Denny Cordell

Record producer Denny Cordell, who handled such artists as Chet Baker, Tom Petty and Melissa Etheridge, died Feb. 18 in New York of lymphoma. He was 51.

In the mid 1960s, Cordell managed Baker, joining Island Records in 1965. He left the label to produce the Moody Blues’ first album, “Go Now: The Moody Blues 1.”

Working as an independent, Cordell went on to produce such hits as Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help From My Friends.”

In the 1970s, he signed Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, then called Mudcrutch, and produced several of Petty’s albums.

Cordell took a break from the music biz in ’80, returning to Island as creative director in ’91.

Most recently he is credited with wooing Irish rock band the Cranberries to the label. He also helped produce Etheridge’s current album, “Yes I Am.”

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