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Anthony Edward Visconti (born April 24, 1944) is an Americanmarker record producer and sometimes a musician or singer.

Since the late 1960s, he has worked with an array of notable performers, including the Moody Blues, as well as T.Rex, Mary Hopkin (Visconti's wife), Thin Lizzy, Ralph McTell, Sparks, Gentle Giant, Semi Precious Weapons, The Boomtown Rats, Hazel O'Connor, Adam Ant, The Stranglers, Richard Barone, Manic Street Preachers, Kristeen Young, Hugh Cornwell and most recently Morrissey. His lengthiest involvement with any artist is with David Bowie: intermittently from Bowie's 1969 album Space Oddity to 2003's Reality, Visconti has produced and occasionally performed on many of Bowie's albums.

Early life

Visconti was born in Brooklynmarker, New Yorkmarker, and his father, a music enthusiast, taught Visconti to play the ukulele when he was five years old. He attended New Utrecht High School. Throughout his teenage years Visconti was involved with both a classical brass band (playing tuba) and a traditional orchestra (playing double bass), as well as playing rock 'n' roll-oriented guitar, valuable experience which served him well in later years. By the age of 15 he focused his efforts playing in local Brooklyn bands.

During the next few years of his life, he was involved with a number of soft-rock and lounge acts, playing both the bass and electric guitar. With his then-wife Siegrid, he attempted a career as pop duo Tony and Siegrid. Under this name, their first single "Long Hair" was a minor regional hit in New York City in late 1966, peaking at #33 on local top 40 station WMCA. However, this was to be the peak level of success for the duo, as no further singles charted.

After this failure to become a commercially successful pop singer, Visconti became in-house producer for his publisher, the Richmond Organization.

Production

Visconti met with Britishmarker producer Denny Cordell in 1968 while he was still working as Richmond's in-house producer. Cordell asked him to assist in recordings for successful jazz vocalist Georgie Fame. Visconti moved to Londonmarker—in a move that would soon become permanent.

One of his first production projects in England with was the Welshmarker group The Iveys (later known as Badfinger). He produced several tracks for the band's first LP Maybe Tomorrow, released on The Beatles' Apple label. The title track from this album was released as a single and reached #67 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1968. More early production work on the album Prophets, Seers & Sages – The Angels of the Ages for the British outfit Tyrannosaurus Rex (later to become T.Rex) was to be of critical importance in kick-starting his influential career. It was to begin a relationship with T. Rex that would last for their next seven albums. One of Visconti's greatest successes was Electric Warrior, the album that made T.Rex frontman Marc Bolan a superstar and cemented Visconti's producing credentials. Shortly afterwards Visconti began to work with David Bowie and, along with guitarist Mick Ronson and drummer John Cambridge, formed and toured with the band Hype in which he played bass. Although the band name would be very short-lived, the line-up persisted and would go on to record the seminal album and single The Man Who Sold the World in 1970. He would further go on to work on the albums Diamond Dogs (1974), Young Americans (1975), "Heroes" (1977), Low (1977), Lodger (1979) and Scary Monsters (1980).

In 1983, Visconti produced Stage, the first of four albums for British musical theatre star Elaine Paige. This was followed by Cinema (1984), Love Hurts (1985) and Christmas (1986).

Visconti would produce two full albums for the Moody Blues, The Other Side of Life (1986), and Sur La Mer (1988). In 1987, Visconti, together with Moodies' lead vocalist Justin Hayward, supplied incidental music for the BBC2 science fiction series Star Cops.

By the end of the 1980s, Visconti's consistent involvement with top artists had diminished, but despite this he continued to work with many newly formed outfits. In 1990, he produced and wrote the arrangements for the debut album from NYC band Electric Angels. He produced several tracks on the Moodies' Keys of the Kingdom album (1991), Luscious Jackson's Electric Honey, Leisure Noise by Gay Dad, Soul Caddy for Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Dawn of Ananda for Annie Haslam and Moonchild for Debbie Gibson. In 1997 Visconti produced the debut album of former Stone Roses member John Squire's new band, The Seahorses. The album, Do It Yourself was a moderate success. In the 2000s, Visconti renewed his association with David Bowie, producing the albums Heathen in 2002, and Reality in 2003. These two albums hark back to his Berlinmarker production work with Bowie. A list of the best known albums with which he has been associated is available from his official website.

He produced and played bass on a handful of tracks from The Dandy Warhols 2003 album Welcome to the Monkey House. In 2003 he teamed up with the Finn Brothers (Neil and Tim of Crowded House and Split Enz fame) to record and produce their second collaborative album, eventually released in 2004. For reasons largely unknown, the brothers re-recorded the entire album and Tony is credited for his string arrangements only. In 2004, he produced three songs on the Manic Street Preachers Album Lifeblood. In 2005, he collaborated with Copenhagenmarker band Kashmir, whose fifth album, No Balance Palace, featured David Bowie. He has also collaborated as co-writer and producer on the album project by Richard Barone. He worked in Romemarker on the 2006 Morrissey album Ringleader of the Tormentors. His autobiography, Bowie, Bolan and The Brooklyn Boy, was published in February 2007 by Harper Collins UK. The imported soft cover version is now available in the United Statesmarker. The book has been translated into French by Jérôme Soligny as Tony Visconti Bowie, Bolan et le Gamin de Brooklyn, published by Tournon

In 2007 and 2008, Visconti was very active in the studio with Beninmarker singer Angélique Kidjo, producing her Grammy-winning album Djin Djin (Razor & Tie). Guests artists include Alicia Keys, Peter Gabriel, Joss Stone, Josh Groban and Carlos Santana. He has also produced two albums at St. Claire studio in Lexington, Kentuckymarker: The Bright Lights of America (RCA) by Pittsburghmarker punk band Anti-Flag and an album by Alejandro Escovedo called Real Animal (Manhattan Records) released on June 2008. He has partially produced the new No. 1 album (in Francemarker) by French artist Raphael in Parismarker and New York. He has just completed work on the new Kristeen Young album Music for Strippers, Hookers, and the Odd On-Looker, due for release early in 2009. He has produced two tracks for the British group Razorlight for their album Slipway Fires released late 2008. He has written and conducted two string arrangements for the Fall Out Boy album Folie à Deux. He has produced an album for Australian singer Danielle Spencer to be released in 2009.

Discography

Production



Notes

  1. ARSA | Tony & Siegrid — Long Hair


References

  • Tony Visconti – The Autobiography: Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy, Harper Collins, 2007, ISBN 0007229445, ISBN 978-0007229444


External links




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