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Mike Vernon (record producer)

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Mike Vernon
Portrait of record producer, Mike Vernon
Background information
Birth nameMichael William Hugh Vernon
Born (1944-11-20) 20 November 1944 (age 79)
Harrow, Middlesex, England
GenresBlues, pop rock
Occupation(s)Record producer, recording engineer, executive producer
Years active1963–present
LabelsCBS Records, Polydor Records, Blue Horizon Records, Decca Records

Michael William Hugh Vernon MBE (born 20 November 1944)[1] is an English music executive studio owner, and record producer from Harrow, Middlesex.[2] He produced albums for British blues artists and groups in the 1960s, working with the Bluesbreakers, David Bowie, Duster Bennett, Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, Climax Blues Band, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, John Mayall, Christine McVie and Ten Years After amongst others.[3]


Vernon is best known as founder of the blues record label, Blue Horizon.[2] He worked at Decca Records starting in 1963, and produced the Mayall-Clapton collaboration Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (1966).[3] In 1967, Vernon produced David Bowie's debut album for Deram Records.[4] In 1968 he produced Fleetwood Mac's million-selling hit single "Albatross".[5] The 1971 Blue Horizon release Bring It Back Home featured Paul Kossoff and Rory Gallagher, each appearing on one track. Two years later, Vernon released a solo album, Moment of Madness, on Sire Records. He was also a member of Olympic Runners (1974–1979) and acted as producer for them. He was a producer and member of Rocky Sharpe and the Replays (1979–1983). With the Replays he sang bass under the pseudonym of Eric Rondo.[6] He founded the Indigo and Code Blue record labels in the 1990s.[3]

In 1971, Vernon and his brother Richard opened Chipping Norton Recording Studios as the in-house studio for the Blue Horizon label. The studio became a commercial enterprise and operated until 1999, recording many hit singles including "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty, "In The Army Now" by Status Quo, "Too Shy" by Kajagoogoo, "I Should Have Known Better" by Jim Diamond, "Promise Me" by Beverley Craven, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers,[7] "Perfect" by Fairground Attraction, "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" by Cutting Crew, "Eighteen with a Bullet" by Pete Wingfield, "Hocus Pocus" by Focus and "Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby Goodbye)" by the Bay City Rollers.[7][better source needed]. Duran Duran recorded most of their debut album Duran Duran (1981) with Colin Thurston as producer, and Radiohead recorded their 1993 debut album, Pablo Honey, including their debut single "Creep".[8]

Vernon came out of retirement in 2011 to produce Dani Wilde's album Shine, and the second album by the British blues prodigy, Oli Brown. Brown's album entitled Heads I Win, Tails You Lose was released in March 2010.[9]

In October 2013, Vernon was rewarded with a BASCA Gold Badge Award,[10] in recognition of his unique contribution to music.

On 7 September 2018, Vernon's first album on Manhaton Records, Beyond The Blues Horizon, was released. It featured twelve tracks, including nine new self-penned originals, and three covers from the catalogues of Brook Benton, Mose Allison and Clarence "Frogman" Henry.[11] The release was supported by a European tour under the billing of 'Mike Vernon & The Mighty Combo'.[12] Vernon's band, The Mighty Combo, consisted of Kid Carlos (guitar), Ian Jennings (upright bass), Matt Little (keyboards), Paul Tasker (saxophone) and Mike Hellier (drums).

Vernon was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to music.[13]

Production discography[edit]


  • Bob Brunning, Blues: The British Connection, Helter Skelter Publishing, London 2002, ISBN 1-900924-41-2 – First edition 1986 – Second edition 1995 Blues in Britain
  • Bob Brunning, The Fleetwood Mac Story: Rumours and Lies, Omnibus Press London, 1990 and 1998, ISBN 0-7119-6907-8
  • Martin Celmins, Peter GreenFounder of Fleetwood Mac, Sanctuary London, 1995, foreword by B. B. King, ISBN 1-86074-233-5
  • Dick Heckstall-Smith, The safest place in the world: A personal history of British Rhythm and blues, 1989 Quartet Books Limited, ISBN 0-7043-2696-5 – Second Edition : Blowing The Blues – Fifty Years Playing The British Blues, 2004, Clear Books, ISBN 1-904555-04-7
  • Christopher Hjort, Strange brew: Eric Clapton and the British blues boom, 1965-1970, foreword by John Mayall, Jawbone 2007, ISBN 1-906002-00-2
  • Paul Myers, Long John Baldry and the Birth of the British Blues, Vancouver 2007, GreyStone Books, ISBN 1-55365-200-2
  • Harry Shapiro, Alexis Korner: The Biography, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, London 1997, Discography by Mark Troster, ISBN 0-7475-3163-3
  • Mike Vernon, The Blue Horizon Story 1965-1970 vol.1, notes from the booklet of the box set (60 pages)


  1. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 2590. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ a b "Mike Vernon: Biography". MSN Music. Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Biography by Richie Unterberger". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Ranking: Every David Bowie Album from Worst to Best". Consequence.net. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  5. ^ Fleetwood, Mick; Davis, Stephen (1990). My Life and Adventures with Fleetwood Mac. London: Sidgewick & Jackson.
  6. ^ Matt Frost. "Mike Vernon: Producing British Blues". Soundonsound.com. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Chipping Norton Recording Studios". Discogs. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  8. ^ Runtagh, Jordan (22 February 2018). "Radiohead's Pablo Honey: 10 things you didn't know". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  9. ^ Applegate, Zoe (11 May 2010). "BBC – Oli Brown lures producer Mike Vernon for blues album". BBC News. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  10. ^ "2013 BASCA Gold Badge Award Recipients Announced". Ppluk.com. Archived from the original on 18 November 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Mike Vernon Steps Beyond the Blues Horizon". Ramzine.co.uk. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  12. ^ "MIKE VERNON – Beyond The Blue Horizon". Rawramp.me. 29 June 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  13. ^ "No. 63135". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 October 2020. p. B23.
  14. ^ "Johnny & The Roccos – Good Rockin' Tonight". Discogs. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Innes Sibun Biography". Innessibun.org.uk. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  16. ^ "Mingo Balaguer". Mingobalaguer.es. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Mike Vernon & Los Garcia – Just A Little Bit – DWM Music Company". Dwmmusic.com. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  18. ^ Liam Martin. "Laurence Jones | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  19. ^ "INTERVIEW: Sari Schorr". Ukmusicreviews.co.uk. Retrieved 9 November 2022.

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