Features, National Obituary Review

Dead Person Of The Day October 27 – Tom Dowd

0 Comments 27 October 2011

A true legend here folks,

Some people take life by the giblets and some people are schlubs in khakis. Tom Dowd is exceptional. To call his career prolific would be a gross injustice. Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Buffalo Springfield, Duane Allman. The list goes on. I chose to showcase Wilson Pickett’s work for obvious reasons. The folks at the Independent do a comprehensive and thorough job…per usual.

Tom Dowd

Influential producer for Atlantic Records

The record producer and engineer Tom Dowd pioneered new techniques and was involved in more hit records and albums than George Martin and Phil Spector combined.

Dowd was born in Manhattan in 1925 and, although he played in the school orchestra, his aptitude was for science. During the Second World War he worked on the Manhattan Project which resulted in the development of the atomic bomb.

In 1947, Atlantic Records was formed by Ahmet Ertegun, who hired Dowd to engineer a few sessions, which included early rhythm and blues successes for the label, but, working as a freelance engineer, Dowd’s first major success was with “(If I Knew You Were Comin’), I’d’ve Baked a Cake” by Eileen Barton for National Records in 1950. One of his first experiments was in creating a stereo album for the Wilbur De Paris Dixieland Band, but it required a modified record deck with two needles to play it.

Recording studios were using similar equipment to radio stations and Dowd suggested to Ertegun that sound would be improved if he created a multi-track studio. He designed the studio and Atlantic, still a small independent label, recorded on eight-track from 1954. Dowd’s familiarity with the equipment led to his making suggestions and becoming a producer in his own right. More often than not, he worked in a production team with Jerry Wexler and, a few years later, Arif Mardin. Continue

- who has written 512 posts on The Shade.

Contact the author

Share your view

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

© 2021 The Shade. Powered by WordPress.