Hugh Padgham

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Hugh Padgham
Born (1955-02-15) 15 February 1955 (age 59) [1]
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England
Genres Rock, Electronic, Pop rock, Synthpop, Soft rock, Hard rock
Occupations Producer, Engineer, Mixing, Remixing
Instruments Whistle
Years active 1978-present
Labels Universal, Islands, London, London UK, Major Records, A&M

Hugh Charles Padgham (born 15 February 1955) is an English record producer. He has won many awards, including four Grammys, with Producer of the Year (1985) and Engineer of the Year. A 1992 poll in Mix magazine voted him one of the world's Top Ten Most Influential Producers. Padgham co-produced some of the biggest and most enduring songs of the 1980s, including many hits by Phil Collins, Genesis, The Human League, Sting and The Police.

Early life[edit]

Padgham was born on 15 February 1955 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.[2] He was educated at St Edward's School, Oxford.[3]

Career[edit]

Padgham became interested in record production after listening to Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection. He started out as a tape operator at Advision Studios, working in recording sessions for Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. From there he went to Lansdowne Studios and moved from tape-operator/assistant engineer to head engineer. In 1978, Padgham got a job at The Townhouse, where he engineered and/or produced acts including XTC, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins.

Padgham's previous work with Gabriel and Collins led to a long and enormously successful collaboration with Genesis in the 1980s, which produced a string of hit albums and singles including Genesis and Invisible Touch. In addition to his work with Genesis and XTC, Padgham co-produced two albums with The Police: Ghost in the Machine and Synchronicity, as well as Paul McCartney's Press to Play and The Human League's Hysteria. Iconic New Zealand band Split Enz have honoured his contributions to their work by including a tongue-in-cheek reference to live performances of their biggest hit "I Got You": instead of "look at you / you're a pageant" they sing "look at you / you're Hugh Padgham".[4]

In the 2000s, Padgham had a great success with Sting as well as McFly. He had four UK number one hits in 2005 and 2006 with McFly, as well as a number of other Top Ten Singles. In 2002, Padgham produced The Tragically Hip album In Violet Light, which includes the fan-favourite "Its a Good Life if You Don't Weaken".

Padgham's other work includes developing his own recording studio, Sofa Sound,[5] available commercially in 2007.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Padgham currently lives in Chiswick, West London, with his long-term partner, the designer Cath Kidston , his daughter Jessica (born 1992/93), and his dog Stanley (often shown in Cath Kidston catalogues). They met when she worked as his interior designer[7]

The "gated drum" sound[edit]

Padgham is credited with creating the 'gated' drum sound used so prominently on Phil Collins' single "In the Air Tonight", and which became the template for much of the recorded pop drum sound of the 1980s. The effect is believed to have first been used on the 1980 third self-titled solo album by Peter Gabriel, which Padgham engineered and on which Collins played. At this time, Padgham was working regularly as the recording engineer for noted UK producer Steve Lillywhite, and they collaborated on many well-known albums and singles in the early 1980s.

Padgham's 'gated drum' effect is created by adding a large amount of heavily compressed room ambience to the original drum sound, and then feeding that reverb signal through an electronic device known as a noise gate. This unit can be programmed to cut off any signal fed through it, either after a specified time interval (in this case, some tens of milliseconds), or when the incoming signal falls below a preset gain threshold. The result is the arresting 'gated reverb' effect, in which the reverberation cuts off abruptly, rather than fading away.

In a 2006 interview, Padgham revealed how the effect was first engineered:

The whole thing came through the famous "listen mic" on the SSL console. The SSL had put this massive compressor on it because the whole idea was to hang one mic in the middle of the studio and hear somebody talking on the other side. And it just so happened that we turned it on one day when Phil [Collins] was playing his drums. And then I had the idea of feeding that back into the console and putting the noise gate on, so when he stopped playing it sucked the big sound of the room into nothing.

Collaborators[edit]

Artists for whom Padgham has produced or engineered include:

Awards[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Awarded Category Nomination Notes
Wins
1986 Album of the Year No Jacket Required (1985) Together with Phil Collins
Producer of the Year (Non-Classical)
1991 Record of the Year "Another Day in Paradise" (1989)
1994 Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical Ten Summoner's Tales (1993)
Nominations
1984 Album of the Year Synchronicity (1983) Together with The Police
Record of the Year "Every Breath You Take" (1983)
1991 Album of the Year ...But Seriously (1989) Together with Phil Collins
Producer of the Year (Non-Classical)
Best Engineered Recording - Non-Classical
1994 Album of the Year Ten Summoner's Tales (1993) Together with Sting
Record of the Year "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" (1993)
Producer of the Year Ten Summoner's Tales (1993)

Brit Awards[edit]

Year Awarded Category Nomination
Nominations
1986 British Producer No Jacket Required (1985)
1987 Invisible Touch (1986)

References[edit]

External links[edit]