- Feb 15, 1955
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Hugh Charles Padgham (born 15 February 1955) is an English record producer and audio engineer. He has won four Grammy Awards, for Producer of the Year and Album of the Year for 1985, Record of the Year for 1990, and Engineer of the Year for 1993. A 1992 poll in Mix magazine voted him one of the world’s “Top Ten Most Influential Producers”. Padgham’s co-productions include hits by Phil Collins, XTC, Genesis, the Human League, Sting, and the Police. He pioneered (with Peter Gabriel and producer Steve Lillywhite) the “gated reverb” drum sound used most famously in Collins’ song “In the Air Tonight”.
I had recently heard a McCartney song on the radio and thought ‘Paul should rock out more’. Then a few days later I got a call from Stephen Shrimpton. I had several meetings at MPL early last year, which was quite hard work at the time as I was working on Phil Collins’s No Jacket Required, going to bed at four, getting up at nine for the meeting and then in the studio at eleven again.
Paul had some songs ready and they were more rocky anyway. The new studio [McCartney’s own studio, Hog Hill Mill] was great-the equipment is ‘state of the art’. There are windows so you can see outside while you’re working, which is unusual, and not many studios overlook the sea. I was down there Monday to Friday, working from eleven till eight, through the middle of 1985. Then, since I was contracted to do a Genesis album late in the year, Paul put his album on ice and worked on other things.Hugh Padgham, Club Sandwich N°42, Autumn 1986
‘Stranglehold’ and ‘Footprints’ are probably my favourites. The session for ‘Angry’ with Phil and Pete Townshend was memorable: done on a Saturday afternoon, very quick. ‘Stranglehold’ and ‘Move Over Busker’ were also done pretty live.Hugh Padgham, Club Sandwich N°42, Autumn 1986
Interview with Hugh Padgham, undated:
Q – You were a fan of The Beatles. So, when Paul McCartney asked you to produce one of his albums, how do you get past the fact that standing in front of you or sitting across from you is one of the most celebrated singer / songwriters the world has ever known?
A – Of course I was bowled over. I was in my late 20s, still relatively young, young to the game. I thought this was just amazing. When he or someone couriered to me a cassette to the studio when I was working with Phil Collins or whoever I was working with, I went home incredibly excited to listen to a cassette of those demos that he had done with Eric Stewart from 10cc and I can honestly tell you now that I was underwhelmed when I heard those songs. I thought, well, hang on, who am I to know, as a little 28 year old guy, that Paul McCartney has given me these songs that are not very impressive? It must be me not being able to sort of see these songs that are effectively them sitting around a campfire with a couple of acoustic guitars. If I’m completely honest then, the album we made called “Press To Play” wasn’t a very good album. I kind of fell out with Eric Stewart during it. Paul McCartney became quite annoying as far as I’m concerned, if I’m being completely honest. After sort of a year of every day in the studio, he’s not on the same pedestal as when you started. I really don’t look back on the record that I made with him with much fondness at all to be quite honest. I don’t think it was that great. I don’t think he was in an era of writing good songs. I was amazed because Eric Stewart was a hero of mine from 10cc. I just thought it must be me. I can’t see the wood for the trees, or whatever. But I look back at it now and realize I was completely right, really. But what are you going to do as a 28 year old when you’ve suddenly been asked to record an album with one of the greatest guys in Pop music ever? You’re not gonna say no, are you?
Last updated on March 1, 2020