Tom Dowd, a Grammy-winning music producer and recording engineerwhose resume provided a virtual roadmap of pop, rock, jazz and R&Bmusic over the past half-century, died Sunday at an assisted livingfacility in Aventura, Fla. He was 77.
No cause of death was immediately announced.
Dowd worked with such recording legends as Ray Charles, ArethaFranklin, Otis Redding, John Coltrane, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart,Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers.
Earlier this year, at the 44th Grammy Awards, Dowd was honored witha Trustees Award in recognition of “lifelong artistic contributions tothe recording medium” and “outstanding contributions to the industry ina nonperforming capacity.” Dowd was inducted into the TEC Awards Hallof Fame in 1999.
While Dowd trained as a musician, he worked on the Manhattan Projectat Columbia University from 1942-46. In 1947, he applied his knowledgeof physics to disc recording, and went on to build the first stereo and8-track recording consoles at Atlantic Records in 1954. “I wanted amachine that you could back up and add to it,” he told the MiamiHerald in an interview. “That put the chink in everyone’s armor,because Atlantic now had a unique sound.”
Dowd won his only Grammy in 1992 for Best Album Notes. He shared theaward with Ahmet Ertegun, Arif Mardin, Dave Marsh, David Ritz, JerryWexler and Thulani Davis for the notes on Aretha Franklin’s Queen ofSoul—The Atlantic Recordings.
He teamed up with producer Wexler and arranger Mardin on some ofFranklin’s biggest hits, including the 1968 album Lady Soul,which featured the hits “Chain of Fools” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) ANatural Woman.” Dowd, Wexler and Mardin also turned out some of thelate Dusty Springfield’s biggest hits, including the legendary Dustyin Memphis album, which featured “Son of a Preacher Man” and”Windmills of Your Mind.”
Dowd also produced albums for Bette Midler, Booker T. & TheMG’s, Buddy Guy, Eddie Money, Gladys Knight, Herbie Mann, KennyLoggins, Diana Ross and Wilson Pickett. He produced, arrange andChicago’s Chicago XIV, and so many others.
Dowd’s engineering credits included projects with a diverse array ofperformers, including Art Farmer, Betty Carter, Big Joe Turner, BillyTaylor, Bobby Darin, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Bobby Short, CarmenMcRae, Charles Mingus, Chick Corea, Freddie Hubbard, LaVern Baker, MiltHinton, Milt Jackson, Mose Allison, Ornette Coleman and Patti LaBelle.He engineered seven Coltrane albums, including the 1960 album MyFavorite Things, and five albums for Charles, includingTheGenius of Ray Charles in 1959.
Dowd is survived by his wife, Cheryl Dowd, and three children, Dana,Steven and Todd. The Herald reported that no funeral serviceswould be held.