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Engineering Legends


The great engineers of the past were not just individuals who sat behind consoles, set-up microphones or operated analog tape machines. It was these individuals who developed the great hit songs and albums of the legendary artists of the past and made their music possible to be heard by legions of fans for generations. The scope of this article will recognize those engineers who recorded the great hit songs and or albums in rock, pop, country, hip hop and R&B music during the period from 1958-2003. In order to be able to qualify as a legendary engineer, an individual will have to meet at least two of the following criteria and each person will be listed within a specific decade of work—


  1. It will have to be documented that an engineer during the period from 1958-2003, either recorded or mixed either six hit songs or three albums that reached the top (or were the top song of the year on the chart) of any of the major charts for the genres of music listed above. The charts which will be analyzed are the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, which debuted on August 4, 1958, the Billboard Hot 200 album chart and the Billboard charts for both Country and R&B music. 


(Special Note— I will be adding the Billboard- Adult Contemporary Chart information at a later date.)


  1. The engineer can have multiple credits for their work with a single artist or group— in other words, if an engineer worked with Elvis Presley on either six hit songs or three albums, then this work meets the criteria. 

  2. An engineer can also have hits across multiple decades, but their entry will come with their first decade of work into the listing. Also, I am not going to list each song or album from each engineer, if they have over the required number— just the songs or albums which can give you a sense of their place in history. After all, some of these engineers have worked on multiple hit songs and or albums across more than three decades. It is also important to note that two legendary engineers may have worked on the same song or album— (one may have tracked it, while the other may have mixed it or recorded the overdubs for it, for example). 

  3. Songs and albums that are hits after 2003 will not be under consideration on this listing at this time. However, music leading up to 1958 will be considered, if the engineer has a hit during the period that can qualify for the listing.

  4. The engineer will have to possess a reputation for excellence and exemplary character in dealing with artists, producers, musicians and the assistant engineers or production personnel who worked with them in the studio. 

  5. There will be special consideration given to engineers who have developed products and technologies that have been integral to the process of recording music.

  6. The sources for this information will be AllMusic, Discogs and every single album, cassette and CD insert I can get my hands on. 

Just as an example, the following will illustrate how David Thoener would meet the criteria of a legendary recording studio engineer. His listing would start in the 1980s because his first hit songs and albums occurred in that decade of work during his career. This is an example of the information that will be able to be found in the database when it is completed. 


David Thoener


Hit Songs: (Examples)


The J. Giels Band, “Centerfold” (1982) (Billboard Hot 100)

John Waite, “Missing You” (1984) (Billboard Hot 100)

Roseann Cash, “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me” (1985) (Billboard Country)

Meat Loaf, “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” 1993 (Billboard Hot 100)

Aerosmith, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” 1998 (Billboard Hot 100)

Santana w/Rob Thomas, “Smooth,” 1999-2000 (Billboard Hot 100)


Hit Albums: (Examples)


AC/DC, For Those About to Rock— We Salute You, 1981-1982 (Billboard Hot 200)

The J. Giels Band, Freeze Frame, 1982 (Billboard Hot 200)

Santana, Supernatural, 1999-2000 (Billboard Hot 200)


** In this article, which is a listing, David Thoener’s entry will look like this as an example:


David Thoener-- The J. Geils Band, AC/DC, John Waite, Roseann Cash, Meat Loaf, Aerosmith, Santana and Rob Thomas

If you want to find out what qualified an engineer as legendary, then you can either look at the survey data or you can visit the database when it is uploaded. The database will enable you to search for a particular engineer, artist or studio. 

As you can see, David Thoener actually meets EACH of the criteria (and the examples, are just samples) of what it would take to be considered a legendary recording studio engineer, in that he has either tracked or mixed at least six singles that have topped one of the major charts, plus, he has been an engineer on at least three albums which have also topped the charts from 1958-2003. Remember, he could have qualified just by having one of those areas nailed down with his body of work— what makes him not just legendary, but exceptional, is that he has actually nailed down ALL of them. Plus, keep in mind that these examples cover three different decades (1980-2000) of work during his long and storied career. As for his character, he has been an excellent teacher, mentor and a great friend who has brought along so many young engineers throughout the course of his career. Though it is not a part of the criteria at all, he is also a three-time Grammy-Award winning engineer whose contributions to popular music are also immeasurable. 


