Sunday, February 9, 2020

In Praise of Unsung Genius: Trevor Horn

My "Celebrating Some Unsung 'Masters'" series is intended to shine the spotlight on artists who, in my opinion, continue to be under appreciated. While not necessarily in any particular order, I feel compelled to write about the artists that I feel A) the most personally geeked about and B) are most deserving of the added attention and appreciation.

Trevor Horn began his storied career in the band The Buggles with Geoff Downes (future member of both YES and ASIA). Their two album releases are both ground-breaking treasures, the first for its catchy synth-based techno-New Wave pop songs (like "Video Killed the Radio Star" and "Astroboy [Watching the Proles on Parade]") while the second was notable for its amazing melodies and pristine soundscapes (the kind Thomas Dolby would later be famous for). Joining Yes in 1979 for the Drama album was a risky and controversial move--if only for replacing founding members Jon Anderson and Chris Squire, but also for bring a completely new sound to the band (a sound without stacks of racks of keyboards as sometime-memberRick Wakeman was want to do). But then taking on the production side of things may have been the stroke of genius that defined the rest of his career as Trevor and his studio with not one but two Fairlight CMIs became the go-to producer in the UK, helping the following bands achieve pop stardom:
Art of Noise
Spandau Ballet
Band Aid
Malcom MacLaren
Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Grace Jones
Godley & Creme's "Cry"
Pet Shop Boys
Simple Minds
Paul McCartney
Charlotte Church
Lee Ann Rimes
Faith Hill
Belle and Sebastian
Renato Zero

To experience just a little of Trevor's magic, watch these video clips from the 2004 Prince's Trust Benefit Concert--an entire concert of Trevor's music and bands (some reuniting for the first time for this concert!)

Musican, singer, songwriter, producer, Trevor Horn has been a shining example of innovative sound master for over 40 years!

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