He is a record
producer born in Egham, England, who began his career in music when he got
a job with Polygram Records as a tape operator.
He moved on to
work with the group Ultravox when he produced a demo
for them that landed them a contract with Island Records. This also saw him
being offered the position of staff producer there.
While still in
his early twenties he achieved his first chart single when he produced “Hong Kong Garden”, which reached No. 7 in the UK, for Siouxsie and
the Banshees in 1978. That same
year he worked with the British reggae band Steel Pulse on their single “Ku
When the ‘80s
arrived he found himself producing the successful Peter Gabriel III in 1980, where he was also given whistling credits,
as well as the debut albums of The Psychedelic Furs an U2. During the rest of the ‘80s he
remained extremely in demand and produced many other artists and groups. He married the singer Kirsty MacColl in 1984 and she
sang backing on many of his recordings. His work with The Pogues
on the single he was producing, “Fairytale of New York”, saw Kirsty as the female lead and became a massive hit in 1987.
Moving into the
1990s he continued as a successful producer and several albums that achieved
platinum stats. He and Kirsty MacColl went their own
separate ways in 1994 after being married for ten years and having two children. At the end of the decade he was included
in the documentary series abut producers that was aired on BBC Radio 1.
When the new millennium
arrived he started out by being fired by the Dave Matthews for “creative
differences” although several of the recordings appeared in 2001 on The Lillywhite
Sessions bootleg album. The
next year he received an invitation to become managing director of the
Universal Music Group.
He went on to sign
up Darius Danesh and produce his Dive In which brought three chart hits
that entered the Top 10 in the UK. It was also the first number one hit
that had been issued in Mercury Records in eighteen years,
He became Senior
Vice-President of A&R at Columbia Records in 2005 but left them just over
year later. At the same time he
won two Grammy Awards for his work with U2 and the following year got a further
three Grammy Awards for further work with U2. Later in 2006 he worked with Chris
Cornell and Switchfoot.
In 2007 he produced
four tracks for Time on Earth which
was Crowded House’s first studio album in fourteen years and then
moved to working on an EP by Matchbox Twenty. The next year he went back to do further
work with U2 and the group Thirty Seconds to Mars as well as producing for
NPR’s World Café radio
Continuing his work for radio in 2009 he became the presenter of The Lillywhite
Sessions on East Village Radio that was broadcast on a weekly basis.
In 2010 he worked
with Liam Gallagher and his band Beady Eye and the next year he produced the
cast recording of “Spiderman Turn Off the Dark” for Bono and The
In 2012 his services
to music were officially recognised when he received the honour of being made
a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
Later that year
he produced albums for Oberhofer, The Killers, Dave
Matthews Band and Thirty Seconds to Mars.
During his career
he has worked with countless top artists and groups with just a few of them
being Big Country, David Byrne, The Chameleons, Counting Crows, Marshall Crenshaw,
Eddie and the Hot Rods, Climie Fisher, Bruce Foxton, Aretha Franklin, Golden Earring, Happy Mondays,
The La’s, The Lurkers, Anna-Frid Lyngstad, The Dave Matthews
Band, The Members, Morrissey, Phish, Iggy Pop, The Pretenders, Sly & Robbie, The Smiths,
Talking Heads, Thompson Twins, Johnny Thunders, Toyah,
Travis, World Party and XTC.
appreciate, the number of recordings he is credited on are more then 500 with
far too many to mention here but a selection of them include Devils Got a New Disguise: The Very Best
Of… by Aerosmith, Walk Under Ladders by Joan Armatrading,
Live at Barrowland
1983/84, Steeltown, The Seer and Wonderland by Big Country, Don’t Stop Now by Crowded House,
Captive by The Edge, Big Time by Peter Gabriel, Well, Did You Evah!
By Debbie Harry, Piano Man: The Very
Best Of… by Billy Joel, Battle
Born by The Killers, The Annie
Lennox Collection by Annie Lennox, Kite
by Kirsty MacColl, Hoodoo by Alison Moyet,
Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home
by Sinead O’Connor, If I Should
Fall from Grace with God by The Pogues, Dirty Work by The Rolling Stones, Glittering Prize 1981-1992 by Simple
Minds, Live! by
Status Quo, Ha!-Ha!-Ha! by Ultravox and Boy, October, Under a Blood Red Sky and
War by U2 along with numerous
In 2013 he was
named No. 40 in the NME list of 50
Games Without Frontiers (Peter
(Charisma CB 354)(UK45)