Producing an album is a lot of work, but someone has to do it.
From inception to finished product, making an album involves a number of moving parts both creative and technical: selecting session musicians, guiding arrangements, ensuring recording quality, and more. The end result, hopefully, is the product of the artist’s vision for the album, whatever that may be.
Even the most prolific musicians, including those who occasionally produce their own albums, will likely tell you that the guidance, support and encouragement a good producer can provide is invaluable.
“A lot of people don’t listen. If you listen carefully, people tell you what they need,” said Rick Rubin, who has produced countless top-selling artists. Forbes in 2014. “I’m going to hang out with an artist and listen very carefully to what he’s telling me and have him talk about his real goals – his highest, highest goals. We’ll get to the heart of why they started doing what they do in the first place.”
Some bands use 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.
Although their name may not be the one splashed on an album cover, the producer is crucial to the success of any project. Which is the best? We count the top 25 rock producers.