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John William Leckie (born 23 October 1949) is an English music producer, and recording engineer with over 40 years experience in recording studios and is notable for producing many high-profile albums of diverse genres of music. Leckie has received several awards for his work.
Leckie began work at Abbey Road Studios on 15 February 1970 as a Tape-Operator, later graduating to Balance Engineer. During this early career he worked with artists such as John Lennon (John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band), George Harrison, (All Things Must Pass), Syd Barrett (Barrett) and Pink Floyd (Meddle and Wish You Were Here). With Paul McCartney's Wings Leckie worked on Red Rose Speedway and the then-controversial single "Hi, Hi, Hi". He mixed Be-Bop Deluxe's début album Axe Victim. His first job as producer was the same band's third album Sunburst Finish, which collaboration continued through Modern Music, Live! In The Air Age and Drastic Plastic.
Leckie left Abbey Road in 1978 and produced albums for Simple Minds (Life in a Day, Real to Real Cacophony and Empires and Dance) and Magazine (Real Life). For Be-Bop Deluxe founder Bill Nelson, he produced the Red Noise album Sound on Sound and Nelson's subsequent solo album Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam (the latter unreleased until 1981). Leckie recorded the début single, Public Image for Public Image Ltd. Leckie's work with XTC included 3D-EP, as well as the band's later albums: White Music, Go 2, 25 O'Clock and Psonic Psunspot which XTC issued under the pseudonym The Dukes of Stratosphear.
High profile album productions in the 1980s included work with The Fall, Brix Smith's post-Fall project The Adult Net, The Lucy Show, The Doctor's Children, Gene Loves Jezebel, Bill Nelson, The Posies, The Dukes of Stratosphear, and Let's Active. For some of his work with The Dukes, The Adult Net and The Doctor's Children, all bands that had strong 1960s psychedelic overtones, Leckie adopted the pseudonym 'Swami Anand Nagara'.
A landmark in Leckie's career came in 1989 when he produced The Stone Roses' debut album The Stone Roses. The album was voted the best record of all time on a music poll taken by BBC Radio 6 Music and features as Number 1 on the Observer Music Monthly’s June 2004 “100 Greatest British Albums”.
Throughout the 1990s Leckie's work continued to garner awards being named Best Producer by Music Week (1995) and at the Q Awards (1996) and Brit Awards (1997), the latter accolade arriving almost exactly 27 years to the day after he first started at Abbey Road Studios.
With Madchester and Britpop dominating British popular music of the early and mid-1990s nineties, Leckie's talents were in constant demand. Notable production credits from this era include The Trashcan Sinatras' 1990 debut album Cake, Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians' 1991 album Respect, the Stone Roses' album Second Coming, The Lilac Time's And Love For All, Ride's 1993 (Carnival of Light), Elastica's 1994 eponymous debut album, Cast's albums All Change (1995) and Mother Nature Calls (1997), Kula Shaker's debut K (1996), and The Verve's A Storm in Heaven. In 1995, Leckie worked on Radiohead's album, The Bends. This would be the band's last album not to be recorded in full by Nigel Godrich, an assistant engineer present during Leckie's work on The Bends.
Leckie's work during the 1990s widened considerably to include the work of Dr John (Anutha Zone) and the Cowboy Junkies (Miles From Our Home) along with a series of world musicians. During the Real World Recording Weeks he worked with Papa Wemba, Shivkumar Sharma, Gopal Shankar and Rizwan Qualli. In 2000, John produced the album Missing You for Palm Pictures' African artist Baaba Maal. The music was recorded in challenging insect-plagued conditions, mostly after dark in Baaba Maal's house in rural Senegal. As the house had no electricity everything was powered from a Honda generator.
In 1999 he produced the début album Showbiz for Taste Media’s then new signings Muse. This went platinum on the heels of the band's breakthrough 2001 second album Origin of Symmetry, also produced by Leckie, which reached No. 3 in the UK album Chart. In 2000 he began production on "Wildflowers" the debut album from Northern Ireland band Relish. It went platinum status in Ireland on release in 2001.
