Have you got the information??

Here at Hack’s Back Pages,” I’m continually providing bits of what I hope you find interesting music trivia, and now and then, I like to share these facts in the form of a quiz to test my readers’ knowledge.

Go ahead, give Rock Music Trivia Quiz #4 a shot! You might know more than you think you do.


1. Who was the first of these female artists to have a #1 single in the U.S.?

Petula Clark

Dusty Springfield

Lesley Gore

Dionne Warwick

2. Which David Bowie album features Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar work on most tracks?

“Scary Monsters” (1980)

“Let’s Dance” (1983)

“Heroes” (1977)

“Tonight” (1984)

3. Which of these four songwriters did NOT have one of their songs turned into a Three Dog Night hit single?

Randy Newman

Laura Nyro

Harry Nilsson

Carole King

4. Who was Neil Young singing about in his hit “Old Man”?

His grandfather

The caretaker of his ranch

His high school music teacher

B.B. King

5. Which major songwriter wrote this iconic line of lyric: “I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now”?

Paul Simon

Joni Mitchell

Bob Dylan

John Lennon

6. Which of these fine guitarists did NOT made a guest appearance on a Steely Dan record?

Rick Derringer

Eric Clapton

Mark Knopfler

Larry Carlton

7. Who had the most Top Ten singles on U.S. charts during the disco era (1974-1980)?

The Bee Gees

Donna Summer

K.C. & The Sunshine Band

Kool and The Gang

8. What album from 1973 is the only solo Beatles album to feature all four Beatles on it?

“Mind Games,” John Lennon

“Ringo,” Ringo Starr

“Band on the Run,” Paul McCartney

“Living in the Material World,” George Harrison

9. In the 1980s, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was far and away the most popular album, holding on to the #1 spot on Billboard’s Top Albums an incredible 37 weeks in 1983-84. What album ranked second behind “Thriller” for most weeks at #1 in the 1980s?

“Synchronicity,” The Police

“Hi Infidelity,” REO Speedwagon

“Purple Rain,” Prince

“Whitney Houston,” Whitney Houston

10. Which hit single by Creedence Clearwater Revival was NOT written by singer John Fogerty?

“Lookin’ Out My Back Door”

“Fortunate Son”


“Proud Mary”

Extra credit question!

There are several examples of different Top Ten songs that share the same title. Which song title below has been used on more Top Ten hits than the others?















1 Lesley Gore

Gore was only 17 when “It’s My Party” rocketed to #1 in June 1963. Petula Clark’s #1 hit “Downtown” didn’t come until January 1965. Dionne Warwick’s early hits failed to reach #1, and she didn’t reach the top spot until 1974 with “Then Came You.” Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” was #1 in England in 1966 but peaked at #4 in the U.S.; she never had a #1 hit here.

Stevie Ray Vaughan and David Bowie, 1983

2 “Let’s Dance”

In 1982 at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Bowie first heard Austin, Texas-based blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, then mostly unknown, and when the time came to record “Let’s Dance,” Bowie tracked Vaughan down and enlisted him to overdub lead guitar solos on six of the album’s eight tracks, most notably on “Criminal World,” “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” and the title track. It was the only time Vaughan appeared on a Bowie album.

Carole King and Gerry Goffin

3 Carole King

King, usually with her then-husband Gerry Goffin, wrote many hits for other artists (“I’m Into Something good” for Herman’s Hermits, “Don’t Bring Me Down” for The Animals and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” for The Monkees, among others). But Three Dog Night never recorded one of her tunes. The vocal trio did record Randy Newman’s “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” Laura Nyro’s “Eli’s Comin'” and Harry Nilsson’s “One.”

4 “Old Man” was written about the caretaker on Neil Young’s ranch

In 2006, Young explained the origin of “Old Man”: “Being a rich hippie for the first time, I had purchased a ranch, and there was a couple living on it who were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avila and his wife Clara. Louis took me for a ride in his blue Jeep, and he gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, ‘Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?’ And I said, ‘Well, just lucky, Louis, just real lucky.’ And he said, ‘Well, that’s the darnedest thing I ever heard.’ And I wrote this song for him.”

