Producing an album is a lot of work, but someone’s got to do it.
From inception to finished product, the making of an album involves a number of both creative and technical moving parts: selecting session musicians, guiding the arrangements, ensuring the quality of the recording, etc. The end result, hopefully, is the fruition of the artist’s vision for the album, whatever that may be.
Even the most prolific musicians, including those who sometimes produce their own albums, will likely tell you that the advice, support and encouragement that a good producer can bring to the table is priceless.
“Many people don’t listen. If you listen carefully, people explain to you what it is that they need,” Rick Rubin, who has produced countless top-selling artists, told Forbes in 2014. “I’ll spend time with an artist and listen very carefully to what they tell me and get them to talk about their true goals – their highest, highest goals. We’ll go back to the heart of why they started doing what they are doing in the first place.”
Some bands utilize their own members as producers – like Jimmy Page, who produced all eight of Led Zeppelin‘s studio albums, or Brian Wilson, who produced or co-produced many of the Beach Boys‘ best-known albums.
Though their name isn’t the one splashed on an album’s cover, the producer is crucial to any project’s success. Which one is tops? We’re counting down the Top 25 Rock Producers.