On this day in 1981….

….legendary producer/DJ, Guy Stevens died at the incredibly young age of 38. If you are unaware of Stevens name you may be surprised at how far his influence across music went…

GuyStevens_thumb1

…in the early ’60s Stevens was THE top mod DJ at the hip and happening Mod club, The Scene, playing a selection of the more happening sounds emerging from Black America, he was quickly on the payroll of Island Records. Stevens worked for Island offshoot ‘Sue’, licensing a brace of US soul & R&B releases for the label.

27a40afb62e5b964c26900555911333e
…in his ‘Scene’ Mod DJ days…

As the ’60s moved on, so did Stevens, becoming ‘psychedelicised’, by ’67 he was working with key psychedelic designers ‘Hapshash & The Coloured Coat’, producing their self titled long player.

f2f27e86da763fb25aec072725a10c18
Key ’60s figures Nigel Waymouth and Michael English (recognise the posters in the background? That was them), Stevens is at the back

What else did he do?

Familiar with the bands Mott the Hoople and Procol Harum? Stevens named both of them. He also produced key late ’60s underground records like Spooky Tooth and Free’s debut LP ‘Tons Of Sobs’ – wow!

By 1979 however, Stevens was a slightly washed up figure in the music industry, deemed as unreliable by industry big-wigs due to his legendary intake of drink and drugs, he had very little work coming in….until…

…..The Clash

TheClashLondonCallingalbumcover

…as big fans of Mott the Hoople (Mick Jones was a member of the fan club and would travel to all their gigs), it was only natural (well in Clash world that is!) they’d choose Stevens to produce their next album. Stories of the sessions are legion with Stevens production technique just a little on the maverick side to say the least – he famously poured beer into a brand new piano to make it have the ‘right sound’ – needless to say the record company were not happy…..

normal_JoeGuy1
With Mick Jones circa 1979

There’s lots to read about Guy Stevens – follow this link to get a more detailed overview of his career, and then check out this footage of Stevens production techniques whilst working on London Calling….

One last thing, there was much more to Guy Stevens than a wacky music industry figure that we can kind of laugh at, he was at the forefront of Mod and Psychedelic culture in the ’60s, produced some seminal records and named a few famous bands too, and 38 was way, way too young, remember him this way….

Guy_Stevens

 

1 Comment

Leave a Reply