David Briggs (record producer)

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David Briggs (February 29, 1944 – November 26, 1995) was an American record producer best known for his work with Neil Young and his band Crazy Horse.

Early life[edit]

David Briggs was born in Douglas, Wyoming. Briggs left Wyoming in 1962 to hitchhike his way to Los Angeles and Canada, then finally settled in California, the place he would call home for the rest of his life. In the mid-sixties, Briggs began producing in the music business working on Bill Cosby's label, Tetragrammaton Records.[1] One of the first albums he produced was for comedian Murray Roman. According to Briggs, this was the first album ever released with the word "fuck" on it. Working on Cosby's label led Briggs into doing his own production work with people such as Alice Cooper, Quatrain, Spirit, Nils Lofgren and his band, Grin, and Jerry Lynn Williams.[2]

Career[edit]

In 1968, after picking up a hitchhiking Neil Young, Briggs went on to produce the singer/songwriter's first solo album, entitled Neil Young (1968). This led to a lifelong friendship between the two men, with Briggs co-producing over a dozen of Young's albums including Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After the Gold Rush. Young's Sleeps with Angels album (1994) is the last work that Briggs produced before his death in 1995. Other than producing with Young, Briggs worked on albums with many successful artists such as Spirit, Tom Rush, Nils Lofgren, Steve Young, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and Royal Trux.

David had one son, Lincoln, with artist Shannon Forbes in 1969. In 1988, Briggs married Bettina Linnenberg. Bettina would soon be noted as the production coordinator on many of the projects that Briggs produced in the 1990s. These projects included Nick Cave, 13 Engines, Sidewinder, and Royal Trux. She even helped him on projects that would never be released such as work done with John Eddie, and Blind Melon.

Death and posthumous projects[edit]

David Briggs died on November 26, 1995, after a battle with lung cancer. He was 51 years old. Before his death, he was still working with Joel Bernstein on the Neil Young Archives project. This project had been underway for five years before his death and there could be anywhere from three to twenty albums worth of unreleased material.

After Briggs' death Neil Young and Crazy Horse went on to record material such as Year of the Horse, released in 1996.[clarification needed]

The band The Low & Sweet Orchestra was working with David Briggs at the time of his death. Their album Goodbye to all that was released in 1996, and featured 9 out of 12 tracks produced by Briggs.[3]

Critical views[edit]

Briggs' work was not universally acclaimed. Neal Smith of the Alice Cooper group later said "David hated our music and us. I recall the term that he used, referring to our music, was 'psychedelic shit'." I think Easy Action sounded too dry, more like a TV or radio commercial and he did not help with song arrangement or positive input in any way."[4] His sessions with Nick Cave were also acrimonious, which led to Cave remixing the album Henry's Dream.[5]

Selective discography as producer or co-producer[edit]

Neil Young[edit]

Other Artists[edit]

References[edit]