Barry Beckett

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Barry Beckett
Barry Beckett and others (cropped).jpg
Background information
Birth nameBarry Edward Beckett
Born(1943-02-04)February 4, 1943
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
DiedJune 10, 2009(2009-06-10) (aged 66)
Hendersonville, Tennessee, U.S.
Occupation(s)Keyboardist, record producer

Barry Edward Beckett (February 4, 1943 – June 10, 2009) was an American keyboardist, session musician, record producer, and studio founder. He is best known for his work with David Hood, Jimmy Johnson, and Roger Hawkins, his bandmates in the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, which performed with numerous notable artists on their studio albums and helped define the "Muscle Shoals sound".

Among the artists Beckett recorded with were Bob Dylan, Boz Scaggs, Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, Duane Allman, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Dire Straits, The Proclaimers and Phish. He was also briefly a member of the band Traffic.


Beckett was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He rose to prominence as a member of the rhythm section at the Sheffield, Alabama-based Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, of which he was one of the founders in 1969. As a founding member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, he helped define what became known as the Muscle Shoals sound. In addition, the studio produced such chart-making hits as "Torn Between Two Lovers" by Mary MacGregor and the Sanford-Townsend Band's "Smoke from a Distant Fire".

In 1973, Beckett took to the road in the expanded lineup of Traffic; recordings from this tour were released on the band's live album On the Road.

Beckett was co-producing with Jerry Wexler when, in 1979, Bob Dylan called on Wexler to produce the sessions for the album Slow Train Coming.[1] Beckett not only co-produced the album but played piano and organ throughout. (He did not go on the road as a gospel tours musician behind Dylan, but he was back in the studio with him in February 1980 to co-produce, again with Wexler, the album Saved, on which he was replaced on keyboards by Spooner Oldham and Terry Young after the session of February 12, 1980, and so plays only on the album’s title track, "Solid Rock", "What Can I Do for You?" and "Satisfied Mind". On the album liner notes Beckett is billed as co-producer and as "special guest artist".

Beckett moved to Nashville in 1982 to become A & R country music director for Warner Bros. Records and co-produced Williams, Jr.'s records with Jim Ed Norman.[2] Beckett produced records independently after leaving Warner Bros. Records.

He also played on Paul Simon's albums There Goes Rhymin' Simon and Still Crazy After All These Years, which reached number 1 on the Billboard 200 pop chart.

Beckett died from complications of a stroke at his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee, aged 66.[3]

Awards and honors[edit]


With Solomon Burke

  • Proud Mary (Ola, 1969)

With Etta James

With Bob Seger

With Joan Baez

With Willie Nelson

With Feargal Sharkey

With William Bell

  • Wow... (Stax Records, 1971)
  • Phases of Reality (Stax Records, 1972)

With Julian Lennon

With Cher

With Vince Gill

With Kim Carnes

With Boz Scaggs

With Mary MacGregor

With Mark Knopfler

With John P. Hammond

  • Southern Fried (Atlantic Records, 1971)

With Mavis Staples

With Wilson Pickett

  • Hey Jude (Atlantic Records, 1969)
  • Right On (Atlantic Records, 1970)
  • Don't Knock My Love (Atlantic Records, 1971)

With Paul Anka

  • Feelings (United Artists Records, 1975)

With John Michael Montgomery

With Steve Cropper

  • Night After Night (MCA Records, 1982)

With Eddie Rabbitt

With Dee Dee Bridgewater

With Albert King

With Paul Simon

With Wendy Waldman

  • Gypsy Symphony (Warner Bros. Records, 1974)

With Wynonna Judd

With Levon Helm

With Trace Adkins

With Aretha Franklin

With Candi Staton

  • Candi (Warner Bros. Records, 1974)
  • His Hands (Honest Records, 2006)

With Donovan

With Dolly Parton

With John Prine

With Aaron Neville

  • The Tattoeed Heart (A&M Records, 1995)

With Kenny Chesney

With Joe Cocker

With Ronnie Hawkins

  • Ronnie Hawkins (Cotillion Records, 1970)

With Lulu

With Beth Nielsen Chapman

  • Hearing It First (Capitol Records, 1980)

With Dion DiMucci

  • Velvet and Steel (Epic Records, 1986)

With Ilse DeLange

  • World of Hurt (Warner Bros. Records, 1998)

With Dion DiMucci

  • Velvet and Steel (DaySpring Records, 1987)

With Chely Wright

With Odetta

With Laura Nyro

With Johnny Rivers

  • The Road (Atlantic Records, 1974)

With Bob Dylan

With Peabo Bryson

  • Peabo (Bullet Records, 1976)

With Ricky Van Shelton

With J. J. Cale

With Art Garfunkel

With Rosanne Cash

With Michael Martin Murphey

With José Feliciano

  • Sweet Soul Music (Private Stock Records, 1976)

With Cat Stevens

With Leon Russell

With Rod Stewart

With Glenn Frey

With Linda Ronstadt

With Rodney Crowell

With John P. Hammond


  1. ^ Gray, Michael (2008). "Barry Beckett". The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia. New York & London: Continuum International Publishing Group.
  2. ^ Everett, Todd (1998). "Barry Beckett". In Kingsbury, Paul (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Country Music. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 31–32.
  3. ^ Weber, Bruce (June 16, 2009). "Barry Beckett, Muscle Shoals Musician, Dies at 66". The New York Times. p. A19.
  4. ^ "Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section 1995 Induction (Lifework Award)". Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on August 15, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2017.

External links[edit]