Brian Eno has described the producer as one of music’s ‘backroom boys’. Having been on both sides of the glass during the course of his long and illustrious career, as both performer and multiple-award-winning producer in all musical genres, he is as well placed as anyone to define the role. By and large, Eno’s description is an accurate one. Most producers do take a back seat when it comes to the fame and notoriety which go hand in hand with success in the music business
Star producers do exist, however; during the dance boom of recent years the role of producer and performer has become blurred, with producers putting together pieces of mainly computerized music, released primarily for club consumption under a whole range of different faceless pseudonyms.
There are also those producers who become star names simply because their role in the creation of a particular sound is impossible to ignore. Trevor Horn is one such producer. Many maintain that eighties’ phenomenon ABC and later Frankie Goes To Hollywood would not have had the success they enjoyed without Horn’s monster productions. Similarly, US star Meat Loaf has had his best successes when teamed with writer—producer Jim Steinman.
That said, the role of producer is generally well defined within the industry and has been since the late forties and early fifties, during which time the newly introduced magnetic tape (which became available in volume in 1947) was serving as the catalyst which changed the music business from a side show