Music producer and engineer
Tom Dowd, music producer and engineer who worked with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding, the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, died Sunday Oct. 27 in Aventura, Fla., after a long battle with respiratory problems. He was 77.
He also oversaw landmark jazz albums by Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane. Clapton credited him with the success and structure of his record “Layla.” Other records and songs he engineered and/or produced include Franklin’s “Respect” and Allman Brothers “Live at Fillmore East.”
Manhattan native and physicist, who once worked on the Manhattan Project, was a pioneer of eight-track studio recordings, credited with introducing the first eight-track recording machine into a major studio in 1957.
He began working for a music publishing company in 1947, then joined Atlantic Records later that year.
He was among seven recipients of the 1992 Grammy for Album Notes, having co-written the liner for Franklin’s “Queen of Soul — The Atlantic Recordings.” album.
Earlier this year, Dowd received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, presented during the 44th Grammys.
A documentary film, “Tom Dowd and the Language of Music,” which features interviews with Clapton, Charles, producer Phil Ramone, Franklin and the Allmans, is in the works.
Dowd, who worked out of the famed Criteria Studios in Miami for many years, also recorded Neil Young, Rod Stewart and more.