Joe Henry has produced albums by Solomon Burke, Allan Toussaint, Hugh Laurie and others. The versatile singer, songwriter and producer has just released Reverie, his 12th album. It features acoustic performances from a three-day jam session in his basement.
McSweeney's contributor Dan Kennedy found what he thought was a dream job in the music industry: Director of Creative Development at Atlantic Records. Rock on: an Office Power Ballad is the tale of his time at the label — where he arrived just in time for what he describes as the collapse of the music business.
Quincy Jones started his career as a trumpeter in Lionel Hampton's big band in the early '50s. But Jones never became a noted instrumentalist. What made him famous and wealthy was his work as a record producer — perhaps, most notably, for the Michael Jackson mega hit Thriller.
Called the "godfather of hip-hop," Russell Simmons has been credited with bringing rap to the mainstream. In the early 1980s, he founded Def Jam Records with Rick Rubin. The label launched legendary hip-hop acts like Run-D.M.C., the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J. Simmons' hip-hop business empire quickly expanded beyond music. At various points, it has included Def Comedy Jam, which introduced comedians Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence, and the Phat Farm clothing line.
He's best known for his playing with Booker T & the MGs. He co-wrote such hits as "In the Midnight Hour," "Soul Man" and Otis Redding's "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay." This interview first aired September 18, 1990.
He celebrates his 70th birthday today. In his 50-year career he's worked with just about anyone who is anybody in the music business. As a teenager he played backup for Billie Holiday, along with his 16-year-old friend, Ray Charles. At 18 he began playing the trumpet in Lionel Hampton's band beside Clifford Brown. He went on to work with Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Lesley Gore and many others. He wrote the theme songs for the TV shows Sanford & Son and Ironside, and music for the films In Cold Blood, For the Love of Ivy and The Pawnbroker.
Record producer Nick Venet produced more than 300 albums in his career and collected numerous Grammy nominations and awards. He was co-producer of a Bobby Darin box set (Rhino). He was also Darin's producer and friend. Nick Venet died in 1998. This interview first aired March 19, 1996.
An interview with former Atlantic Records executive Jerry Wexler. Wexler was the producer behind some of the greatest soul music of the '60s, including classic sessions with Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding.
The founder of Elektra Records, Jac Holzman. talks about working with The Doors. Holzman wrote about his years in the record business in "Follow the Music: The Life and High Times of Elektra Records in the Great Years of American Pop Culture." Rebroadcast of 7/7/98