In 2002, Leckie produced a single for Suede (Positivity from the album New Morning), and the eleventh album of Latin superstars and three time Grammy winners Los Lobos (Good Morning Atztlan), for Mammoth Records at CGR Studio’s in California. The latter album entered the Billboard 100 at number 82.
In 2003, he oversaw the remastering of the The Stone Roses compilation on Silvertone and produced the One Minute Silence album “One Lie Fits All” for Taste Media. At this time Leckie also did a stereo mix of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum from the original four-track tape for vinyl release only. The track was mixed on an Edwardian houseboat called "Astoria” which belongs to David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Leckie also produced a solo LP for John Power (from The La's and Cast) for Eagle Rock and shared in producing The Blockheads album 'Where's The Party"
In 2005, Leckie produced the highly critically lauded 4th album for My Morning Jacket entitled “Z”, also for RCA, recorded at Allaire Studios in upstate New York and mixed at infamous Sunset Sound in Hollywood. Later that year, he produced a self-titled album for Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela for Irish label Rubyworks. This album, after initially going straight to number one in Ireland, continued gaining ground across the world and was No.1 in the American 'Heat Seekers' chart and also a regular No.1 in the Billboard World Music charts for many months.
2007 saw a union of two household names around Manchester, John Leckie and Doves. Leckie produced 3 tracks for the new album between Rockfield and Mickie Most’s RAK Studios. John also traveled to LA to produce further tracks by Rodrigo y Gabriela and was reunited with Baaba Maal (this time in a London studio) to produce the album Television He also recorded what became known as The John Leckie String Quartet Sessions for Scott Matthews.
In 2008, Leckie produced a debut album for new signing to Mercury, Sergeant, and travelled to India, as part of a British Council led project to produce for local Indian Rock acts at Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai: Medusa, Swarathma, Indigo Children and Advaita.
In 2009 he travelled to Mexico to work again with Rodrigo y Gabriela on tracks for the album 11:11. Leckie then returned to Abbey Road to record and produce the jazz sounds of Portico Quartet and was also called in to remaster the Anniversary Edition Box Set of The Stone Roses eponymous first LP complete with John's videos of the sessions and some long lost demos. Leckie also appeared in TV's Classic Album Series playing and commenting on tapes from Plastic Ono Band sessions he had worked on some 40 years previous at Abbey Road Studios.
In 2010, Leckie produced The Coral's album, Butterfly House. which went on to win Album of the Year at Music Producer's Guild Awards. Later that year he was back at Abbey Road to record live the album Hedonism for the 11-piece folk big band Bellowhead. This won BPI Silver Record Award for 60,000 sales in 2011. Finishing the year he gave a masterclass talk on his work at British Music Experience at O2 in London.
2011 bought a reunion with Cast and producing Troubled Times and later an EP with London band Ahab.
2012 commenced with recording and mixing 2nd album with Bellowhead called Broadside which later went on to win Album of Year at BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. During 2012 he also completed sessions and mix for album with Baaba Maal and African Poets called Word ! Sound ! Power !
