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Engineer, Producer Mike Shipley Passes Away

Photo: David Goggin; courtesy of Universal Audio

As reported by Pro Sound News: Mike Shipley (pictured), a Grammy Award-winning studio engineer and producer who worked with a diverse range of artists like Queen, Aerosmith, Keith Urban and AC/DC, died on July 26. His age and cause of death have not been made public.

Shipley was born in Australia and moved to England as a teenager, where he started working as an assistant at the Wessex Studios. His first recording session was with the Sex Pistols, and Shipley would later continue on to work with producer Mutt Lange for two decades on numerous hit albums by Def Leppard, The Corrs, Shania Twain and Maroon 5.

In 1984, Shipley relocated to Los Angeles while working with The Cars, and remained there until his death last week. According to The Recording Academy, Shipley was nominated for eight Grammy Awards during his career, and won three awards, including Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, and Best Bluegrass Album in 2011 for Alison Krauss & Union Station’s Paper Airplane.

In a statement, Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott recalled the engineer, noting, “I’m devastated to hear of the passing of Mike Shipley. He was a fantastic engineer and a good guy. Nothing got past him if it wasn’t up to scratch, hence Leppard’s nick name for him: ‘bat ears’. From the High & Dry album in 1981 to the last thing we did together, 1993’s Two Steps Behind, he was a joy to work with. RIP Shippers.”

Thomas Dolby, who collaborated with Shipley both as an artist on his second album and as a producer on Prefab Sprout’s debut, Steve McQueen, said on Twitter, “Very shocked and sad to hear that Mike Shipley, mix engineer on The Flat Earth and Steve McQueen, was found dead yesterday.”

Also, Kip Winger, leader of the eponymous ’80s pop-metal act Winger, remembered the engineer on Facebook, recalling, “He was a dear friend. Mike was a kind, generous, funny, supremely talented and skilled person. He taught me how to really make a record… This is a tragic loss to the world to say the least. I’ll miss you Mike.”

Read a Q&A interview with Mike Shipley written by Maureen Droney, which appeared in Mix magazine’s June 1999 issue.