Monday, February 12, 2007

My, Rick Rubin had a good night

The big question, though, was what to do next. And for that they turned to a very unusual man indeed - the prolific and highly eclectic record producer Rick Rubin, who made his name with rap and heavy rock acts during the 1980s and early 1990s. It might not have sounded like a good fit at all, except that Rubin had also earned a reputation for rescuing the careers of more seasoned artists looking for a new direction - everyone from Johnny Cash to Tom Petty and Neil Diamond. One of Rubin's clients once described him as a "song doctor", and that's exactly what the trio from Texas now needed.
Just look at the list of artists he has worked with. Amazing.

It was quite the night for Rubin all round. He had produced one of the other nominees for album of the year, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' hit Stadium Arcadium, and produced two of the tracks on a third - Justin Timberlake's Future Sex/Love Sounds. And that's not to mention Neil Diamond's big comeback, 12 Songs, and the last, posthumous instalment of Johnny Cash's American Recordings series, A Hundred Highways. Both were released during the Grammies' eligibility period, which runs from October to September, rather than the previous calendar year.

Not too many people outside the music industry have heard of Rubin. And even the Chicks themselves weren't too sure who he was. They just noticed his name on a lot of the albums they were listening to. Among those he has worked with, he is regarded with deep awe and reverence. And it's quite some list by now, spanning everyone from Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys to Slayer, System of a Down and Rage Against the Machine, by way of Mick Jagger, Donovan and The Jesus and Mary Chain.

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