Sunday, April 1, 2012

Producer Spotlight: Chris Thomas

Producers and engineers are some of the unsung heroes in music. They craft good songs into sonically pleasing pieces that we know and love.

Look in your collection. I bet you own at least one record produced by Chris Thomas. He's certainly produced some of my all-time favorite albums. The funny thing about Chris Thomas is that I could not say he has a "signature" sound.  He gets good, solid, no-frills sounds. He did help mix "Dark Side of the Moon" which is one of the greatest albums of all time.

His production work with the Sex Pistols is raw and basic. Some of that carries over to his work with the Pretenders. In the 80's he helped Pete Townshend launch his solo career and INXS to reach their greatest heights.

Chris Thomas started as an assistant to Beatles producer George Martin.

 In 1968 George Martin went on a vacation during the making of the "White Album" and left Chris to assume the producers role! 

 in the hot seat between George and Paul.

Thomas has said he also played keyboards on some of the songs like "Piggies", "Savoy Truffle". "Bungalow Bill"and the out-take "Not Guilty"

The Beatles "Not Guilty"


He mixed Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". You may have heard of it? lol

If you are a fan of the Beatles "Abbey Road' you need to check out Badfinger's 1974 release "Wish You Were Here" It is great, one of my all-time favorites now.
 Sadly the record company didn't support the album and the band's fortunes descended even further.

   Badfinger "In The Meantime/Some Other Time"



Thomas went onto to work on Roxy Music's first few releases.

The biggest success coming with the single  

                       "Love is the Drug"




Singer Frankie Miller is in the same league as Rod Stewart but never cracked the US.

 Frankie Miller "Be Good To Yourself"




 ...and then came the Pistols...

Thomas and Bill Price produced the album

               Sex Pistols "God Save the Queen"



Back to the mainstream with McCartney's "Back to the Egg" album. The last album credited to "Wings"

Paul McCartney & Wings "Getting Closer"


The first Pretenders album combined punk energy with Chrissie Hynde's melodic gifts. The original band would only make 1 more record (Thomas also produced "Pretenders II")

 "Brass in Pocket" introduced them to us here in the US




  Pete Townshend's "Empty Glass" LP was huge smash in 1980. The punk movement had an influence. I would think Townshend liked Thomas' work on the Sex Pistols album.

 The album contained hits like "Let My Love Open the Door" and 

                                      "Rough Boys"


Pete ripping into a couple British journalist by name 

"they don't give a shit Keith Moon is dead.."

                                        "Jools and Jim" 



 Chris also produced the follow up for Pete "All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes". 

It wasn't exactly music for teens, but I grew to love it.


                       "the Sea Refuses No River"

      The sweet sound of a mid-life crisis

                                "Slit Skirts"




Thomas helped Chrissie Hynde navigate the Pretenders comeback album "Learning to Crawl" in 1984.

                       "Middle of the Road"

                                "Show Me"



   INXS went to new heights with the Chris Thomas produced "Listen Like Thieves" with hits like "What You Need". (He also produced the follow-ups "Kick" and "X")

                               INXS    "This Time"





In 1983 Elton John had one of his comebacks with the "Too Low For Zero" release. (Thomas also produced the followup "Breaking Hearts" and more releases that followed)

            "I Guess That's Why They Call it The Blues"




 Thomas is listed as one of three producers on the Human League's underrated "Hysteria" album

                Human League "The Lebanon"




For a great interview with Chris Thomas go here:

Interview with Mix online

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