Tom Dowd, Legendary Engineer and Producer, Dies

Oct 30, 2002 12:00 PM,


Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

Tom Dowd, a Grammy-winning music producer and recording engineer whose resume provided a virtual roadmap of pop, rock, jazz and R&B music over the past half-century, died Sunday at an assisted living facility in Aventura, Fla. He was 77.

For an in-depth look at his remarkable career, read the two-part interview with Tom Dowd, by Blair Jackson, from the October and November, 1999 issues of Mix.

No cause of death was immediately announced.

Dowd worked with such recording legends as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, John Coltrane, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers.

Earlier this year, at the 44th Grammy Awards, Dowd was honored with a Trustees Award in recognition of "lifelong artistic contributions to the recording medium" and "outstanding contributions to the industry in a nonperforming capacity." Dowd was inducted into the TEC Awards Hall of Fame in 1999.

While Dowd trained as a musician, he worked on the Manhattan Project at Columbia University from 1942-46. In 1947, he applied his knowledge of physics to disc recording, and went on to build the first stereo and 8-track recording consoles at Atlantic Records in 1954. "I wanted a machine that you could back up and add to it," he told the Miami Herald in an interview. "That put the chink in everyone's armor, because Atlantic now had a unique sound."

Dowd won his only Grammy in 1992 for Best Album Notes. He shared the award with Ahmet Ertegun, Arif Mardin, Dave Marsh, David Ritz, Jerry Wexler and Thulani Davis for the notes on Aretha Franklin's Queen of Soul—The Atlantic Recordings.

He teamed up with producer Wexler and arranger Mardin on some of Franklin's biggest hits, including the 1968 album Lady Soul, which featured the hits "Chain of Fools" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." Dowd, Wexler and Mardin also turned out some of the late Dusty Springfield's biggest hits, including the legendary Dusty in Memphis album, which featured "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Windmills of Your Mind."

Dowd also produced albums for Bette Midler, Booker T. & The MG's, Buddy Guy, Eddie Money, Gladys Knight, Herbie Mann, Kenny Loggins, Diana Ross and Wilson Pickett. He produced, arrange and Chicago's Chicago XIV, and so many others.

Dowd's engineering credits included projects with a diverse array of performers, including Art Farmer, Betty Carter, Big Joe Turner, Billy Taylor, Bobby Darin, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Bobby Short, Carmen McRae, Charles Mingus, Chick Corea, Freddie Hubbard, LaVern Baker, Milt Hinton, Milt Jackson, Mose Allison, Ornette Coleman and Patti LaBelle. He engineered seven Coltrane albums, including the 1960 album My Favorite Things, and five albums for Charles, includingThe Genius of Ray Charles in 1959.

Dowd is survived by his wife, Cheryl Dowd, and three children, Dana, Steven and Todd. The Herald reported that no funeral services would be held.

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95



Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.