Announcement: Jim Ladd to Host Masters of Sound

Author: Carl J  //  Category: News, Updates

TV series welcomes legendary radio personality to interview recording engineers and the iconic artists they worked with on the creation of their greatest hits

October 17th, 2011: Los Angeles, CA – Masters of Sound ( the multi-channel brand dedicated to documenting the work of recording engineers and producers, today announced that legendary radio personality, Jim Ladd is joining their team to host a weekly television series currently under development.

Jim Ladd - Legendary DJ and On-Air Personality

Jim Ladd - Legendary DJ and On-Air Personality

The Masters of Sound television series will bring together recording engineers and producers, and the iconic pop and rock artists they worked with. They’ll tell the first-hand stories about what really happened in the studio as they created the musical soundtracks to our lives. Some for the first time together on film, some reunited for the first time in years, and with the insight and reflections that only time can provide. All brought to life with rare archival footage and recordings from those precious moments. Click play below to see a video of Jim Ladd introducing the show.

“Ask any of the great musicians out there and they’ll tell you that it never would have happened without the team of people who had the vision to help bring their gifts to the world,” said Jim Ladd. “And recording engineers and producers, they’re some of the most crucial. Not only do they help capture the magic, but they also bring out new directions in artists and help them reach their true potential…and oh, the stories they can tell. One of the reasons why Masters of Sound is so appealing to me, is that it’s an untapped cultural goldmine and I’m excited to see what we’ll discover.”

“Jim not only knows many of the people we’re featuring on Masters of Sound, he’s developed a close friendship with them over the years,” said Robert Ballantyne of 4 Track Productions the Executive Producer / Creator of Masters of Sound, “when you combine that genuine warmth, with his in-depth knowledge of popular music and superb interviewing skills, you’ve got a winning combination that’s guaranteed to make great television. We’re thrilled to have him on board.”

About Jim Ladd

JIM LADD has been a top-rated nighttime air personality in the greater Los Angeles market for over three decades (1972-2011), having championed free-form rock radio on KMET-FM, KLSX-FM, and KLOS-FM, but over his illustrious career his reach has extended far beyond Southern California.

Jim first went nationwide with Innerview, a 12 year running, weekly radio program that aired on over 160 radio stations, offering in-depth pieces with artists including: John Lennon, U2, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, The Eagles and Led Zeppelin. He increased his reach to international audiences as co-host of legendary concerts including The Who’s 25th anniversary of Tommy; Knebworth 1990, featuring Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Phil Collins, and Pink Floyd; and The Wall in Berlin, the largest theatrical rock event ever, with a 300,000 in-person audience, and over 1 billion people viewing on world-wide television.

More than playing popular music and interviewing the people who create it, Jim has contributed to and influenced major musical works himself. In 1987, Jim was asked by Roger Waters to play himself as a rebel DJ on the album, tour, and videos for Radio K.A.O.S. and more recently was credited by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers as the influence for the title song on their album The Last DJ.

Jim has been recognized countless times for his contributions to broadcasting, receiving the Media Arts Award from The Hollywood Arts Council, “Air Personality of the Year” by The Los Angeles Music Awards, named one of the “120 Most Influential People In The Music Industry” by Album Network Magazine, nominations for Rock Radio Personality of The Year from Radio and Records and Billboard magazines, and culminating in 2005 with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in honor of the first 38 years of his ground breaking career.

Jim Ladd can be heard Mon-Thurs from 10 pm-2 am, and Sundays at 9 pm with a special show called Theme of Consciousness on 95.5 KLOS-FM, Los Angeles.

