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tom dowd

Tom Dowd

b. Thomas John Dowd, 1st January 1925, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.

d. 27th October 2002, Aventura, Florida, U.S.A.

Tom Dowd was a music producer and engineer, who was involved with some of the greatest singers in the latter part of the Twentieth Century.

For over 50 years, he worked alongside the likes of the late Otis Redding, the late Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart.

Tom was born in Manhattan, New York in 1925.

He was the son of a singer and a theatre producer.

Growing up in Manhattan, Tom studies various instruments, including, violin, tuba and piano, however, he was reported as to having been indifferent to music at the outset.

At the age of 16, Tom had graduated from high school and worked at nights at Columbia University, in the Physics Department, whilst at the same time he attended the City College Of New York.

At college, Tom, actually, helped to run the cyclotron-the machine that speeds up charged atomic particles.

Tom Dowd

Later, he became involved in the Manhattan Project, which was an attempt to build the atomic bomb.

That was between from 1942 to 1946.

Tom also worked at the atomic research facility in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Being a contentious issue at the time, Tom found himself unemployed.

It was at this juncture he looked towards the music business, believing that his engineering expertees might be utilised in a more peaceful environment.

Tom joined Atlantic Records, working for, and alongside, the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.

As his reputation spread, he enabled Atlantic to blossom in the 1950's.

Tom was one of the first engineers to record on tape instead of vinyl discs.

In 1952, Tom recorded one of the first albums in stereo.

This was a release for the Wilbur de Paris Dixieland Band, which required custom equipment, including two needles, to play it.

In 1958, Tom became one of the first engineers to build and record with an eight-track console.

This allowed musicians to record instruments separately and then blend them together in a later mix.

It also meant that artists could produce their own backing vocals and record over mistakes.

Tom left Atlantic during the late Sixties.

Tom Dowd

l to r: arif mardin, aretha franklin and tom dowd

He worked on the song 'Respect' for Aretha Franklin along with the Dusty Springfield melody, later to be recorded by Aretha, 'Son Of A Preacher Man'.

Tom worked in the Rock genre additionally, working alongside Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers Band and Derek and the Dominoes (on the song 'Layla').

Tom Dowd died in Aventura, Florida on the 27th of October 2002 at the age of 77.

Tom Dowd

Tom Dowd

...there is an excellent retrospective DVD available here, entitled 'Tom Dowd, The Language Of Music' (click on the image)...

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