Steve Sutherland

Steve Sutherland  |  Apr 17, 2019  |  0 comments
The greatest English pop lyric writers of the 1960s? Steve Sutherland argues his case as he reassesses this mono LP from 1968, recently reissued on 180g vinyl

Afew decades ago I read an interview with Tom Waits where he was asked about the art of songwriting. Tom thought about it for a second, then declared that in fact he found it very easy, thanks to a nine-word magic formula. Those words were: 'Things will be better when we get to Chicago…'.

Steve Sutherland  |  Apr 16, 2019  |  0 comments
Veteran of the late '70s British pub rock scene, this UK-born guitarist began to hone his studio skills when appointed in-house producer for the fledgling Stiff Records label. Steve Sutherland traces the career of the self-effacing pop crafstman they call 'Basher'

What's the most embarrassing thing you've ever done? Snog the wrong person at the office Christmas party? Leave the house with your flies undone? Send an email meant for your partner to your boss by mistake?

Steve Sutherland  |  Mar 19, 2019  |  0 comments
Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day... it's not easy making albums that sell in their millions while maintaining credibility with your hard-core indie fans. Steve Sutherland celebrates the producer able to 'shift the units while keeping everything cool...'

The singer was suicidal. All he did in his down time was compile list after list of the songs he wanted played at his funeral. Luckily, if you want to put it that way, there was actually very little down time because the singer was labouring in the studio 16 hours a day under the illusion that what was expected of him was to make, in his own words, 'the next album to set the world on fire'.

The producer remembers it this way: 'Billy wanted to make a record that people would put on and say, "What the f*** was that?"'.

Steve Sutherland  |  Mar 05, 2019  |  0 comments
Thinking back to just after the time of his dad's Anderson shelter, Steve Sutherland dips into the 180g vinyl reissue of a 1968 concept album with sci-fi overtones

Devo have actually got nothing to do with this article, but in the past week or so it's occurred to me that those crazy coots from Akron, Ohio may have had a point all along.

Steve Sutherland  |  Dec 01, 2018  |  0 comments
One-take, on-the-money thrills... Steve Sutherland listens to the recent 180g vinyl reissue of a 12-track LP that saw a 'steely figure' of a singer become a superstar

In three weeks short of two years' time, just along the hall from here, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, who is in town to support the Black Sanitary Public Works employees, who are striking over higher wages and greater equality with their white co-workers, will step out onto the balcony of Room 306 and be gunned down dead by an assassin later identified as James Earl Ray.

Steve Sutherland  |  Dec 01, 2018  |  0 comments
His clients have included the cream of rock royalty, so how come this British-born producer is one of the most divisive around? Steve Sutherland on the man who successfully collaborated with the band whose shadow, some say, he never escaped

It was a job you wouldn't wish on anyone, even your worst enemy. A deadly odds-on no-win nightmare. And Jeff Lynne had just been handed the gig.

'Every morning I would wake up with half dread, half exhilaration,' he remembered later. 'The idea of doing it was the most thrilling thing imaginable… but messing it up would be horrible.' The terrible task in hand? To reanimate The Beatles!

Steve Sutherland  |  Nov 01, 2018  |  0 comments
The Stones, Beatles, Led Zeppelin's landmark debut LP... pick up a classic album at random and there's every chance it will credit the work of this British-born producer. Steve Sutherland on the man who began as the first freelance engineer in rock history

It's a Sunday afternoon late in 1966 and we're in South London working overtime at Olympic Studios. The band have already done their stuff – the basic track was laid down a few weeks earlier at the RCA Records Studio in Hollywood. So today it's just us, the producer, his chauffeur, the engineer and the singer, who's busy behind that screen putting down vocal takes between hitting on a mighty spliff he's rolled to keep him in the zone.

Steve Sutherland  |  Nov 01, 2018  |  0 comments
Steve Sutherland tells how the duo tweaked their covers, wrote some originals but finally fell out by the 1970s as he hears the 180g reissue of their debut LP

So many stories, where-oh-where to begin? Maybe we could start on the 14th of July 1973 at that fateful gig at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, when Don's so hammered that he's butchering the songs and Phil smashes his guitar in frustration, tells the crowd he's tired of being an Everly Brother and says that they, in fact, died as a meaningful entity ten years before – thus revealing the fraught fabrication behind all those celestial harmonies. It was an acrimony so strong that it kept them full-on apart for the entire next decade.

Steve Sutherland  |  Oct 01, 2018  |  0 comments
It was the 1962 live album that launched the Surfin' genre. Listening to the 180g reissue, Steve Sutherland still wishes the guy on the sleeve was him

Every now and then, it's OK to be wrong. Not often, I grant you, but on occasion a long-held misbelief can be way better than the actual fact. That lyric you misheard years ago maybe, a phrase which has informed your enjoyment of a particular song – until you discover that the words and meaning were something different all along. Sometimes the reality can ruin the thereafter. And it's better to continue with your fantasy.

Steve Sutherland  |  Sep 01, 2018  |  0 comments
It was an album the singer hated, while the reaction of the music press was at best lukewarm. All wrong, says Steve Sutherland, who hears the 180g reissue of the LP

'The first time I heard the album, I cried.' It's rare but not entirely unknown for a musician to disown their own work. Lee Mavers wanted nothing to do with his one and only La's LP [HFN Nov '17], claiming the finished article did not represent the melodic visions gambolling in his brain. And Paul McCartney famously baulked at all the lush orchestration Phil Spector lavished on The Beatles' Let It Be.

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