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Paxman grew up in Wiltshire and went to Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury. During the late 1970s he played drums in the Salisbury-based contemporary jazz quartet Sphere, along with saxophonist Andy Sheppard, pianist Geoff Williams, and double bassist Peter Maxfield (all ex-B.W.S.).
He played guitar, in the studio and on tour, and wrote with singer-songwriter Judie Tzuke from the late 1970s. He co-wrote Tzuke's single "Stay with Me 'Till Dawn" and her first album Welcome to the Cruise, then went on to write and produce a further twelve albums with her. Paxman continued working in the studio with Tzuke through to the late 1990s.
From the mid-1980s, Paxman mainly focused on production work, founding Big Ocean Studios with Paul Muggleton, Tzuke's partner. They went on to work with various artists, including Nick Kamen (including the hit single "I Promised Myself"), Paul Norton (Under a Southern Sky), Scarlet (the album Naked and single "Independent Love Song"), Thomas Anders (the album Whispers), Frances Ruffelle and Jimmy Nail.
Paxman has also worked with Status Quo extensively, producing several albums and DVDs including Under The Influence (1999), Heavy Traffic (2002), The Party Ain't Over Yet... (2005), Quid Pro Quo (2011), and Aquostic (2014). He produced and mixed the Status Quo 'Frantic Four' live reunion DVDs in 2013 and 2014.
Paxman produced Quo's John 'Rhino' Edwards' solo album Rhino's Revenge, released in 2000.
Paxman has produced four studio albums with Uriah Heep: Wake the Sleeper (2008), Celebration (2009), Into the Wild (2011) and Outsider (2014). He also produced a number of live albums and DVDs for the band.
- "Status Quo 'Quid Pro Quo'". Music-News.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
- "Thomas Anders and Mike Paxman". Thomasanders.ru. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
- "CD Review: Asia - Omega (From The Bolton News)". Theboltonnews.co.uk. 2010-04-18. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
- "Mike Paxman - Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-23.