The 10 best music producers of the '60s
Top 10 hit-makers
After asking for your nominations, we asked you to vote in our poll to determine just who was the best producer of the 1960s.
You came, you saw, 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 ‘60s...
10. Jimmy Miller
Kicking off our countdown from 10 to number one is Jimmy Miller of Rolling Stones production fame.
Whilst mostly noted for his work in the booth, he was also a drummer and percussionist, and it is Miller who we have to thank for that killer cowbell intro to Honky Tonk Woman.
9. Jerry Wexler
Jerry started out as a music journalist and turned to production in the ‘50s. He is often credited with coining the term ‘rhythm and blues’.
His most notable work was with Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield. It was the latter who managed to convince him and Ahmet Ertegun to sign Led Zeppelin to Atlantic records.
8. Teo Macero
Teo Macero joined Columbia records as producer in 1957, where he stayed for 20 years.
Also known as a jazz saxophonist and composer, you have voted Teo into this top 10 for his production work with the likes of Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, Johnny Mathis, Count Basie and Dave Brubeck to name but a few.
7. Norman Whitfield
It was Whitfield’s persistence that got him noticed by a certain Berry Gordy and, ultimately, onto this list.
As a young man, Whitfield joined Motown records in the quality control department, but it was soon obvious to Gordy that he had talent, and he was promoted to the in-house songwriting team.
Whilst Norman worked with a variety of acts signed to Motown, his most notable work was with The Temptations, with whom he developed his ‘psychedelic soul’ style.
6. Joe Meek
Despite not knowing how to play an instrument, Joe Meek is often remembered for his biggest record, Telstar, by the Tornados, for which he earned an Ivor Novello award in 1962.
More importantly though, Meek quite possibly invented the notion of the ‘bedroom’ producer - he built his studio above a leather shop in London - and is fondly remembered amongst the production community as a pioneer in the field.
5. Berry Gordy
Mr Motown himself, Berry Gordy breaks into the top half of the poll at five.
Not only did he create Motown records and all its subsidiaries, but Gordy also had an eye for talent. It was this eye that brought us the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Jimmy Ruffin, the Contours, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Commodores, the Velvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. Now that is a list!
4. Phil Spector
The man who brought us The Ronettes and the ‘Wall of Sound’ technique is in at four.
Despite being credited with pioneering the girl group sound in the ‘60s, Spector’s most memorable work during that era - and possibly of all time - as the co-writer and producer of The Righteous Brothers’ You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin’.
3. Eddie Kramer
Although credited mostly as an engineer during the ‘60s, you couldn’t ignore Kramer’s work and close relationship with Jimi Hendrix.
Kramer worked on all four Hendrix albums before Jimi’s death in 1970, also collaborating with Led Zeppelin over the course of five albums and producing the first Johnny Winter long player.
2. Brian Wilson
Just edging out Eddie Kramer by a single vote is Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys’ singer/songwriter/producer/co-founder.
The Beach Boys really hit the ground running in the early ‘60s with Surfin’ USA, following this up with the likes of Pet Sounds and Smile.
Brian was at the centre of it all; while adopting Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’ he gave rise to the ‘California Sound’, which put the west coast on the musical map.
1. George Martin
To no one’s great surprise and with well over half of your votes, the winner is indeed George Martin.
If some of the Facebook comments were anything to go by, this was a foregone conclusion and it’s hardly surprising. Not only did gentle George absolutely nail it by producing the biggest pop group ever, but he also secured a string of hits with a slew of other artists including Matt Munro, Cilla Black, Gerry & the Pacemakers and Shirley Bassey.