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Bossy Monkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:30 PM
Original message
Best (or worst) record producer?
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 06:02 PM by undisclosedlocation
You know, I don't even have a suggestion. Phil Spector is widely ridiculed, especially here, but if memory serves he was responsible for "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling". Roy Thomas Baker similarly went in for walls of sound but it worked, at least say on "Bohemian Rhapsody". Some people praise Eno for what he did for Talking Heads and U2 (with Lanois in the latter case); others blast him/them for same. I also want to say nice things about Bob Johnston for his work with Dylan and S&G back in the day. Probably not the most popular guy in Newport back then, but what can you do?

Worst, just on general principle, is probably Alan Parsons, even though I'm the idiot who'll actually admit in public to liking "Year of the Cat" (the song and the album). Or Jeff Lynne; though he's been a personal hero of mine for far longer than I am willing to admit, everything he's touched since ELO has turned to bilge. He seems to be a lot of help with the songwriting, because the songs on Petty and Harrison records he produced tended to be better than average, but the awful backing vocals straight from "Out of the Blue" tend to detract.
Or Puffy, just because he can't settle on a nickname.

First ever EDIT to add question marks
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jdsmith Donating Member (612 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. Spector was responsible for more than "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling"
His Christmas album, for gosh' sakes, is right nuke-you-lar (Darlene Love's "Baby, Please Come Home") and his "girl group" singles (e.g., anything by the Ronettes) is super.

On the other hand, he was and is CRAZY.

Why (besides his personal problems) would he come in for ridicule "around here"? I'll agree that he botched his shots (sorry) with the Ramones, Leonard Cohen, and most famously the Beatles, but is any of the reaction a Kill-the-Idols deal: knock off the canonical "Greatest Producer"?
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Bossy Monkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. As it turns out, it was just one person who blasted Spector
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flamingyouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. Phil Spector is a mad genius
I love his great stuff (kudos for citing my all-time favorite Christmas song, "Baby, Please Come Home," by Darlene Love), but his work doesn't translate to everything. "Let it Be" would be the most absurd example.

And I don't hate that Ramones record - but then again, I'm a huge Ramones fan. :shrug:
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DODI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:02 PM
Response to Original message
3. I was going to say Alan Parsons
I love all the Al Stewart stuff. I have been listening to Past, Present and Future and Time Passages lately, and I love the way he sings about history. Roads to Moscow is a brilliant account of the a Russian soldier fighting the Nazis. I also tend to love about 3 - 4 songs off of the old Alan Parsons Project Albums, but that's me. I also have a great deal of respect for George Martin.
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
4. best was Tom Dowd
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Bossy Monkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Was he twiddlin' knobs on "Whipping Post"?
I forgot about old Tom. :)
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. oh yeah
Back in the 50's, he was an engineer for Atlantic Records. He practically invented stereo recording as well as perfecting live studio recording, and engineered many of the best jazz albums of the period, notably John Coltrane's "Giant Steps".

In the rock era, he produced Cream, Derek & The Dominoes, The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Clapton's best solo efforts, and so much more.

He's no longer with us, but as the members of Skynyrd called him, he was "Father Dowd".
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dolo amber Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:13 PM
Response to Original message
5. Best...Giorgio Moroder
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 06:18 PM by dolo amber
n/t
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GCP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:29 PM
Response to Original message
6. Err - George Martin for the Beatles?
He made John and Paul see what was possible without which the whole Beatles phenomenon would never have happened.

He did the piano solo in "In My Life" - recording that middle bit at half speed and a lower key before doubling it to fit the song at the right tempo and the right key.

Try that, Phil Spector.
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
9. Quincy Jones is pretty good
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pink-o Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:28 PM
Response to Original message
10. In the late 80's
it was all LA and Babyface Edmonds. They were HOT HOT HOT. I also loved Nick Lowe in the early 80s, producing those great new-wave discs for Elvis Costello, Dave Edmonds, and the Damned. Amazing feats with analog technology.

But you're right--the guy who should get the prize in this catagory is George Martin. Talk about incredible results with analog! Man that stuff was jurassic: 4 and 8 tracks on magnetic tape, and the more you overdubbed the thinner the tape became. Not to mention, you had to balance each track perfectly before dubbing, because once on the master tape, you didn't get a second chance.

