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Top 10 Best Music Producers

VO: Matt Campbell

Script written by George Pacheco

The music world may often focus on the performers on stage, but these are the eyes and ears behind the scenes. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Music Producers. For this list, we'll be ranking the most influential music producers with a successful legacy and track record for engineering hit records.

Special thanks to our users Angel Valdovinos submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by George Pacheco

Top 10 Music Producers

The music world may often focus on the performers on stage, but these are the eyes and ears behind the scenes. Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Music Producers.
For this list, we'll be ranking the most influential music producers with a successful legacy and track record for engineering hit records. We'll be excluding EDM producers, however, as we've already covered them in two prior video lists.

#10: Timbaland

If you were to listen to any pop song released in the early and mid millennium, then it's highly likely that this first producer on our list was somehow involved. This Virginia born singer, songwriter, rapper and DJ also was a go-to force behind the scene for many top artists of the day, including pop sensations Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado. Timbaland also has a thriving solo career of his own, however, making him the perfect producer to provide insight on both a technical and performance level for those under his wing.

#9: Robert John "Mutt" Lange

A smooth, polished sheen is the sonic trademark of this demanding British producer. Mutt Lang, whose name shot to major fame in the 1980s, thanks to his work with hard rockers Def Leppard on their Hysteria and Pyromania LPs as well as projects with AC/DC, Bryan Adams, and the Cars. Layers of sound and multiple takes were the hallmark of this production workhorse, as Mutt Lange not only got the best out of guitar-heavy rock bands, but also the softer and more pop focused country music songs of his former wife Shania Twain.

#8: David Foster

The name David Foster might not immediately ring a bell for casual radio fans, but this man behind the scenes has been responsible not only for producing, but for composing or co-writing some of pop music's most gigantic hits. Although Foster began his work in rock 'n roll, working with the likes of Alice Cooper, it was the man's genius, almost effortless approach to arranging melodic pop songs which made him a go-to collaborator for such megastars such as Whitney Houston, Josh Groban and Celine Dion who have helped him win 16 Grammy Awards.

#7: Phil Spector

The Wall of Sound. This was producer Phil Spector's claim to musical fame as he first blasted onto the scene in the late fifties and early sixties. Spector's production style was large, layered and bombastic, with the maestro possessing a relentlessly obsessive passion for perfection. The New York native rose to prominence thanks to his writing, arranging and production work on such musical classics as The Ronnettes' "Be My Baby" and the Righteous Brothers’ “You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin’”. Unfortunately Spector’s impressive track record, which includes working with artists such as The Beatles and The Ramones, was tarnished forever when he was convicted of the murder of Lana Clarkson in 2009.

#6: Berry Gordy

This father of Motown records holds the distinguished honor of having introduced the American record buying public to a host of groundbreaking, world-changing artists, not the least of which was a young Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5. Gordy's record label cranked out classic after classic from the soul, funk and disco genres, while the man himself had his creative hands full not only as a producer and songwriter, but even in the movie business, having produced the cult classic kung-fu homage of the early 1980s,"The Last Dragon."

#5: Dr. Dre

Not every producer on our list can claim to also have been a star up on the front of the stage, but that's exactly where our next producer shines. Dr. Dre's musical career gained some serious speed when his group N.W.A. released their now-classic Straight Outta Compton in 1988, and it was all uphill from there, as Dre parleyed his success with the group into an even more acclaimed career behind the scenes. Whether it was sampling some of the illest beats from the funk and soul records of old, or introducing such other influential artists as Eminem and 2Pac to the mainstream, Dr. Dre remains an icon for creativity in hip hop.

#4: Brian Eno

English producer and musician Brian Eno is a renaissance man of sorts, having pioneered multiple styles of music over the course of his solo career, as well as time spent in the progressive art rock stylings of Roxy Music. It was after Eno's departure from Roxy where his skills behind the scenes gained international acclaim, thanks to his early work with Devo, as well as his collaboration with fellow producer Daniel Lanois on a slew of hits for Ireland's number one rock export, U2. It's certainly a far cry from Eno's days as a minimalist soundscape artist with his series of "Ambient" projects, yet the man's penchant for strong, stirring sounds makes it somehow all make sense.

#3: Rick Rubin

There aren't many producers out there who thrive working with the heaviest of metal and the most iconic of hip hop artists, but that's exactly the case with the next artist on our list, Rick Rubin. As a co-founder of Def Jam Recordings alongside Russell Simmons, Rubin worked with pioneering hip hop artists The Beastie Boys before turning his attention to the world of thrash metal with Slayer's genre-defining "Reign in Blood" opus in 1986. Since then, Rubin has collaborated with artists as varied as alt-rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers, metal legends Metallica, and Johnny frickin' Cash just to name a few, making him one of the most influential creative voices behind the scenes.

#2: George Martin

The man unofficially known as "The Fifth Beatle" was an immensely influential and creative voice behind four of the most beloved rock icons of our time. Indeed, it was the late George Martin's innate knowledge of arrangements, melody and structure which assisted John, Paul, George and Ringo in composing some of their early hits  and helping them grow as musicians. Away from the Fab Four, Martin himself would go on to produce some of the most iconic songs from the world of cinema, including the James Bond themes "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey and "Live and Let Die" by former Beatle Paul McCartney.
Before we name our top music producer, here are a few honorable mentions!
Giorgio Moroder
Brian Wilson
Danger Mouse
Lee "Scratch" Perry
Sam Phillips

#1: Quincy Jones

What can we say about the inimitable Quincy Jones? This ridiculously talented composer, arranger, producer and songwriter has possessed the golden touch for over four decades, having dipped his hands in nearly every imaginable genre. Jones will always be known for his jazz and funk touches, however, having worked on Blaxploitaiton film scores like "They Call Me Mister Tibbs!" and television programs like “Sanford and Sons” before moving on to producing large scale pop masterpieces for Michael Jackson withBad and Thriller. Jones is, quite simply, a musical legend, whose resonating influence will continue to be felt by millions of artists, friends and fans.
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