Phil Harding (producer)
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Phil Harding (born 1957) is an English audio engineer, producer and remixer, best known for his extended collaboration with keyboardist and programmer Ian Curnow. Harding had a robust career prior to joining forces with Curnow, and together they became a pop mix powerhouse for many British bands. At one point they were offered the task of the first House Music remix of the Chic hit "Le Freak".
The highlight of the duo's career is their 1980s work for the highly successful record label PWL, and its creative core at the time: Stock Aitken Waterman productions (later Stock/Waterman productions).
Harding started in the music industry aged sixteen at the Marquee Studios in 1973. There he worked with some of the top producers in the world as they recorded some of the great albums of the day.
As Harding’s career progressed, a list of credits soon started to stack up with artists as diverse as The Clash, Killing Joke, Toyah and Matt Bianco, all taking advantage of Harding’s ever-growing reputation as a top engineer. At the start of the 1980s, the name of a newly formed production team was added to the list – Stock/Aitken/Waterman.
Harding's great pop sensibility also extended into the alternative music scene. He was instrumental in launching the careers of the dynamic, industrial dance minimliasts Nitzer Ebb. After seeing them live in the mid 1980s he went on to produce and mix their debut album That Total Age in 1987, which also saw the band enter into a deal with the Mute label alongside label mates Depeche Mode.
A further deluge of hits followed but this time with Harding and Curnow as producers for the bands East 17 (including the Christmas No 1 "Stay Another Day"), Deuce, Boyzone, 911, Caught in the Act and Let Loose.
Harding and Curnow currently operate their own production company, established in the 1990s, at the Strongroom Studio complex in Shoreditch, London, focusing on artist development projects.
Harding mixed the earliest Matt Bianco releases in a style which would become his signature before moving on to more illustrious efforts at PWL. He worked with temporary Matt Bianco vocalist Basia both in the group and throughout her very successful solo career in the United States, mixing her 1987 debut album Time and Tide and London Warsaw New York album in 1990.
More recently he has ventured onto the other side of the glass performing with Caro on their The 4th Way album and then as a solo artist with The Story Of Beginners. Both albums drew on strong songs co-written by Phil Harding with Mila Bogen.
In 2009, Harding published a limited-edition run book 'PWL From The Factory Floor'. The 600 page 'PWL From The Factory Floor - Expanded Edition' was released by Cherry Red Books in 2010. The book provides a behind the scenes look at life at the PWL studios — "The inside story of PWL Studios, the 'British Motown' of the 1980s and home to legendary producers, Stock Aitken Waterman. PWL Remixer and producer Phil Harding reveals behind the scenes and the state-of-the-art techniques used at one of the most successful and fast-paced studios of all time"
A companion 2CD compilation, 'Phil Harding Club Mixes Of The 80s', was released in November 2011. The double album featured 25 remastered Phil Harding PWL-era remixes and rarities, by artists such as Michael Jackson And The Jackson 5, Eighth Wonder, ABC, Diana Ross, Holly Johnson, The Four Tops, Dead Or Alive, Jimmy Ruffin, The Blow Monkeys, Imagination, Godley & Creme, Blue Mercedes, Pepsi & Shirlie, Five Star and Rick Astley. There were six previously-unreleased tracks/remixes: 2 unreleased songs by Rick Astley and unreleased remixes of Never Gonna Give You Up and She Wants To Dance With Me; a Madonna 'Vogue'-style restyling of Sinitta; and a previously unreleased track by Motown soul legend Jimmy Ruffin, 'Truly Yours', produced by Harding at sessions at PWL Studios with Ruffin in 1987.
A promotional-only Megamix of the first 7 tracks of the 2CD was also issued. See www.pwlfromthefactoryfloor.com
- Stock Aitken Waterman
- Rick Astley
- Band Aid II
- Climie Fisher
- The Cool Notes
- Dead or Alive
- Hazell Dean
- Depeche Mode
- Jason Donovan
- Eighth Wonder
- Five Star
- The Four Tops
- Lonnie Gordon
- Debbie Harry
- Thelma Houston
- The Jackson Five
- Jesus Jones
- Matt Bianco
- Mel & Kim
- Kylie Minogue
- Gary Moore
- Nitzer Ebb
- Pet Shop Boys
- Cliff Richard
- Diana Ross
- Jimmy Somerville
- Jermaine Stewart
- Donna Summer
- The Three Degrees
- John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
- Voice Of The Beehive
- Philharding.co.uk - Official Website
- pwlfromthefactoryfloor.com - Official Website of Phil Harding's Book - PWL From The Factory Floor - Expanded Edition and CD: Phil Harding Club Mixes Of The 80s
- Working and mixing with Phil Harding
- PWL Associates fansite
- Biography and video interviews at RecordProduction.com
- Producer's View - Phil Harding at Record-Producer.com
- Phil Harding & Ian Curnow discography at Discogs
- Phil Harding discography at Discogs