It's amazing the Beatles even tried--we listened to their tunes on crappy record players, or transistor radios with tiny, tinny little speaks. Now, of course, I can hear what they must have experienced in Abbey Road studios just by firing up the ipod--which only furthers my awe for this bunch.

Their songs still rock after 40-some years, and the production sounds totally fresh.
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Bossy Monkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #10
20. Your reply is actually to #6 above; I'm the idiot who forgot George Martin
entirely.

Actually, human hearing is amazing. Even if you can only sort of hear the tune (tinny radios, bad PA, etc.) you can usually fill in the blanks yourself if you know it.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:30 PM
Response to Original message
11. Brian Wilson and George Martin are my favorites
Wilson had some great melodies to work with, granted, but he produced some spectacular and atmospheric arrangements. As for Martin, the vocal sound he achieved with the Beatles was just perfect--nobody made leads or harmonies sound that good before or since.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 08:11 AM
Response to Reply #11
31. Have you seen George Martin's TV production: "Rhythm of Life"
It's actually a 3-part series on aspects of music: Melody, Rhythm & Hramony. Sir George illustrates each topic with examples--played by him, recorded around the world, or explained with the aid of friends. Of course, his "friends" happen to include most of the musical biggies from the 60's onward.

In one episode, he visits Brian Wilson. They sit in Brian's home studio & Sir George remixes bits of "Good Vibrations". Brian shakes his head in awe & admits that the new version is a even better. A truly fascinating look at two great minds working together. (Brian Wilson has graduated from "nuts" to "wealthy, eccentric genius"--good for him.)

The shows can be seen on the never-ending rotation that is Ovation Cable.

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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #31
39. No, I haven't seen that
But I'll be sure to try and get hold of it somehow. It's interesting what Wilson was able to accomplish while being essentially deaf in one ear. The days of mono were his friend for that reason. :)
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Davis_X_Machina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
12. Creed Taylor -- worst ever.
The man damn near killed jazz personally, in the '70's.
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johnnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:51 PM
Response to Original message
14. Johnnie Eckert is pretty good
Oh wait..that's me...lol. I like producing and I have done some cool records, but not even close to George Martin and Brian Wilson. I am not a huge Spector fan though. Too much going on. I have to say that one very fine produced record is AC/DC's Powerage. George Young did some great records.
Felton Jarvis did some great records with Elvis and speaking of, Sam Phillips did some mighty awesome things with what he had back in the 50's. If I had to pick one influence, it would be George Martin though.
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
15. Worst
Giorgio Moroder.

Somebody had to say it.
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dolo amber Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Oh that's just it Mister Man...
(See post 5... :mad:)

It's handbags at 20 paces for you... :P

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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 08:57 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. I knew I could make those blue eyes
Turn red. ;-)
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NightTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
16. Some of my favorite record producers (Long post!)
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 08:10 PM by NightTrain
THE BEATLES & GEORGE MARTIN: They'd be landmark figures if they had *only* produced SGT. PEPPER. But add to it such rock-baroque masterworks as REVOLVER, THE WHITE ALBUM, and ABBEY ROAD, and you have a body of work that's formidable simply for what it sounds like, much less for what it says. Then add in the early singles, which can rock a house as hard today as they did 40 years ago. What can you say but, "Wow!"

BERRY GORDY, JR.: Founder and president of the Motown empire, Gordy spent a lot of time producing his fledgling company's early singles as well. Motown's pre-1964 string of hits with Gordy at the helm included the Miracles' "Bad Girl" (leased to Chess), Marv Johnson's "You Got What It Takes" (leased to United Artists), Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)," and the Contours' "Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)." And before Motown, Gordy had co-authored such Jackie Wilson hits as "Reet Petite," "To Be Loved," "Lonely Teardrops," and "That's Why (I Love You So)."

KENNETH GAMBLE & LEON HUFF: They began in the late 1960s producing such sweet-soul hits as the Intruders' "Cowboys To Girls," Archie Bell & The Drells' "I Can't Stop Dancing," and Jerry Butler's "Only The Strong Survive." Then, in the 1970s, the epicenter of soul music shifted from Detroit and Memphis to Philadelphia. And Gamble and Huff were responsible for that sea change. From their Sigma Sound Studios and Philadelphia International label emanated such classic sounds as "TSOP," every hit by Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes and the O'Jays, several of the Spinners' best-loved smashes, Lou Rawls' "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine," and McFadden & Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now." Whether or not you like(d) disco, you can't deny that Gamble & Huff had a profound influence on American popular music.