It should also be noted that there are quite a few amazing engineers who have been passed over for Grammy-Awards through the years, which is why I feel like it should not be an important part of the criteria. Also, just like in determining the criteria for what is a legendary recording studio, being an engineer in the 1950s, 1960s and even during the 1970s, was quite different from being an engineer during the 1980s, 1990s and at the beginning of the new century. Throughout the period from 1958-1980, engineers mostly worked in a single recording studio facility. During the period from 1980-2003, many of the great engineers became freelancers who were more tied to producers than they were to working in a single recording studio facility.


Character should count, too. There have been engineers who have recorded great hit songs and albums during their careers, but who mistreated the assistant engineers and production coordinators (for example) who worked with them along the way. As a former assistant engineer, I witnessed the best of both worlds— engineers who were fabulous to work with (such as David Thoener and Steve Marcantonio, for example) and others, who— at best— could be extremely difficult for anyone to work with. For me, being legendary in any field of endeavor is not truly about the work that a person has done, it is actually about the character of the person who has done that body of work. 


This article will seek to honor the engineers who held to this standard of both excellence in engineering and character, beginning with the great engineers of the late 1950s. In this listing, you will see the name of the engineer and the artist or artists whose songs or albums went to the top of the charts that were engineered by this person. If you wish to see the songs or albums, please check out the survey, which will showcase more in-depth (as does the example of David Thoener) the work of a particular engineer and the songs and albums which made them a legend. 

(By the way, this list is by no means exhaustive. If you know of an engineer who fits these criteria and is not on this list, please kindly take the time to let me know so that I can add them to it. Also, please keep in mind two things— first, when I add the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart, this list will grow and second, credits are not always listed for an album or a work (especially prior to the 1980s) so as I learn more, I will also make additional entries onto the list. Again, please, if you know someone who meets the criteria (especially prior to the 1980s), please let me know, so that I can add their name and their credits to this list. An asterisk by the name of an engineer means that I have either met (*) or worked with (**) an engineer on this list while working in the music business.)

The 1950s


(This listing begins on August 4, 1958, and albums or songs engineered prior to that time were also considered for this listing.)


Thorne Nogar--  Elvis Presley and Pat Boone

Tom Dowd-- Bobby Darin, The Drifters, The Young Rascals and Aretha Franklin

Bill Porter-- The Browns, The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley


Special Mention— 


Bill Putnam Sr. (United Western Recorders and Universal Audio)

The 1960s


Bruce Swedien-- Gene Chandler, The Four Seasons, The Chi-Lites and Michael Jackson

Larry Levine-- The Crystals, The Righteous Brothers, Sonny and Cher, The Beach Boys and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

Chuck Britz-- The Beach Boys, Jan & Dean and Dolly Parton

Norman Smith-- The Beatles

David Hassinger-- The Rolling Stones and The Monkees

Gus Skinas-- The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Madonna

Roy Halee-- Simon and Garfunkel and Blood, Sweat and Tears

Geoff Emerick-- The Beatles and Paul McCartney and Wings

Ken Scott-- The Beatles, George Harrison and Elton John

Bones Howe-- Barry McGuire, The Mamas and the Papas, The Association and The 5th Dimension

Jim Malloy-- Eddy Arnold

Glyn Johns-- The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Eagles

Russ Terrana-- The Supremes, Edwin Starr, The Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye

Al Pachuki-- Connie Smith, Eddy Arnold, Charley Pride, Dolly Parton, Ronnie Millsap, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings

Hank Cicalo-- The Monkees and Carole King

Bruce Botnick-- The Turtles, The Doors and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Bill Halverson-- Cream and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Rick Hall-- Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, The Osmonds and Mac Davis

Roy Cicala-- The Young Rascals, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon

