Noted Producer Tom Dowd Dies
Tom Dowd, a legendary record producer and engineer who worked with Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, and a host of other stars spanning jazz, soul and rock over 50 years, has died in south Florida at ageTom Dowd, a legendary record producer and engineer who worked with Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, and a host of other stars spanning jazz, soul and rock over 50 years, has died in south Florida at age 77. Among the numerous hits he had a hand in was Derek And The Dominos' "Layla," the rock classic featuring the dueling guitars of Clapton and the late Duane Allman.
Dowd died yesterday morning (Oct. 27) at a nursing home in Aventura, Fla., after fighting a respiratory disease for two years, his daughter, Dana Dowd, said. "His contribution to music was immense. He covered so many genres over so many years and touched so many lives. He loved what he did," she said.
Dowd worked at Atlantic Records for more than 20 years before becoming a sought-after independent producer in the mid-1960s. The roster of artists he recorded with included jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, engineering "Giant Steps" and "My Favorite Things," and Charles Mingus.
Soul diva Franklin was one of his personal favorites; their pairing was responsible for the hit "Respect." Dowd also record such R&B luminaries as Wilson Pickett, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, and James Brown in Florida and Memphis for Atlantic.
His relationship with Clapton was one of his most enduring, lasting from the British guitarist's days with Cream through Derek And The Dominos and his later solo successes. Clapton called him "the ideal recording man" in a 1996 interview.
He also produced the Allman Brothers Band in the southern rockers' heyday. Their "Live at Fillmore East" was probably the recording he liked most that he had worked on, he told Reuters in 2000. Dowd, who worked out of the famed Criteria Studios in Miami for many years, also recorded Neil Young, Rod Stewart, and Lynyrd Skynyrd's anthem "Freebird."
He was considered a pioneer in the studio and is credited with introducing the first eight-track recording machine into a major studio in 1957. In later years, he lamented what he thought was the sorry state of the modern pop music industry he saw as lacking in real talent and overly driven by commercial interests. He was recently honored with a National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award.
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