Ultravox. XTC. U2. Simple Minds. These are names of bands that I immediately think of at the reference of this man, Steve Lillywhite. I see it immediately on the flip side of the "Boy" sleeve, and when I think of those catchy early XTC songs and check the production credit. Oh! Of course! Steve Lillywhite is someone I think of when I think of the better new wave and no wave acts of the 80s UK scene.
Basically, when I think Island Records, this is the guy that is almost as synonymous with that label as U2 and Ultravox are. Another thing I start to wonder, does U2 just go from "THE" producer to "THE" producer? What production whores! haa haa. Focusing back to Mr Lillywhite, I think of a certain treble pan sound in the atmospherics of the production qualities. Which is something that I have a lack of preference for, being a bass gal, but he makes treble work for the aesthetic of a rough and live no super over produced sound. There is a raw and refreshing spin to the way those records were produced, that at this point makes them sound dated because of it, but at the time if I was a band of that era I would want a certain level of wide eyed quality to it, which I think he is brilliant at.
Now I dont know too much about the specifics of production, where the drops and gains of + and - in the 60k and such are concerned, but I can be explained these things by those who are production proficient. What I do know and can hear is quality and why things are done the way they are. I think you have to have a good understanding of the music that is being put in front of you and who the band is, in order to be a good producer. One half of what makes a good producer is production qualities that bring the full portrait of an artist to light. I don't think hip hop producers should produce punk, its anti-climactic and just put WRONG!
That said, I look at the list of artists and albums Lillywhite produced, and it all makes sense: Siouxsie and The Banshees-The Scream, Simple Minds-Sparkle in the Rain, Psychedelic Furs-s/t, and Talk Talk Talk, Big Country- The Crossing, Wondertown and Marshall Crenshaw-Field Day just to name the few. There is an overriding similarity that these albums all have and they are some of the ones that are the standouts when people talk albums, The Banshees "Scream" for one!
Thank you Steve!
For more info on Steve Lillywhite GO HERE.
For Steve Lillywhite on producing albums, READ THIS.