ISAAC HAYES & DAVID PORTER: For the Memphis-based Stax/Volt family of labels, Hayes and Porter co-wrote and produced every magnificent Sam & Dave recording, like "Hold On! I'm Comin'," "Soul Man," "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby," and "I Thank You." Other Stax artists with whom H&P worked: Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd, Rufus and Carla Thomas, and Booker T. & The MGs. As a performer, Isaac Hayes helped to expand the boundaries of soul music with such groundbreaking LPs as HOT BUTTERED SOUL, which was every bit as expansive and influential as Marvin Gaye's WHAT'S GOING ON, Curtis Mayfield's SUPERFLY, and Sly & The Family Stone's THERE'S A RIOT GOIN' ON.

BRIAN HOLLAND, LAMONT DOZIER, AND EDDIE HOLLAND. Motown's legendary songwriting/production triumvirate created dozens of classic hits for the Four Tops, the Supremes, Martha & The Vandellas, the Marvelettes, and numerous other acts.

JERRY LEIBER & MIKE STOLLER: Along with having written and produced every hit the Coasters ever had, L&S also penned such rock 'n' roll chestnuts as "Hound Dog," "Kansas City," "Jailhouse Rock," "Love Potion #9," "Ruby Baby," and "D.W. Washburn," among many others. They also trained a young Phil Spector and, with their Red Bird and Blue Cat labels, were responsible for such '60s hits as the Ad-Libs' "Boy From New York City" and everything by the Shangri-La's.

LEE "SCRATCH" PERRY: Perry defined early reggae, epitomized by Junior Murvin's "Police and Thieves." His brief collaboration with The Clash gave him white-rock prominence, but it was Perry's perfection of "dub" that made him internationally influential--for dub laid the essential sonic groundwork for '80s and '90s dance music.

SAM PHILLIPS: The accidental genius behind Sun Records. Among the artists he produced: Ike Turner, Jackie Brenston, Howlin' Wolf, Little Milton, B.B. King, James Cotton, Junior Parker, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy Lee Riley, Carl Mann, and Charlie Rich.

RICK RUBIN: Rubin's straightforward, bare-knuckles approach to the mixing board has revolutionized popular music. On L.L. Cool J's debut album, RADIO, he pushed the punch and smack of the drum track even farther into the listener's face than Run-D.M.C. had done just months earlier, helping to set the sonic stage for the fury of later rap. He next took three punks from the Lower East Side and armed them with Zeppelin-esque crunch, turning the Beastie Boys into multi-platinum heroes of every white frathouse in the U.S.A. Then he put Run-D.M.C. in the studio with Aerosmith, ushering in the rock-rap alliance that continues some 18 years later. He preserved Slayer's buzzsaw sound, gave the Cult muscle, and locked the Red Hot Chili Peppers in an abandoned mansion until the veteran punk-funk outfit wrote their first ballad, "Under The Bridge," their breakthrough hit. He also made Mick Jagger sound as if he cared and convinced Johnny Cash to do a rock record.

PHIL SPECTOR: Along with the Wall of Sound--which gave us the Crystals, the Ronettes, Darlene Love, and the Righteous Brothers, among others--Spector also produced Curtis Lee's magnificent doo-wop rocker "Pretty Little Angel Eyes," Gene Pitney's early chart single "Every Breath I Take," and the Checkmates Ltd's "Black Pearl." Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller also called in the young Spector to put the finishing touches on Ben E. King's "Spanish Harlem." Later, Spector produced both LET IT BE and the Ramones.

More to come, if y'all are interested!
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johnnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 08:14 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Great list Night Train
I forgot about Berry Gordy and Rick Rubin.
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TroubleMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 10:43 PM
Response to Original message
21. Best - Willie Mitchell

Largely responsible for Memphis Soul, Al Green, Ann Peebles, and a lot of others.
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mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 11:18 PM
Response to Original message
22. Most underrated was Tom Wilson. He produced Miles Davis,...
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 11:23 PM by mitchum
most of the classic Dylan, Velvet Underground, Animals, many more...