5 Bob Dylan wrote “I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now” in “My Back Pages”

By the time of his fourth album, appropriately titled “Another Side of Bob Dylan,” he had begun to veer away from what he called “finger-pointing songs” that took issue with political leaders. Music critic Tim Riley said the new material “constituted a decisive act of non-commitment… in which he renounced his over-serious messianic perch and disowned false insights.” Dylan would occasionally return to so-called protest songs in his career, but at that point, he was eager to show a sense of humor and idealism, as shown in the song “My Back Pages.”

6 Eric Clapton

Rick Derringer played on three Steely Dan songs — “Show Biz Kids,” “Chain Lightning” and “My Rival.” Mark Knopfler guested on the single “Time Out of Mind.” Larry Carlton was almost a regular member, playing on “Daddy Don’t Live in New York City No More,” “Kid Charlemagne,” “Don’t Take Me Alive,” “Everything You Did,” “The Royal Scam,” “Third World Man” and five out of seven tunes on the “Aja” album. Eric Clapton was either never asked or declined to participate in any Steely Dan session.

7 Donna Summer

“The Queen of Disco” compiled 10 Top Ten disco hits between 1974-1980: “Love to Love You Baby,” “I Feel Love,” “Last Dance,” “MacArthur Park,” “Heaven Knows,” “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls,” “No More Tears,” “On the Radio,” “The Wanderer.” KC & The Sunshine Band accumulated seven hits in the Top Ten in those years; and The Bee Gees and Kool and The Gang both had five Top Ten disco hits (they had more hits before and after the era in question, of course).

8 “Ringo”

As the album’s back cover indicates, the “Ringo” album includes songs written by each of Starr’s former bandmates. Lennon wrote, played piano and sang on “I’m the Greatest”; McCartney wrote, played keyboards and sang on “Six O’Clock”; and Harrison wrote or co-wrote, played guitar and sang on “Photograph,” “Sunshine Life For Me” and “You and Me Babe,” although the four of them never played together on the same track. Ringo played drums on George’s “Living in the Material World” LP, but no other ex-Beatle played on John’s “Mind Games” nor Paul’s “Band on the Run.”

9 “Purple Rain,” Prince and the Revolution

A few months after “Thriller” completed its amazing reign at #1, Prince’s soundtrack album to his “Purple Rain” feature film began its own remarkable run as the #1 album, lasting 24 weeks. REO Speedwagon’s “Hi Infidelity” cornered the market as the #1 album for 21 weeks in 1981; The Police’s final album “Synchronicity” held the top spot for 17 weeks in 1983; and Whitney Houston’s debut album was #1 for 14 weeks in 1985.

10 “Suzie-Q”

Virtually every song Creedence Clearwater Revival ever recorded was written by their singer/guitarist, John Fogerty. There were exceptions — they did some fine cover versions of songs like “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “The Night Time is the Right Time,” “Before You Accuse Me” and even an 11-minute jam on “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” but these were all deep album tracks. The only bonafide hit single Creedence had that Fogerty didn’t write was “Suzie-Q,” written by Dale Hawkins in 1957, which reached #11 in 1968 as the band’s first chart appearance.

Extra credit: “Lady”

There have been four different hit songs entitled “Lady” — Styx in 1975 (#6); Little River Band in 1979 (#10); Kenny Rogers in 1980 (#1); and The Commodores in 1981 (#8).

Three hit songs use the title “Magic” — Pilot in 1975 (#5); Olivia Newton-John in 1980 (#1); and The Cars in 1984 (#12).

Three hit tunes have the title “Fire” — Crazy World of Arthur Brown in 1968 (#2); Ohio Players in 1975 (#1); and The Pointer Sisters in 1979 (#2). (Jimi Hendrix had a ferocious rocker called “Fire,” but it wasn’t a single.)

As for the title “Venus,” it was a #1 hit for Frankie Avalon in 1959, and then a different “Venus” was a #1 hit for Shocking Blue in 1970, and a cover of Shocking Blue’s tune by Banamarama also reached #1 in 1986.

