POST #45: Me So HORNy!




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Now playing:
Flight Of The Conchords - I'm Not Crying

That got your attention, didn't it?? Sure. Anyhow, today's post is dedicated to the musical genius of TREVOR HORN. I was listening to ABC's classic album, THE LEXICON OF LOVE, and it really hit me how incredible the production was. The man behind the desk is the one and only Trevor Horn. I have been a fan of Mr. Horn's production for many years, and am convinced that he could polish a turd, if put to the task.

Let me give you a background on Trevor Horn. Trevor has been in front of the recording console, as well as behind it. He formed The Buggles in the late 70's, with Geoffrey Downes, original keyboardist for the group Asia. Now, before somebody points it out to me, I understand that Asia came after The Buggles. Those two individuals also played for a brief stint, in the classic band YES. There was a period in the late 70's when Jon Anderson, original vocalist of Yes, decided that he wanted out of the band. Fans of the band thought the end was in sight, but thanks to the talents of Trevor Horn (on vocals) and Geoff Downes (on keyboards), there was a future. The album that came out of this particular union was "DRAMA". There are some of the finest Yes moments on that particular album. Tempus Fugit and Does It Really Happen come to mind. This particular lineup was short lived, however, and Downes left to join Asia, with Steve Howe (of Yes). Trevor left to begin an illustrious production career, which I will highlight in one moment. Fans of Yes will know that the result of Steve Howe, Geoffrey Downes, and Trevor Horn packing their bags, was the formation of "Cinema", the group formed by Chris Squire. Now, Cinema didn't do much more than a few demos, at least until the return of Jon Anderson. Then Yes reformed, and began work on what will probably be their biggest album, 90125. Who was behind the production desk? You guessed it, Trevor Horn. Now, the casual music listener will recognize a couple of songs from the album, "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Leave It". I challenge anyone to listen to this album, and tell me that the production on it is not some of the best you have ever heard. It was amazing what Trevor could do with this talented band. I was listening to the album earlier today, and was surprised at how he segued the instrumental "Cinema" (name sound familiar?), which was recorded live in studio, with "Leave It", which is more production than actual playing. "Cinema" is absolute proof of how talented that band is. "Leave It" is classic in it's own right, but more from a production standpoint.

Anyhow, apart from Yes, Trevor Horn worked with the aforementioned ABC, on LEXICON OF LOVE. The debut album from that band still stands as one of the greatest albums of the early 80's New Wave movement. As I was listening to the album, I was awestruck at how Trevor mixed traditional string arrangements with horns, as well as some very polished session work from some of the most talented musicians of the genre, including at least one member of Roxy Music.

Moving along...
Does the term "Frankie Say Relax" mean anything to you? If you were at least 12 years of age in 1984, I'm sure it does. To this day, you will still hear "Relax" on the FM airwaves. The entire album, "WELCOME TO THE PLEASUREDOME", by FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD is yet another production masterpiece. Never have the seedy walls of a gay club been so chic, as when Holly Johnson and Co. worked their magic. Well, their magic teamed with Mr. Horn. Truly, Trevor Horn was probably more responsible for that album than the band themselves.

With the formation of his own record label, ZTT Records, Trevor set off on a string of hit albums. He was behind the helm of former Bond nemesis, GRACE JONES, on her stunning album, "Grace To The Rhythm". I also listened to that album today, and was intrigued how Trevor segued several interview clips into a seamless tapestry of great music and a candid look at the life of Ms. Jones.

Perhaps you have heard of SEAL? Yet another product of Trevor Horn's incredible production work. Seal has consistently used Trevor Horn, because you should never toy with perfection. There was even a stint before the third album where Seal was intentionally going to get a different producer, yet he still went back to Trevor.

Trevor has also produced several songs appearing in movie soundtracks, some of them complete gems. One of my favorites was a song called "Nobody Lives Without Love", by EDDI READER. He also produced WENDY & LISA (former members of Prince & The Revolution, not to mention current soundtrack composers of the hit TV show, HEROES), for the Dangerous Minds soundtrack. One of the biggest musical disappointments that I endured in the 1990s, was the fact that Trevor was supposed to produce an album for Wendy & Lisa. Between their talent, and his flawless production, it would have proved to be something timeless. But, as luck would have it, the merger fell through, and Wendy & Lisa fell silent for a few years. Eventually they came forth with the "Girl Bros." project. It was anything but polished, as far as the production values were concerned. Anyhow, life will go on.

The past few years have brought a great teaming of Trevor with BELLE & SEBASTIAN on the album, "DEAR CATASTROPHE WAITRESS", as well as some work with everybody's favorite Russian lesbian duo, t.A.T.u.. That was an album that I purchase SOLELY for the fact that Trevor produced it. As I stated at the beginning, Trevor could polish a turd. Even if it was an album equivalent to fecal matter, it was still polished. And that I like. So, I am going to throw another poll up. I want YOU to tell ME what your favorite Trevor Horn moment is. Can you do that for me? Please?

Comments

Ray Dahl said…
So the thing that I love about Drama and the amazing work Mr. Horn did on that album is that it took me several years to realize that it was not the classic Yes line up. I had thought it was just a unique production, kind of like Relayer, just infinitely more accessible. So what makes Drama and Trevor Horn's work so important...

First, Trevor Horn's voice is not unlike the very unique vocals of Jon Anderson. Allowing the sound of yes to be preserved despite the change on lead vocals.
Second, that album clearly establishes the importance of Chris Squire in Yes. The strength of his vocals and bass playing give Drama the sound that is still Yes but something more.
Third, the albums leading up to Drama had some good tracks but were nothing like the vintage greats: Fragile, Going for the One and Close to the Edge. Yes in many respects had lost it's edge. The shake up in the roster and Trevor Horn's production gave Yes the chance to remain the influence that it is and re-invent itself with 90125.
Uncle Zeke said…
Well put, my man.
April said…
"polish a turd"...?? LOL...Sean, you crack me UP!! I miss working with you and your humor!! Hey, go to a union meeting next month so we can say hi and you can see my new little addition to the family..aka...ALLY (newly nicknamed by Jake as Ally Cat-I should have seen that nickname coming)