I also argue that he invented folk rock. Simon and Garfunkel's sophomore album stiffed upon release. Wilson went back into the studio, added electric instruments and a rhythm section to "Sounds of Silence" It was released as a single...and you know the rest.
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 11:57 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. I agree, he's one of the giants
Wilson also produced the debut by the Mothers of Invention, "Freak Out!". He didn't realize they weren't exactly the blues band he saw jamming in the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, so when he signed them up with MGM, he was a bit taken aback by their real material. According to Zappa, Wilson was on acid when producing the album, and since Zappa abhorred drugs, that made it all the more interesting and ironic.

Gotta love Wilson's spontaneous laughter on Dylan's "Bringing It All Back Home" album.
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mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
23. I nominate Dom Was for worst contemporary producer...
everything he touches comes out slicker than owl shit

Shel Talmy for worst classic period producer. The world's greatest pop song "Waterloo Sunset" has one of the world's worst mixes
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LowerManhattanite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 11:51 PM
Response to Original message
24. A few of my faves?
Spector, taking all his personal sh*t aside, is a legend, a golden ear and pretty much the father of "Power Pop". I hate what he did on "Let it Be", but those tapes came to him, dumped in his lap. Listen to his stellar work on George's "All Things Must Pass" to hear what he does when he's involved from jump.

Just a few of my other greats:

The legendary Thom Bell (Phiily soul and the first Grammy winner for "Producer of the Year")

Charles Stepney (Seminal Chicago soul producer for Earth, Wind & Fire, the Dells and Billy Stewart...yeah..."Summertime"...that Billy Stewart.)

Jerry Ragovoy (Another phenomenal soul producer of teh 60s with TOO many great recordings to name).

George Martin (nothing else to say).

Willie Mitchell (father of the grits and gravy, lemonade and smothered chicken soaked Hi/London/Al Green/Memphis sound)

and too many other to mention (Prince, Burt Bacharach, Norman Whitfield, etc., you know who you are...) :)
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LowerManhattanite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 11:53 PM
Response to Original message
25. Jeff Lynne...
...a golden ear. I was gonna list him in mine but thought my list was too long.

Excellent choice!
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Bossy Monkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 01:36 AM
Response to Reply #25
29. Though I love Jeff Lynne, I blasted him
Check those reading glasses :)
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CalebHayes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 12:01 AM
Response to Original message
27. Jerry Flin does some good rock stuff.
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 12:27 AM
Response to Original message
28. Quincy Jones?
I always thought he was pretty damn good at it.
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Screaming Lord Byron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 07:49 AM
Response to Original message
30. 'Phil Spector is widely ridiculed'?
Is this happening in an alternative universe, or something?
I'll go with Eno, Tony Visconti and Tom Dowd.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 08:21 AM
Response to Original message
32. How about a versatility award for T-Bone Burnett?
He produced the soundtrack for O Brother Where Art Thou. His producing credits include Los Lobos Will the Wolf Survive & works by with Marshall Crenshaw, Gillian Welch, Elvis Costello & Spinal Tap.

Of course, all of this is eclipsed by his youthful accomplishment--producing "Paralyzed" by The Legendary Stardust Cowboy.



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ChavezSpeakstheTruth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
33. Dr Dre
Or Brian Wilson
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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
34. Flood n/t
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Screaming Lord Byron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
35. How could I forget Conny Plank?
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
36. Currently, Daniel Lanois is my favorite producer.
I love the full "environmental" sound he gets on his albums. I can tell when Lanois produced an album just from hearing it. He has a distinctive style that stands out from the mass produced noise that you so frequently hear.

Historically, I have to throw Alan Touissant and Dave Bartholmew into the mix. Bartholomew is one of the moving forces in the creation of Rock n' Roll and probably prodiuced more early rock hits than anyone else. Toussaint is responsible for bringing the New Orleans sound I love so much to the world.
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XNASA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 08:54 AM
Response to Original message
37. Brian Eno
And I won't hear another word about it.
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Screaming Lord Byron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
38. Mike Hedges, anyone?
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FredScuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 05:51 PM
Response to Original message
40. Best & Worst (Rock category)
Best - Glyn Johns
Worst - Mutt Lange
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