I’m been in the studio all day and night

I remember one day in 1975 when I went to a friend’s house to hear some new albums played through a state-of-the-art sound system.  “This is going to totally blow you away,” he said, as he lowered the needle on the last track of Queen’s new album, “A Night at the Opera,” an ambitious little number called “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The sound seemed to explode from the speakers.  The lush harmonies, Freddie Mercury’s powerful lead vocals, the quasi-classical piano, the “Galileo/Magnifico” operatic portion, Brian May’s hard rock guitar solo — all of it sounded like it was right there in the room with me.  “Holy crap,” I said, “the production is spectacular!  How do they get it to sound so damn good?”

While the members of Queen deserve plenty of credit, the man chiefly responsible for the crystal-clear sound quality was producer Roy Thomas Baker, one of the titans of the recording studio in the ’70s, ’80s and beyond.  He was a true innovator whose work includes some of the most successful albums of the era.

So what exactly is a record producer?  What does he do?

That’s a loaded question, because he may wear many different hats, depending on the circumstances of the recording session.

In the industry’s early years, different professionals worked for the major record labels, carrying out the various tasks that made up the recording process.  Beginning in the 1950s with the advent of the independent commercial studios, entrepreneurial producers created and occupied a new layer in the industry, taking on a role in the musical process that was more direct yet also more multi-faceted.

Depending on his clout and level of influence, the producer might handle any number of functions.  He may identify up-and-coming artists, select songs, choose musicians, suggest arrangements, coach artists in the studio, control the recording process, and sometimes supervise the post-recording phases of mixing and mastering.  Some may take on broader roles such as scheduling, budgeting, even contract negotiations.

“A producer creatively guides the process of making a record,” summarizes Phil Ek, producer of current indie bands like The Shins, Modest Mouse and Fleet Foxes.  “Basically, his job is to create, shape and mold a piece of music, whether it’s one track or a whole album.”

Perhaps even more important, though, is this key role:  “A producer should be a psychologist,” noted Marc Tanner, producer of albums for Nelson and The Calling, as well as numerous film soundtrack LPs.  “He’s typically working with bands and artists with big egos who think they know everything, so when the producer has an idea and wants to steer things in a certain direction, he needs to make them think it was their idea.  And that’s a tricky thing.”

The producer also needs to know who’s really in charge.  If a musical giant like Paul McCartney is making a new record, clearly he’s going to have the final say-so.  When an industry mogul with the power of a Clive Davis is involved, nothing’s getting released without his stamp of approval.  In some cases, though, the producer himself is the one who holds the most sway, and he can then operate differently, knowing he won’t be second-guessed.

The best producers, naturally, are those whose reputations precede them.  The track record speaks for itself and makes them the most sought after in the business.  They may be pleasant or gruff, but they’re known for getting the best work from their artists.

Let’s take a look at my subjective list of the top dozen rock music producers of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.  In my view, they’re the ones who developed innovative recording techniques, used them to maximum effectiveness, and brought out the very best in the artists they were producing.


George Martin (center) with the Beatles recording “All You Need is Love”

At the top of the list is George Martin, whose work with The Beatles put him in a category by himself.  He and his talented engineer Geoff Emerick came up with wildly creative ideas and methods to conjure up the sounds John Lennon and Paul McCartney envisioned (in a time before computers and their ability to produce sounds by simply pressing a button).  Martin also knew, as The Beatles learned the recording process and became more adept at executing it, to defer to their wishes and get out of their way when the situation warranted. Martin later worked with McCartney on his solo career, and also with Jeff Beck, Kenny Rogers, Elton John and America, among many others.

Quincy Jones

In both quantity and quality, Quincy Jones qualifies as a god of record producing.  With 28 Grammys on his mantelpiece and more than 80 nominations, he is the most celebrated producer ever.  He’s been a conductor, arranger and composer for everyone from Lesley Gore to Frank Sinatra in the ’60s, from George Benson to the Brothers Johnson in the ’70s, and Miles Davis’s final LP in 1991.  Most notably, he’s the producer of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” the best-selling album of all time, as well as Jackson’s “Off the Wall” and “Bad,” and the single “We Are the World,” on which he had to juggle the egos of two dozen rock stars in the same studio.