Eddie Kramer-- The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin

Hugh Davies-- Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard and Juice Newton

Bill Vandervort-- Connie Smith, Eddy Arnold, Ronnie Millsap, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings


Special Mentions— 


Rupert Neve— (AMS-Neve)

Saul Walker— (API)

The 1970s 


Ron Nevison— Bad Company, Led Zeppelin and Heart

Al Schmitt— Barbara Streisand and Natalie Cole

Lou Bradley— Tammy Wynette, Lynn Anderson, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Charlie Rich and John Anderson

Shelly Yakus— John Lennon, Stevie Nicks and U2

Bill Schnee— Carly Simon, Ringo Starr, Whitney Houston and Randy Travis

Gene Paul— Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack and Chaka Khan

Lew Hahn— Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Donnie Hathaway and Chaka Khan

Joe Tarsia— The Spinners, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, The O’Jays, and MFSB

Bill Szcymczyk— The Eagles and Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

Alan Blazek— The Eagles and Glen Frey

Michael Verdick— The Eagles, Juice Newton and Madonna

Frank Fillipetti— Carly Simon, Bonnie Tyler, Foreigner, Barbara Streisand, The Bangles and Mariah Carey

Chris Kimsey— The Rolling Stones and Peter Frampton

Ken Calliat— Fleetwood Mac and Lionel Richie

Jack Douglass— John Lennnon and Alice Cooper

Val Garay— Linda Ronstadt and Kim Carnes

Karl Richardson— The Bee Gees, Andy Gibb, Olivia Newton-John, Barbara Streisand, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

Frank Kejmar— Barry White and Aretha Franklin

Elliot Scheiner— Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Toto, Irene Cara, Chaka Khan, Bruce Hornsby and the Range, Fleetwood Mac, Ricky Martin and Alan Jackson

Calvin Harris— Marvin Gaye, The Commodores and Lionel Richie

Garth Fundis— Waylon Jennings, Don Williams, and Crystal Gayle

Billy Sherrill— Kenny Rogers, Dottie West and Moe Bandy

Ron Reynolds— George Jones, George Strait, Earl Thomas Conley, Sawyer Brown and John Michael Montgomery

Bob Clearmountain— The Rolling Stones, Sister Sledge, David Bowie, Hall & Oates, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and Bryan Adams

George Massenburg— Linda Ronstadt and Earth, Wind & Fire

Juergen Koppers— Donna Summer

Leslie Ladd— Charley Pride, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Ronnie Millsap and Barbara Mandrell

Tom Pick— Charley Pride and Dolly Parton

Lynn Peterzell— Mickey Gilley, Clint Black, Mark Chesnutt, John Anderson and Tim McGraw

Jim Boyer— Billy Joel and Whitney Houston

John Arrias— Donna Summer, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band and Barbara Streisand

Donn Landee— The Doobie Brothers and Van Halen

Tommy Vicari— Billy Preston, Barbara Streisand, Kri Kristofferson, Deniece Williams and Stephanie Mills

Mike Bradley— T.G. Shepphard, Brooks & Dunn, Shenandoah and Lonestar

Ernie Winfrey— Paul McCartney and Wings, T.G. Shepphard and Razzy Bailey

** Ron Treat— Waylon Jennings, Conway Twitty, George Strait and Reba McEntire


Special Mention— 


Malcolm Toft— (Trident Studios and Trident Audio Developments)

The 1980s


** David Thoener— The J. Geils Band, AC/DC, John Waite, Roseann Cash, Meat Loaf, Aerosmith, Santana and Rob Thomas

Don Gehman— Barbara Streisand, John Cougar Mellencamp and Hootie and the Blowfish

Kevin Beamish— REO Speedwagon, Bryan White, Ty Herndon, Mindy McCready, Clint Black and Kenny Chesney

Humberto Gatica— Chicago, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Barbara Streisand and Richard Marx

