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The 10 best music producers of all-time

Here are some of the best music producers of all time in no particular order.

For those of you interested in music production, it might be worth taking a look at the artists who have come before you to set the stage. Let’s get started.

George Martin

George Martin has to be one of the most famous producers in rock history due to how much he contributed to The Beatles’ success.

English record producer George Martin with The Beatles

From composing string arrangements to following the technical naivete of John and Paul, George Martin’s significance in the band’s artistic development can’t go understated.

While his discography outside of his work with The Beatles may not be as noteworthy, the ingenuity of records such as Sgt. Pepper’s, Revolver, and Abbey Road continue to impact us today.

Keigo Oyamada

Keigo Oyamada, better known as Cornelius, is a Japanese musician and producer known as the co-founder of Flipper’s Guitar, as well as his solo career.

Keigo Oyamada aka Cornelius

His 1997 solo record, Fantasma, brought him to a wider audience, garnering praise from American critics who began to cite him as the “modern day Brian Wilson”, or the “Japanese Beck”.

Keigo’s vibrant and exploratory brand of pop music covers a wide range of cultural ground, from jungle music to bossa nova shoegaze, etc.

His talent for synthesizing musical ideas into a cohesive whole is rare, and deserves far more recognition than it is often given.

Dr. Dre

It probably isn’t a good idea to write an article about the best producers without mentioning Dr. Dre.

His career has gone through a number of iterations, from initially spearheading the G-Funk movement, to the world of gangsta rap and West Coast hip hop.

American record producer Dr. Dre with Snoop Dogg

His reputation for changing the game, and constantly being on the vanguard of musical innovation, has made it increasingly difficult for him to move forward as an artist.

However, despite all of this, Dr. Dre’s influence and mastery is still a force to be reckoned with.

Steve Albini

While technically not a “producer” in the truest sense of the term, Albini’s legacy (as well as his unusually low rates) have earned him a spot on the list in our books.

Steve Albini, American musician and producer

He’s more of an engineer, and is solely concerned about capturing a band’s performance so that their records sound as close to their live performance as possible – oftentimes at the behest of the artist themselves.

You may know him from his work with Nirvana, Pixies, and The Breeders, but Albini’s discography is extensive as it is raw.

Jimmy Page

While he’s best known for being the lead guitarist of Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page was also an incredible producer and was responsible for Led Zeppelin’s sound as a whole.

young Jimmy Page performing with Led Zeppelin

He began his career as a session musician in England, where he was able to observe and learn some of the skills of being an audio engineer.

It’s from this formative time in his life where Jimmy Page became privy to a multitude of recording techniques, standard as well as unorthodox.

Led Zeppelin broke into the 70’s with one of the biggest sounds that had been captured up until that point, and Jimmy was the brains behind it.

Many of the techniques he employed during his time with Led Zeppelin are still used in major studios today.

Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones’ 70-year-long career has heralded some of the most significant moments in music history.

He started out as a freelance arranger, working with artists such as Cannonball Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie, and Count Basie.

Grammy Award-winning producer Quincy Jones

From there he went on to become the vice-president of Mercury Records as the first African American to have held the position.

Perhaps the achievement Quincy is best known for is his production work with Michael Jackson. He produced three of Jackson’s best-selling albums, Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad.

The legacy of these records is still felt today, and without them, modern music would not be the same.

Kanye West

Kanye West is one of the best producers of all time. Despite his controversial opinions and personality, he has a great ear for melody and sound design.

Ye is often cited as a major influence from the majority of hip hop artists today. His sampling is so creative, and his beats are revolutionary.

Kanye West (Ye) in the studio

Kanye’s artistry and talent also spans far beyond the realm of just music, as he is an incredibly talented fashion designer. He even ran for president and almost won.

Kanye’s impact on contemporary music and culture can not be understated or overlooked.

Aphex Twin

Richard David James, better known as Aphex Twin, is hands down the greatest music producer of all time.

Richard is the MacGyver of audio, as he can make a beat with a toaster. Much of his early work was created with random electronic items he would find at pawn shops and rewire to make unique sounds.

Aphex Twin, musician and producer

Beyond his technical genius, Aphex Twin is know for subverting the standard formats and structures of popular music.

His music is good and intelligent. Nobody can make music like Aphex Twin.

Daft Punk

This iconic duo of French robots revolutionized dance music in the 90s, and did it again in the 2000s.

Their bold style is so different from what everybody else does. You might think that it’s because they are robots, but they’re actually two human beings who wear helmets.

Daft Punk, French electronic music duo

Daft Punk is probably the only group who could get away with sampling some of the most recognizable pieces of music in a way that isn’t derivative.

In the 2010s, they went on to revitalize the dance scene yet again by enlisting Nile Rogers to make one of the most funky records of all time.

Charlie Puth

Charlie Puth is an amazing music producer, who’s supremely crisp pop music has taken the world by storm. Most notably, making “See You Again” an international bittersweet anthem of sorrow.

Charlie Puth, American singer and record producer

Well known in the music industry for his perfect pitch, Charlie is able to create extraordinary melodies that chart in the millions from his very own bedroom studio. Music itself could not be the same if not for his genius.

Conclusion

While this is by no means a definitive list, these are just a few artists who we felt deserved some attention and honoring.

Go check them out for yourself and see if there’s any influence or inspiration you can get from their work.

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