- 1996 — Music Week Award for Best Producer
- 1996 — Q Award for Best Producer
- 1997 — Brit Award for Best Producer
- 2001 — Music Managers Forum for Best Producer
- 2011 -- Music Producers Guild for UK Album of Year by The Coral
- 2011 -- BASCA Gold Badge Award
Notable album credits as producer
- The Adverts: Crossing the Red Sea with the Adverts
- The Atrix: The Atrix
- Baaba Maal: Missing You (Mi Yeewnii) Senegal
- Baaba Maal: Television
- Be-Bop Deluxe: "Sunburst Finish"
- Be-Bop Deluxe: 'Modern Music"
- Be-Bop Deluxe: "Live! In The Air Age"
- Be-Bop Deluxe: Drastic Plastic
- Red Noise: "Sound on Sound"
- Bill Nelson: Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam
- Bill Nelson: The Love That Whirls
- The Blockheads "Where's The Party"
- Phillip Boa & Voodoo Club: Copperfield Germany
- Bellowhead: Hedonism
- Bellowhead: Broadside
- Cast: All Change
- Cast: Mother Nature Calls
- Cast: Troubled Times
- The Coral: Butterfly House
- Cowboy Junkies: Miles from Home Canada
- Denim: Back in Denim
- De Press: Block to Block and Product Norway
- The Doctor's Children: Rose Cottage EP and King Buffalo album
- Doctors of Madness: Figments of Emancipation
- Doves: Kingdom of Rust (album tracks "Winter Hill" and "10:03," and the B-side "Push Me On" only)
- Dr. John: Anutha Zone
- The Dukes of Stratosphear: 25 O'Clock, Psonic Psunspot
- Endgames: Futures Looking Fine EP
- The Fall: The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall
- The Fall: This Nation's Saving Grace
- The Fall: Bend Sinister
- Fear of Music: Fast. Faster. Fastest. EP
- Felt: The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories
- Gene Loves Jezebel: Immigrant
- Gopal Shankar Misra: Out of Stillness
- The Grapes of Wrath: These Days Canada
- Roy Harper: Bullinamingvase
- Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians: Respect
- Thee Hypnotics: Soul, Glitter,Sin
- House of Freaks: Tantilla USA
- Hamell on Trial: Tough Love USA
- The Human League: Holiday 80 EP
- Kula Shaker: K
- Let's Active: Every Dog Has His Day USA
- Los Lobos: Good Morning Aztlán USA
- Longwave: There's a Fire USA
- The Lilac Time: & Love for All
- The Lucy Show: Mania
- Magazine: Real Life
- Roger McGough: Summer With Monica
- Morgan Fisher: Seasons
- Muse: Showbiz
- Muse: Origin of Symmetry
- My Morning Jacket: Z USA
- My Computer: No CV Manchester UK
- New Order: Waiting for the Sirens' Call (certain tracks) as above..
- One Minute Silence: One Lie Fits All
- Mark Owen: Green Man
- Portico Quartet: "Isla"
- John Power: Happening For Love
- The Posies: Dear 23 USA
- Public Image Ltd: Public Image 1st single
- Radiohead: The Bends
- Ride: Carnival of Light
- Rodrigo y Gabriela: Rodrigo y Gabriela
- Scarlet: Chemistry
- Scott Matthews: The John Leckie Sessions with Strings EP
- Shivkumar Sharma: Sampradaya
- The Skids: Masquerade EP
- The Silencers: Dance to the Holy Man
- Simple Minds: Life in a Day
- Simple Minds: Real to Real Cacophony
- Simple Minds: Empires and Dance
- Six By Seven: The Closer You Get
- Suede: "Positivity" (tracks)
- Starsailor: Shark Food (tracks)
- The Cut: Shadow Talk Norway
- The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses
- The Stone Roses: "One Love"
- The Stone Roses: "Fools Gold/What the World Is Waiting For"
- Trashcan Sinatras: Cake
- The Troubadours: Gimme Love - Here Comes The Tide (Double A-Side)
- Tiny Dancers: Free School Milk
- The Verve: A Storm in Heaven
- Papa Wemba: Molokai
- XTC: White Music
- XTC: Go 2
- XTC: Explode Together: The Dub Experiments 78-80
- "True brit: John Leckie", Sound on Sound, May 1997, retrieved 2010-11-07
- Devlin, Louise (2009) "John Leckie: Producing the Goods", The Skinny, 19 May 2009, retrieved 2010-11-07
- TMV Video Interview – John Leckie, Record Producer
- Video Interview with John Leckie, Record Producer