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STEPHEN STREET

The music producer is best known for his work with The Smiths, Morrissey and Blur. He tells an attentive Ben Wardle about the 10 albums he’s worked on that mean the most to him

Even if you’re the sort of music fan who pays scant attention to production credits, the name Stephen Street will still be familiar. Maybe it’s the alliterative, almost poetic quality of his name, that ensures that it sticks firmly in the mind (and, yes, before you ask, it is the name he was given at birth – back in Hackney in 1960). More probably it’s because it’s very likely to appear on some of your most cherished records.

Beginning his career as a bass player (in ska-pop band BIM), he quickly became in-house studio engineer at Island Records, after which he went on to produce a list of albums that have sold in excess of 50 million copies. To have worked with arguably the best British band of the 1980s would be considered enough justification by most producers to start preparing laurels to rest upon, but Street spent a large chunk of the 1990s working with perhaps the most significant British band of that decade too (no, not Oasis, Gallagher fans). And he has continued to surprise music lovers right up to the present day. So in a career jam-packed full of classic albums, which 10 does Street pick to mark out his own life in vinyl?

THE SMITHS

THE QUEEN IS DEAD

Rough Trade 1986

“To be honest, my favourite Smiths album is Strangeways… but I chose this because it’s my first album with a credit; Morrissey couldn’t quite bring himself to share the production credit! But it was a big breakthrough for me. The first step.

“It has aged well. At the time, I could tell it was a good piece of work, but it’s amazing how it’s taken on a life of its own, and it’s so revered. They were constantly on the road, so it was recorded a bit haphazardly. The Boy With The Thorn In His Side was done up in Manchester on their own, then I finished it off and mixed it in London; Bigmouth Strikes Again was recorded at RAK in London, but it was mainly done at Jacobs in Farnham.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Long Live Vinyl - Apr 2019: Record Store Day
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