Hugh Padgham— The Police, Phil Collins and Genesis

Jim Gaines— Huey Lewis and the News and Santana

Toby Scott— Bruce Springsteen

David Leonard— Toto, Prince and the Revolution, Kenny Rogers and The Bangles

Jason Corsaro— Madonna, Foreigner, Duran Duran, Robert Palmer, Cyndi Lauper and Steve Winwood

Chris Porter— Wham! George Michael and Elton John

Neil Dorfsman— Bruce Springsteen and Dire Straits

Steve Hodge— Janet Jackson

* Mick Guzauski— Patti Labelle, Deniece Williams, Michael McDonald, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Michael Bolton and Boyz II Men

Bob Rock— Bon Jovi, Motley Crue and Metallica

Steve Lillywhite— U2 and Sinead O’Connor

David Frazer— Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Santana

Brian Malouf— Michael Jackson, Martika, Amy Grant and Celine Dion

Bill Bottrell— Michael Jackson, Starship and Madonna

* Mike Shipley— Berlin, Def Leppard, Shania Twain and Faith Hill

David Hewitt— U2 and The Eagles

Chris Lord-Alge— Hall & Oates, Steve Winwood, Prince, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and The Dave Matthews Band

Tom Lord-Alge— Steve Winwood, Billy Joel and Blink 182

Bruce Weeden— Frankie Smith, Loose Ends, Teddy Pendergrass, Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle

Carl Beatty— Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Freddie Jackson, Stephanie Mills and Billy Ocean

Michael Brauer— Luther Vandross, Hall & Oates, Aretha Franklin, Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle

Bobby Brooks— Rick James, Pebbles, Jody Whatley, Whitney Houston and Brandy

Jon Gass— Pebbles, Bobby Brown, Paula Abdul, Toni Braxton and Boyz II Men

Bill Harris— Steve Wariner, Sylvia, Ronnie Millsap, George Strait and Keith Whitley

Marshall Morgan— Mickey Gilley, The Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs, Willie Nelson, Julio Iglesias and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

** Gene Eichelberger— Dan Seals, Vern Gosdin, Joe Diffie and Colin Raye

Jim Cotton— Alabama and Tanya Tucker

Paul Goldberg— Alabama

* Steve Tillisch— George Strait, Steve Wariner, Reba McEntire and Wynnona

Joe Scaife— John Anderson, Alabama, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sammy Kershaw and Toby Keith

Scott Hendricks— Hank Williams Jr. Restless Heart, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn and John Michael Montgomery

* Chuck Ainlay— George Strait and Reba McEntire

** John Guess— Donna Summer, Kenny Rogers, Peter Cetera, Amy Grant, George Strait and Reba McEntire

Tim Kish— The Bellamy Brothers, Steve Wariner, George Strait and Toby Keith

** Steve Marcantonio— Roseann Cash, Rodney Crowell, Alabama, Faith Hill, Deana Carter and George Strait

Mark Miller— Kathy Mattea and Garth Brooks

Randy Staub— Motley Crue and Metallica

David Rideau— Pebbles, Babyface, Karyn White and Janet Jackson

Michael Barberio— Guns and Roses and Counting Crowes

Phil Kaffel— Huey Lewis and the News, No Doubt and Christina Aguilera

* Csaba Petocz— Quiet Riot, Jody Whatley, Doug Supernaw, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, LeAnn Rimes and Kelly Clarkson

Bob Bullock— Kenny Rogers, Sheena Easton, George Strait, Mark Chesnutt, Patty Loveless and Kenny Chesney

* Ed Seay— Highway 101, Lionel Cartwright, Ricochet, Kevin Sharp, Ty Herndon and Ricky Trevino

Rich Travali— Debbie Gibson, Mariah Carey and Nas

Ray Bardani— Luther Vandross, Atlantic Starr, Lisa Fischer and Beyonce

Joe Bogan— Roseann Cash, Randy Travis and Bryan White


Special Mentions—


Colin Sanders— (Solid State Logic)

Alan Smart— (Solid State Logic)

The 1990s


Justin Niebank— George Strait, Keith Urban and Darryl Worley

Scott Litt— R.E.M. and Nirvana

David Reitzas— Natalie Cole, Whitney Houston and Barbara Streisand

Brenden O’Brien— The Black Crowes, Aerosmith and Pearl Jam

Dana Jon Chappelle— Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Peabo Bryson, Regina Belle and Celine Dion

