays tribute to Rush, Bon Jovi and Gary Moore producer Peter Collins, who has died aged 73

Geddy Lee
Geddy Lee (Image credit: Jeremychanphotography/Getty Images)

It’s being widely reported that British producer Peter Collins has died at the age of 73. During his 40-year career, Collins worked with the likes of Rush, Gary Moore, Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper and many more.

Beginning his career in the ‘60s as a singer-songwriter, Collins quickly decided that his future lay behind the mixing desk. He got his break in the early ‘80s when he formed a production company with Peter Waterman and produced two albums by British band The Lambrettas. He also worked with Musical Youth, who had an international hit with Pass The Dutchie.

Another notable success for Collins around this time was his successful collaboration with British pop singer-songwriter Nik Kershaw. Collins produced both Kershaw’s debut, Human Racing, and follow-up album The Riddle, both of which were released in 1984.

1985 saw a move to Canada to work with Rush. Over the course of the next decade, Collins would go on to produce four of the band’s albums: Power Windows, Hold Your Fire, Counterparts and Test for Echo.

During this period, Collins also added two Gary Moore albums to his production CV (Wild Frontier and After The War) and helmed Alice Cooper’s Hey Stoopid in 1991. He would go on to work with Bon Jovi on 1995’s These Days.

Other artists to benefit from Collins’ production expertise include Queensrÿche, Indigo Girls, Nanci Griffith, Lisa Loeb, Kenny Loggins and Brian Setzer.

Speaking to Mix magazine in 1998, Collins said of his production philosophy: “I’m a huge fan of pre-production…. I try to catch the early performances. They don’t get better. They usually get worse. It’s important to catch the drummer while they’re fresh and not ‘thinking’. Then you just get a natural flow of performance.”

A number of Collins’ musical collaborators have been paying tribute to him on social media. Rush’s Geddy Lee said: “So sad to hear of the passing of Peter Collins. A dear, dear friend and producer of four different Rush albums. During periods in the ‘80s and ‘90s we had some incredible musical adventures together, in various studios across the globe. He truly was our Mr Big… with his ever present cigar and constant good humour. After hitting the record button, I can still hear him say ‘OK boys, from the topping… no stopping!’”

Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy, meanwhile, called Collins “an absolute pleasure to work with.”

Collins is believed to have died at his home in Nashville. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

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Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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