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Ron Richards (22 January 1929 – 30 April 2009) was a British record producer, manager and promotor best known for discovering The Hollies.
Born Ronald Richard Pratley in London, England, to Mary Lipscombe and an unknown Irish jockey and was adopted at an early age. He played the piano and saxophone for the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. Richards started working for London’s Tin Pan Ally in 1952, and discovered songwriter Jerry Lordan, later worked at EMI’s Parlophone imprint as an assistant to producer George Martin. Richards discovered and signed The Hollies in 1963 to a recording contract with the Parlophone label. Richards produced most of The Hollies’ music between 1963 to 1979, during which time they had seventeen Top 10 hit singles in the UK, as well as worldwide success. He also produced The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” and Gerry & the Pacemakers’ “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
In August 1965, Richards joined Martin in leaving EMI to start AIR Studios. Working for Liberty Records, Richards was also the musical director for P.J. Proby and together they worked on the Proby albums.
Richards is mentioned in The Beatles’ bootleg recordings during the session for “Think For Yourself“. After George Martin makes a few mistakes, George Harrison jokes about getting Richards to produce Rubber Soul instead. The exact words were, “I wonder if Ron Richards is free tomorrow?” followed by laughs.
One of the songs on Rubber Soul is George Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone“. On the same day that the Rubber Soul LP came out in Britain (December 3 1965), a cover of that song was released by The Hollies – produced by Ron Richards.
Ron Richards who was married in 1954 to Ellen Fraser, had two daughters and a son. He died in Watford, Hertfordshire in April 2009, and his funeral was held on 15 May in Hemel Hempstead.
Last updated on September 12, 2015
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