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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Sept 17 > THE GREAT JOHN LECKIE


From early recordings at Abbey Road to becoming one of the world’s most in-demand producers, John Leckie has certainly made his mark in the world of music production. He produced The Stone Roses’ iconic debut album and Radiohead’s towering The Bends, just two outstanding moments from a CV that stretches back over five decades. MusicTech sits down to talk about his career, the milestones and some of the lesser-known works that are being rediscovered today…

It’s rare that a producer becomes almost as revered as the artist they are working with, but mention John Leckie’s name to certain Stone Roses, Muse, Simple Minds or Radiohead fans and you’ll get that kind of fanboy reaction. Leckie has helped those bands – and plenty more besides – come up with some of their finest works, or else he has produced albums by bands that have stood the test of time, only to be revisited now and cited as masterpieces.

What’s less known is he started his career at Abbey Road, working with three of the then ex-Beatles on solo projects before cutting his teeth engineering with Pink Floyd. Mention a famous recording and Leckie might well have been there or, as we shall see, possibly out at lunch having left the recorder running.

While he started out 47 years ago, we’ll discover that he utilises the latest technology to emulate a lot of the vintage gear he used back then, and while he has recorded pretty much every genre of music out there, you could argue that he knows a thing or two about getting a great guitar sound (“get a great guitarist!” is his advice, before you ask – more on that later). So join us for a lesson in music-production history, and there’s really only one place to start…

“I started at Abbey Road in February 1970 and by April, I was tape op on the George Harrison All Things Must Pass record”

MusicTech What are your fondest memories of working at Abbey Road in the early 70s?

John Leckie I guess it’s the gear that was used there. I’m not really a musician and none of my friends were musicians, and when I got the job, I was never in a band. But one of my desires was to ‘fly in the spaceship’, because when I first saw a recording studio, that’s what it looked like, all the knobs and flashing lights. All the desks were built by EMI or Decca – this is before Neve or SSL. I think even the mic placement and other studio activity was also specific to Abbey Road, but you had freedom to do anything when I started, and do whatever you wanted.

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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech is on sale from Thursday 17th August and we’re honoured to be the first magazine to present a feature on the brand new studio facilities at the legendary Abbey Road studios: The Gatehouse and the Penthouse. To mark this occasion we bring you a giant Abbey Road special, featuring a studio tour, a COMPLETE gear list, an interview with iconic producer John Leckie (who begun his career at AR) as well as hands on tutorials designed to show you how to re-create the Abbey Road sound at home! We’ve also got a disc packed with Abbey Road related video content for you to feast your eyes on. Elsewhere this issue we have features looking at the history of the Korg MonoPoly, 6 ways to cheat at making music as well as our usual plethora of reviews including the Pioneer Toraiz AS-1 and Novation Circuit 1.5 and a wide range of tutorial content.