Phil Spector (far right) ruling the roost in the studio

The late Phil Spector may be in better known for his second-degree murder conviction and sketchy mental state, but that doesn’t diminish the astonishing advancements he made in the field of record production.  His famous “Wall of Sound” technique — in which he used multiple guitarists, keyboardists, drummers, horns and strings to create an all-enveloping sound on record — was one of the most ingenious innovations in the history of sound production.  Designed to enhance the sound coming from AM radios and jukeboxes of the 1960s, Spector’s Wall of Sound took the material being recorded by girl groups like The Ronettes and the Crystals and duos like The Righteous Brothers and made them sound like dense mini-symphonies. He did the same thing later with George Harrison, John Lennon and The Ramones.

Tom Dowd (center) with Dickey Betts (left) and Duane Allman (right)

Among the influential developments that producer Tom Dowd came up with in the 1960s were multi-track recording and methods for altering sound after the initial recording. He has a long and impressive resumé of production credits with some of the giants, including: every album by The Allman Brothers Band; Eric Clapton (“Layla” and “461 Ocean Boulevard”); Rod Stewart (“A Night on the Town” and “Blondes Have More Fun”); Kenny Loggins (“Keep the Fire”); Dr. John (“Remedies”); Wilson Pickett (“Hey Jude” and “Right On”); Bobby Darin (“Mack the Knife”); Lynyrd Skynyrd (“Gimme Back My Bullets”); and jazz legends John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk.

Glyn Johns (center) with Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger

From the mid-’60s right up through the 2010s, Glyn Johns has been at the helm of some of the biggest bands and best albums in rock.  He produced every Rolling Stones album from 1963 through 1975, encompassing the group’s very best work.  He engineered and mixed the incredible debut LP by Led Zeppelin.  He worked on The Beatles’ “Let It Be” album.  He produced multiple projects for Steve Miller Band and Boz Scaggs.  He was producer for the first two Eagles releases.  He worked with Pete Townshend to produce “Who’s Next,” arguably their finest LP and one of the best sounding records ever made.  He also produced “Who Are You” and “By Numbers,” two by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Humble Pie, “Combat Rock” for The Clash, and Clapton’s “Slowhand” and his 2016 release “I Still Do.”

“Mutt” Lange with ex-wife Shania Twain

John Robert “Mutt” Lange, another innovator in multi-track recording, has been a hugely influential rock music producer, responsible for the superlative production on such chart-toppers as AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” and “Back in Black”; Def Leppard’s “High ‘n Dry,” “Pyromania” and “Hysteria”; Foreigner’s “4”; The Cars’ “Heartbeat City”; and albums for Bryan Adams and Huey Lewis & The News.  In 1997, he produced “Come On Over” for his then-wife Shania Twain, which is one of the best selling country albums of all time.

Albhy Galuten (center) with Barry Gibb (right)

The phenomenal sound production you hear on The Bee Gees’ best known songs is the work of Albhy Galuten, who also produced albums by Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Kenny Rogers, Eric Clapton and Olivia Newton-John.  He was at the helm of the mega-platinum soundtrack album of “Saturday Night Fever” and Franki Valli’s theme song to “Grease.”  Galuten is a true sound technician who holds several technological patents in the digital age and has served as a chief tech executive at Sony and Universal.

Peter Asher

Take another listen to James Taylor’s “Mud Slide Slim,” “One Man Dog” and “JT”, and to every Linda Ronstadt album from “Heart Like a Wheel” through “Cry Like a Rainstorm.”  They all sound fabulous due to producer Peter Asher‘s savvy in the studio.  He was one of the few who capably served the dual producer/manager role, and Taylor and Ronstadt were the clear beneficiaries.  He won Grammys for Producer of the Year in 1977 and 1989 for his work on their albums.  Asher also produced key records for Bonnie Raitt, Andrew Gold, 10,000 Maniacs, Cher and J.D. Souther.

Jack Douglas

Vocalist Steven Tyler has credited producer Jack Douglas with being “the unofficial sixth member of Aerosmith.”  He brought out the best in a very rowdy band on their hugely successful ’70s records — “Get Your Wings,” “Toys in the Attic,” “Rocks” and “Draw the Line.”  And it was Douglas at the soundboard controls when John Lennon returned to the studio in 1980 after a five-year sabbatical to record the songs that comprised the “Double Fantasy” and “Milk and Honey” LPs.  He also produced records for Cheap Trick, Montrose, Alice Cooper and Slash.

