Gus Dudgeon is rated as one of the greatest British producers of all time; his work is in millions of homes across the world.
Starting out as an engineer, he got to produce the Zombies classic ‘She’s Not There’ in 1964 when the allotted producer popped out for refreshments. There followed an eclectic ride through the 60s as a fully-fledged producer working with acts as diverse as John Mayall and Eric Clapton’s Bluesbreakers, the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Ralph McTell (he persuaded Ralph to record the original ‘Streets Of London’ when it wasn’t included in a forthcoming session), David Bowie’s first hit, prog rockers Audience and psychedelic act the Locomotive.
The big break was of course being chosen to produce new act Elton John for DJM records. The singer had recorded before as Bluesology but took a new singer/songwriter direction with his writing partner Bernie Taupin. Their first singles for Philips failed to chart and their Debut DJM LP did not garner much interest, so Gus was brought in with his production team, including brilliant arranger Paul Buckmaster. That transformed the Elton John sound and starting with ‘Your Song’ in January 1971, began a string of hits and acclaimed albums that continue to this day. Gus became such an integral part of the creative recording process that Elton considered him to be one of the band.
In those momentous 70s, Kiki Dee also scored big spin-off hits and Gus worked wonders for acts such as Joan Armatrading, Lindisfarne, Chris Rea as well as an intriguing one-off hit for Voyager and new wave group XTC - plus an unlikely pair for South African John Kongos. The ones that didn’t make it are just as worthy, like Paul Buckmaster’s group Sounds Nice with influential keyboard player Tim Mycroft and the amazing ‘Boredom’ by Tea & Symphony which predated the Buzzcocks’ song of the same name by a decade.
Respected music journalist Richie Unterberger has written an 8,000 + words essay and there are 4 pages crammed with tributes from musicians, singers, DJs and friends (including Sir Elton John) in the CD booklet; along with photos and scans over the course of Gus’ career. A percentage of the profits from sales will go to the Gus Dudgeon Foundation and the CD has been compiled with the full approval of them and Gus’ brother Murray. Nb It is also only the second time John Lennon has appeared on an Ace release.