Nick Didia— Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and Rage Against the Machine

David Gleeson— Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men and Celine Dion

Jeff Balding— Amy Grant, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Bobby Brown, John Michael Montgomery, Barbara Streisand, Shania Twain and Celine Dion

Brad Gilderman— Toni Braxton and Boyz II Men

Tommy Daughtery— Snoop Dogg, 2Pac Shakur and Makaveli

Mike Fraser— Van Halen and Metallica

Chris Fogel— Alanis Morrisette

Peter Mokran— Michael Jackson, R. Kelly and Christina Aguilera

John Kelton— Alan Jackson, Faith Hill and John Berry

Mark Stent— Depeche Mode, U2 and The Spice Girls

Axel Niehaus— New Edition, The Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy and the Family

Michael Patterson— The Notorious B.I.G. Puff Daddy and the Family and Limp Bizkit

Tony Maserati— New Edition, The Notorious B.I.G. and Alicia Keys

Manny Marroquin— The Notorious B.I.G. Boyz II Men and Alicia Keys

Ben Garrison— Toni Braxton, Mase and The Notorious B.I.G.

Stephen Dent— The Notorious B.I.G. Puff Daddy and the Family and Mase

Lane Crane— The Notorious B.I.G. Puff Daddy and the Family and Mase

Rich Keller— DMX and Limp Bizkit

Doug Wilson— Mariah Carey, The Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z

Patrick Viala— DMX and Jay-Z

Eddie Sancho— The Notorious B.I.G. Jay-Z and Limp Bizkit

Chris Trevett— Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys and *NSYNCH

Jason Goldstein— The Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z

Paul Boutin— TLC, *NSYNCH and Kelly Clarkson

* Julian King— Clint Black, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Martina McBride

Stephen George— R. Kelly, The Backstreet Boys and Celine Dion

Richard Travali— R. Kelly, The Notorious B.I.G. and Nelly

Ken “Duro” Ifill— DMX and Jay-Z

Jean Marie-Horvat— Michael Jackson and Jennifer Lopez

Glenn Marchese— Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez and Mary J. Blige

Scott Campbell— Alanis Morrisette and The Dave Matthews Band

Dylan Dresdow— TLC, Janet Jackson and Madonna

Dave Way— Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Christina Aguilera

Dave Pensado— Paula Abdul, Christina Aguilera and Destiny’s Child

Jimmy Douglass— Nas, Aaliyah and Jay-Z

Steve Churchyard— Celine Dion, Faith Hill and Kelly Clarkson

Kevin Shirley— The Black Crowes, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin

Paul J. Falcone— Barbara Streisand, Alicia Keys and Luther Vandross

Paul Loggus— The Notorious B.I.G. DMX and Mary J. Blige

Rob Chiarelli— Christina Aguilera, Ricky Martin and Hilary Duff

Andrew Scheps— Michael Jackson, Alanis Morrisette and Jay-Z

Leslie Braithwaite— TLC, Monica and Ruben Studdurd

The Early 2000s


Paul Foley— The Backstreet Boys, Jennifer Lopez and Michael Jackson

Dexter Simmons— The Backstreet Boys, Janet Jackson and Destiny’s Child

Andy Wallace— Limp Bizkit, Staind and Faith Hill

Steve King— Eminem and D12

Richard Huredia— Limp Bizkit, Eminem and D12

Brian Garten— *NSYNCH, Britney Spears and Nelly

Brian Springer— Jennifer Lopez, Destiny’s Child and Ja Rule

Mauricio Iragorri— D12, Eminem and 50 Cent

Serban Ghenea— Britney Spears, Faith Hill and R. Kelly

Kevin Davis— *NSYNCH, Outkast and Ruben Studdard

Young “Guru” Keaton— Nelly and Jay-Z


(This listing ends on December 31, 2003. No songs or albums engineered after that date have been considered for this list.)

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