Before we hear it on the radio, a song is carefully crafted in the studio with the help of a music producer. After the melodies and lyrics are written, it’s the producers job to take all the aspects of songwriting and bring them together to create a distinct sound.
In most contemporary music, a sole producer is hired for an album or single. But occurring more frequently, production teams of 2 or more are appointed to an artist to help shape their sound. By having multiple ears and different tastes, production teams can distill a once clunky song down to its’ essence and make a tune that is not only accessible, but undeniably catchy.
Here is a list of the Top 5 production teams in music who have helped shaped history or are creating waves in the industry today.
|The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams/Chad Hugo)
Before “Happy”, Pharrell Williams was behind the control boards with Chad Hugo, creating some of the most popular R&B hits of their time. Under The Neptunes name, they worked with a who’s who of popular R&B artists. With hits like “Drop it Like it’s Hot” by Snoop Dogg and “I Just Wanna Love You (Give it 2 Me)” by Jay-Z, The Neptunes have been in high demand since their inception. Their distinct sound is shaped by minimalistic beats and Pharrell’s sometimes uncredited guest vocals, often singing the refrain in a high falsetto.As producers of Justin Timberlake’s 202 debut, “Justified”, they’re credited with helping to create the sound that broke him out as a solo artist with songs like “Rock Your Body” and “Like I Love You”. The following year, they collaborated with Justin on “I’m Lovin’ It”, a pop melody that would later be used as the slogan for McDonald’s enduring marketing campaign.
|The Smeezingtons (Bruno Mars/Philip Lawrence/Ari Levine)
Known for their radio friendly, upbeat songs, The Smeezingtons are the music production team responsible for Bruno Mars’ entire discography, as well as many other popular acts of the last 5 years.Formed in 2010, this team is credited with the production of 5 Billboard #1 singles and many Top 40 hits, including “Nothin’ On You” by B.o.B and “F*** You” by Cee Lo Green.Along with production, The Smeezingtons are also songwriters, penning tunes for Bruno Mars and other artists, with tracks like “Who Dat Girl” by Flo Rida and “Lighters” by Eminem.
|The Glimmer Twins (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards)
Working under the guise of The Glimmer Twins, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards not only make up the legendary song writing duo of The Rolling Stones, they’re also the band’s in-house producers.After Jimmy Miller’s hugely successful producing stint for The Rolling Stones, a 5 album streak from 1968’s “Beggar’s Banquet” to 1973’s “Goats Head Soup”, Jagger and Richards took over production duties. They would go on to produce or co-produce all of their own albums, beginning with “It’s Only Rock’n Roll” in 1974, making up the majority of the Stones’ catalogue, which has enjoyed continued success.
|Daniel Lanois & Brian Eno
As producers both separately and together, Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno have made an impressive dent in music history. On their own, producing albums for Bob Dylan and Neil Young or David Bowie and Coldplay, they’re among the best. But together, they have forged a sound unlike any other.Hired as producers for U2, they helped create the atmospheric, stadium filling sound made by one of the biggest bands in the world. As producers on “The Joshua Tree”, “Achtung Baby” and “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”, among others, their sound is one that is often imitated but never matched.
|Max Martin, Dr. Luke & Shellback
If you have ever turned on Top 40 radio, you have likely heard a song by one of these producers. Working together or apart, they have amassed an unparalleled number of hits.Beginning in the 90’s with artists like Britney Spears and The Backstreet Boys, and working into today’s modern music scene with the like of Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, you’ll find these producers at the top of any list of production teams in music.
Working in several combinations with one another, hits by these producers include, “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift, “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson and “One More Night” by Maroon 5.
Like any great director, a music producer helps to create the art that you enjoy.
Next time you listen to your favorite song or hear a classic melody on the radio, don’t be surprised if you find out that the people behind it are one of these Top 5 production teams in music!