There are more famous producers than Chris Thomas, but few, if any, can match his incredible string of artistic and commercial successes since he broke into the English recording scene in the late '60s. For three decades he's worked with some of the most exciting and influential groups and singers in rock music, selling untold millions of records. Here's a hopelessly abbreviated list of some of the artists he's worked with: The Beatles (The White Album); Climax Blues Band (four albums); Procol Harum (five albums, including Home, Broken Barricades and Grand Hotel); Roxy Music (five albums, from For Your Pleasure through Viva); John Cale (Paris 1919); Badfinger (three albums); Pink Floyd (mixed Dark Side of the Moon); Paul McCartney (Back to the Egg); Sex Pistols (Never Mind the Bollocks); The Pretenders (first three albums); Tom Robinson (Power in the Darkness); Pete Townshend (Empty Glass and All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes); INXS (Listen Like Thieves, Kick and X); Elton John (a dozen albums, includingToo Low for Zero, Sleeping With the Past and The One); and Pulp (Different Class and This Is Hard Core).
The reason you don't hear more about Thomas is that, unlike many producers, he has no interest in self-promotion and he doesn't like to do interviews; he kindly acceded to our request mostly because he's a longtime chum of Mix technical editor Chris Michie. When Thomas came to the Bay Area this summer to see The Pretenders perform, he graciously stopped by Mix's offices for an extensive interview, highlights of which appear below. Other nuggets from our talk will doubtless turn up in our "Classic Tracks" column down the road.