Bob Ezrin, who has produced some of the more seminal music records of our age, Pink Floyd‘s The Wall and KISSDestroyer to name a few of the more higher profile ones, celebrates his 64th birthday today.
The Canadian-born Ezrin, employs a style which is mired in a magisterial, booming, bombastic one, which gives a larger than life sonic quality to the records he produces. Kind of a cross between Sir George Martin and producers who have made opera house acoustically styled classical albums, Ezrin has taken many genres, mainly the rock and roll one and turned it on its collective ear, bringing a kind of aural respect to the genre, and the result of which has spawned some of the all-time great albums.
A quick list of his resume includes the early records of Alice Cooper (Love it to Death, Killer, School’s Out, Billion Dollar Babies, and Alice solo records like Welcome To My Nightmare and Lace and Whiskey); Peter Gabriel’s first solo release in 1977; Kiss’ Destroyer and The Elder; Lou Reed’s highly dark and influential album Berlin; and Pink Floyd’s The Wall. The sonic common denominator and running thread among all these aforementioned albums are the fact that they have an ominously intense feel to them, which is the instantly recognizable stamp of Ezrin. While all the bands and artists named here of course have their own sounds and styles, it seems that when Ezrin gets involved on the production end, it becomes more than just the stereotypical interplay between producer and band, where roles are kind of pre-set. Ezrin seems to meld his own sound and style into the band, and it creates an end result where the band becomes enhanced more by the craft of what Ezrin brings to them than vice versa. It is that alone that makes the creative work and approach of what Bob Ezrin does highly memorable and influential.
He still continues to work today, and has produced artists as diverse as Jane’s Addiction, Deep Purple, The Jayhawks, Nine Inch Nails, and even Broadway stalwart Kristin Chenoweth. His diversity is what keeps him fresh, his unflappable and fearless style brings a certain class to the records he creates, regardless of one’s opinion on the said artists. Like a Rick Rubin or Tony Visconti, Kevin Shirley, Brendan O’Brien or Butch Vig, he remains a part of that master class of producers for hire who help create the best they can in what they have to work with.
There are many albums to admire that can celebrate the work of Bob Ezrin on his birthday today. Just the KISS and Alice Cooper albums, and of course Pink Floyd’s The Wall alone are worthy of the celebration of the man and his works. Like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain, like the power behind the throne, like the silent single majority that builds the bridge so the more high profile artists can tread upon it to their ultimate destinations, Bob Ezrin is and remains a super craftsman in what he does, continuing to shape and mold music as best as he can, whether it’s in the listener’s subconscious or conscious. Either way, the rewards of the work of Bob Ezrin will ring through loud and clear, just like they have always been, and continue to do so.