Jack Douglas (record producer)

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Jack Douglas
Douglas in 1995
Douglas in 1995
Background information
Born (1945-11-06) November 6, 1945 (age 78)
New York City, U.S.
  • Record producer
  • musician
  • engineer

Jack Douglas is an American record producer. He is known for his work with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Cheap Trick, and the New York Dolls, among other rock artists in the 1970s and 1980s; notably he produced four successful albums for Aerosmith.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Jack Douglas was born in the Bronx in 1947, New York City. He was trained at the Institute of Audio Research and was a member of its first graduating class.


Starting out as a folk musician and performer, he worked on Robert F. Kennedy's 1964 senatorial campaign as a songwriter. Douglas then moved to England and joined a succession of bands before returning to New York to attend the Institute of Audio Research.

His first professional job was at the then-new Record Plant, not as a producer or engineer, but as a studio janitor. Soon he was working at the recording desk, as a recording engineer, contributing to projects by Miles Davis, The James Gang, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Montrose, Rough Cutt, Artful Dodger, Moxy, Flipp, and Mountain.

A chance encounter with a group member led Douglas to help engineer the Who's 1971 Record Plant sessions for the aborted Lifehouse project. Songs developed from these sessions were later included on Who's Next (1971). Douglas was then given the opportunity to engineer John Lennon's classic Imagine[3] album in 1971. Douglas and Lennon formed a close bond and worked together for the remainder of Lennon's life.

As a Record Plant staff engineer, Douglas also forged working relationships with Patti Smith, Blue Öyster Cult, the New York Dolls, Cheap Trick, Starz, and most notably Aerosmith. It was during the recording of the New York Dolls' first album that Douglas was encouraged by producer Bob Ezrin to also consider becoming a record producer.[4]

Douglas engineered and produced many of Aerosmith's albums in the 1970s, including Get Your Wings (1974),[5] Toys in the Attic (1975),[6] Rocks (1976)[7] and Draw the Line (1977),[8] all of which have gone multi-platinum. Toys in the Attic and Rocks broke Aerosmith into the mainstream and have become highly influential, with both albums ranking among Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[9]

The close relationship between Douglas and Aerosmith extended beyond producing and engineering, as Douglas was also a musical contributor to the group when they came up short of material on their projects. For example, Douglas helped write the band's 1978 hit "Kings and Queens". He was often given the nickname of "the sixth member" of Aerosmith, due to his close relationship with the band. Douglas was replaced as producer by the band for the 1979 release Night in the Ruts, but Douglas was to again work with the group on 1982's Rock in a Hard Place and several of Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry's solo albums. For much of the late 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, Aerosmith worked with other producers, but in the mid-2000s, they re-united with Douglas on the 2004 blues cover album Honkin' on Bobo. Douglas also produced the band's album Music from Another Dimension! in 2012, himself providing the narration on the album's opening track "LUV XXX", parodying the style of narration from The Outer Limits.

In 1980, Douglas was working as producer with John Lennon and Yoko Ono on their Double Fantasy album (for which he shared a Grammy Award for Album of the Year). During the same sessions he worked on a follow-up Lennon/Ono album, Milk and Honey, but Lennon's murder on December 8, 1980 cut that project short. An unfinished version of the album was released in 1984. Also in 1984, Douglas opened litigation with Ono over unpaid royalties from Double Fantasy. A jury ruled that Ono had wrongfully withheld royalty payments from Douglas and that he was entitled to $2.5 million from revenues for Double Fantasy and an undetermined share of revenues from Milk and Honey.[10]

Since then he has kept working as an engineer and producer, reuniting with Aerosmith for three more albums and producing albums for artists such as Supertramp, Zebra, Clutch, Local H, Slash's Snakepit and, in 2006, the return of the New York Dolls.[11]

Douglas also taught a studio etiquette class at Ex'pression College for Digital Arts.


  1. ^ "Jack Douglas". Discogs.com. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  2. ^ "Jack Douglas | Credits". AllMusic.
  3. ^ "Imagine – John Lennon | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  4. ^ Joe Bosso, Production legend Jack Douglas on 18 career-defining records. MusicRadar, December 19, 2012. Retrieved 13-10-16.
  5. ^ "Get Your Wings – Aerosmith | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  6. ^ "Toys in the Attic – Aerosmith | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  7. ^ "Rocks – Aerosmith | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  8. ^ "Draw the Line – Aerosmith | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  9. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. May 31, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  10. ^ "Yoko Ono Is Told to Pay Producer". The New York Times. April 3, 1984. Retrieved November 30, 2023.
  11. ^ One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This, Roadrunner Records.

External links[edit]