Obituary

Bruce Swedien, Grammy-Winning Audio Engineer, Dies at 86

Bruce Swedien
Maury Phillips/Getty Images for Pensado Awards

Bruce Swedien speaks onstage during the Pensado Awards 2015 at Sony Pictures Studios on August 30, 2015 in Culver City, California.

Bruce Swedien, the legendary audio engineer behind Michael Jackson's Off the WallThrillerBad and Dangerous, died on Monday night (Nov. 16). He was 86 years old.

Swedien's daughter, Roberta, shared that he "passed away peacefully" on Facebook. "He had a long life full of love, great music, big boats and a beautiful marriage," she wrote. "We will celebrate that life. He was loved by everyone. Rest in Peace dear sweet Daddy-ji."

In his early 20s, Swedien worked under Bill Putnam at Universal Recording, where he recorded artists including Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Dinah Washington. Soon, he was introduced to Quincy Jones, who asked him to collaborate on Michael Jackson's 1979 album, Off the Wall.

Swedien went on to record and mix more of Jackson's albums, including ThrillerBad and Dangerous. He has also won five engineered album, non classical Grammys for those albums, plus Jones' Back on the Block and Q's Jook Joint.

Jones took to Instagram on Tuesday to mourn the loss of his longtime collaborator and friend. "I am absolutely devastated to learn the news that we lost my dear brother-in-arms, the legendary Bruce Swedien," he wrote alongside a photo of the two smiling in a studio together. "There are not enough words to express how much Bruce meant to me…He was without question the absolute best engineer in the business, & for more than 70 years I wouldn’t even think about going into a recording session unless I knew Bruce was behind the board."

"I have always said it’s no accident that more than four decades later no matter where I go in the world, in every club, like clockwork at the witching hour you hear 'Billie Jean,' 'Beat It,' 'Wanna Be Starting Something,' & 'Thriller,'" he continued. "That was the sonic genius of Bruce Swedien, & to this day I can hear artists trying to replicate him. I’m going to miss your presence every single day 'Svensk', but I will cherish every moment we shared together laughin’, lovin’, livin’, & givin’...Rest In Peace my brother."

See the post here.