Roy Thomas Baker (lower left) with Queen

Roy Thomas Baker, mentioned at the top of this essay, was at the helm for such classic albums as Queen’s “II,” “Sheer Heart Attack,” “A Night at the Opera” and “Jazz”;  The Cars’ debut LP, “Candy-O” and “Shake It Up”;  Journey’s “Infinity” and “Evolution”;  Free’s “Fire and Water”; Foreigner’s “Head Games”; Ozzy Osbourne’s “The Ozzman Cometh”; and the soundtrack LPs to “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Wayne’s World.”

Bob Clearmountain

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and watch the great producer/mixing engineer Bob Clearmountain at work in his home studio just down the road from me in Pacific Palisades. He has worked on many dozens of classic albums by artists including Bruce Springsteen (“Born in the USA”), The Stones (“Tattoo You”), David Bowie (“Let’s Dance”), Bryan Adams (“Cuts Like a Knife”), Roxy Music (“Avalon”), Simple Minds (“Once Upon a Time”) and Crowded House (“Woodface”). Not coincidentally, these LPs are among the best sounding albums in each artists’ careers.

Gary Katz

Gary Katz gets a nod of appreciation for the incredible results he got working with Donald Fagen and Walter Becker and a host of session musicians on the records of Steely Dan. At first they were just a six-man band, but five of their seven albums saw the songwriters in search of evermore-pristine production values, and Katz was instrumental in helping the artists find that near-perfection, especially on “Aja” and “Gaucho.” Katz also produced albums for Diana Ross, 10cc and Joe Cocker.


Honorable mentions go to a few other talented producers: Daniel Lanois, who steered the ship on multiple LPs by U2 (“The Joshua Tree,” “Aching Baby”), Peter Gabriel (“So”) and Bob Dylan (“Oh Mercy,” “Time Out of Mind”); Bill Szymczyk, the man behind the sound for every album by The Eagles beginning with “On the Border,” the first three LPs by The James Gang, Joe Walsh’s “The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get,” Bob Seger’s “Against the Wind,” B.B. King’s “Completely Well” and Michael Stanley’s “Friends and Legends”; and Eddie Offord, who specialized in progressive rock records by Yes (“The Yes Album,” “Fragile,” “Close to the Edge,” “Relayer”) and Emerson, Lake and Palmer (“ELP,” “Tarkus,” “Trilogy”).


In the realm of record production, there are many artists who have taken on the producer role for their own albums.  Baker had this to say about that:  “All artists, I think, would like to produce their own records.  To me, it’s like someone trying to be their own lawyer in court.  Even if you are a lawyer, everyone knows you shouldn’t do it.  Artists should never produce themselves.  They still need someone else around to make sure they get the best out of themselves, because you can’t be two places at once.”

There are always exceptions to the rule.  Self-professed “studio nerds” like Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson and ELO’s Jeff Lynne are listed as producer on nearly all of their albums.  Bob Dylan produced many of his works from 1975 on, and Pink Floyd — as a group — are listed as producer on their LPs.

Most notable, I think, are these two examples:

Brian Wilson was not only composer, singer and bassist for The Beach Boys, but became their sole producer beginning in 1963 when recording studios were still extremely basic.  But Wilson had an extraordinary ability to hear sounds in his head — in many cases, fully formed songs — which he diligently, and successfully, worked to transfer to tape.  All those amazing Beach Boys hits, culminating in “Good Vibrations” and “God Only Knows” from the “Pet Sounds” album, sound as stunning as they do because of Wilson’s producing talent.

Todd Rundgren, who took on the artist/producer dual role from the very beginning of his career in 1970, was, as his album title suggests, “a wizard, a true star.”  He has successfully experimented with new equipment, new techniques and new approaches to album production ever since, and it has served him well.  A number of other artists took notice early on, and tapped Rundgren to produce their albums:  Grand Funk (“We’re an American Band”), Hall & Oates (“War Babies”), Badfinger (“Straight Up”), The Tubes (“Remote Control”), The Band (“Stage Fright”), the New York Dolls debut, and most successfully, Meat Loaf (“Bat Out of Hell”).