Actually, Rick Rubin’s Resume would be a cool name for a band, assuming he didn’t sue you. Anyway, wow. He not only has produced influential debuts from the Beastie Boys to LL Cool J to Run DMC to Public Enemy, but in the process proved that rock and rap could co-exist. He’s pretty much responsible for Johnny Cash’s late-career comeback and produced the flourish of albums at the end of Cash’s life. He produced a mid-career masterpiece for Tom Petty, almost all of the Slayer albums, and I think every Chili Peppers record since and starting with the classic Blood Sugar Sex Magik. He’s done solo/acoustic records for Neil Diamond and Jakob Dylan, alt-rock stuff like Slipknot, and produced the album that contains “Baby Got Back.” Most recently he got the unfocused and feuding Metallica to stop putting out crap and make a classic-sounding Metallica album and then produced a great rootsy folksy ditty for indie favorites the Avett Brothers. That kind of variety is what makes him incredible. He’s done everything at every end of every spectrum and everywhere in between and most of it is great. Sometimes all within the same year.
He started work with U2 on their most recent album but those sessions were shelved and never heard, as the boys when back to Lanois/Eno to do No Line on the Horizon. I heard, or read… or read on the internet that someone heard… anyway, this reliable source said that Rubin is a hardass, and he won’t just take and record the first 10 songs you show up with. He’ll send you back to write more and tell you to do better. Maybe Bono and the Edge didn’t like that and they wanted Yes Men at the controls? Maybe Rubin thought U2’s new stuff sucked and told them to get lost? Who knows. Just adds to the legend.
But the real legend is in his resume. It’s one thing to say “damn, go read this guy’s Wiki page!” It’s another to then realize that there’s a separate Wikipedia page for his Album Production Credits! Check out his bio on allmusic.com and click “credits” and take a look.
My Top 10 Favorite Albums Produced by Rick Rubin:
1986: Raising Hell – Run-DMC
1987: Yo! Bum Rush the Show – Public Enemy
1988: South of Heaven – Slayer
1991: Blood Sugar Sex Magik – Red Hot Chili Peppers
1994: American Recordings – Johnny Cash
1994: Wildflowers – Tom Petty
2000: Renegades – Rage Against the Machine
2003: De-Loused in the Comatorium – The Mars Volta
2008: Death Magnetic – Metallica
2009: I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers
The Top 10 Albums Produced by Rick Rubin that didn’t make the list above:
1985: Radio – LL Cool J
1986: Licensed to Ill – Beastie Boys
1986: Reign in Blood – Slayer
1987: Electric – The Cult
1988: Danzig – Danzig
1998: Chef Aid: The South Park Album – South Park
1999: Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers
2001: Toxicity – System of a Down
2002: American IV: The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash
2002: By the Way – Red Hot Chili Peppers
[…] Rubin already had a legendary resume, from classic rap and metal to mainstream platinum-selling rock, but he cemented that legend by […]
[…] on this project to tell these guys “Hey half these songs suck.” That would be surprising, given his track record, but it’s possible that working with RHCP is cant-say-no money and he just pushes buttons to […]
Even if it doesn’t make your list, Adele’s 21 would have to make the top ten you didn’t name. It won Album of the year and has already sold over 20 million copies between the US and the UK.