About Masters of Sound

MASTERS OF SOUND is a multi-channel brand, currently developing a weekly television series to bring the producers and engineers of recorded sound from behind-the-scenes and into the spotlight. Largely unrecognized for their contributions to popular culture, these individuals were there first hand to help make the magic happen on the music that has shaped our lives. Together with the iconic pop and rock artists who they collaborated with, they open their studios, dig into the archives, and tell the stories of what it’s like to create musical history. Masters of Sound is a co-production of 4-Track Productions and Collective Entertainment, headed by Robert Ballantyne and film composer Shawn Clement. Visit to see a videos of Jim Ladd introducing the show, along with clips of recording engineers and producers discussing their work.

Connect with Masters of Sound online
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Business Interests: Robert Ballantyne, Executive Producer: 310-210-9538 or

Media Contact: Carl Jacobson at 603.661.2275 or

Masters of Sound is a trademark of 4-Track Productions, Copyright 2009-2011. All rights reserved. Other trademarks mentioned are held by their respective owners.


Ken Scott Gets Into Recording to Get the Girl

Author: Carl J  //  Category: Recording Engineers


Here’s yet another example about how the quest for girls can be a primary motivator of why boys get into music.

In this example, recording engineer Ken Scott (The Beatles, David Bowie, Elton John, Lou Reed) talks about how a crush on a teenage pop singer Carol Deene led him to discover Abbey Road Studios and become a recording engineer.


Bob Power Interview on The Low End Theory in Electronic Musician, Video Playlist

Author: Carl J  //  Category: Classic Tracks, News, Recording Engineers

Electronic Musician has published the full transcript of our interview with Bob Power on the recording of A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory in their October 2011 issue, on newsstands now. You can also now read the Bob Power Pro/File at

In line with the interview, we’ve create a playlist with more clips from the interview, along with some footage of A Tribe Called Quest from the period. Check it out below

Twenty years ago, rapper/producer Q-Tip, DJ/producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and rapper Phife Dawg, collectively known as A Tribe Called Quest, returned from the studio with The Low End Theory, a watershed album that ushered in a new era of hip-hop. Sounding fresh even today, the record has gone on to earn “top albums of all time” recognition from no less than Rolling Stone, Spin, Vibe, The Source, Blender, Pitchfork Media, the All Music Guide, and countless artists. The group is also now the subject of a new documentary film directed by Michael Rapaport entitled Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest. With rekindled interest in the group on the 20th anniversary of this groundbreaking recording, what better time to dig deeper into the making of The Low End Theory?

This summer I had the pleasure of interviewing Bob Power, who engineered this landmark album. Power has produced, recorded, and mixed thousands of recordings (including numerous Grammy winners) for the likes of Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, India.Arie, Ozomatli, Common, Miles Davis, The Roots, Macy Gray, Curtis Mayfield, David Byrne, and Citizen Cope. He’s also now a faculty member at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University, but in 1991, he was a young man engineering one of the most influential albums of all time. More…


Video: Ron Carter performs on Verses from the Abstract

Author: Carl J  //  Category: Classic Tracks, Recording Engineers


So…what do you do when you have Jazz great Ron Carter playing on your session, and he hits a wrong note? That happened for A Tribe Called Quest, Bob Power tells the story


Video: Bob Power on The Low End Theory – the Sgt Pepper’s of Hip Hop

Author: Carl J  //  Category: Classic Tracks, Recording Engineers


In this video, Bob Power, recording engineer for A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory describes the album as the Sgt Pepper’s of hip Hop. Watch the video to find out why. Leave us a comment and let us know if you agree.


Video: Bob Power on Unconscious Racism in the Early Days of Hip Hop

Author: Carl J  //  Category: Classic Tracks, Producers


Here’s our 1st excerpt from our Interview with Bob Power on the recording of A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory, in this clip he talks about the air of unconscious racism in the New York recording establishment during the early days of Hip Hop.

Stay tuned to the blog, we’ll have a lot more posts from this interview. In addition the entire print version of the interview will be in the October Issue of Electronic Musician Magazine.


Video: Rehearsals in Bed with John Lennon

Author: Carl J  //  Category: Classic Tracks, Producers

Here’s another clip from our interview with producer Jack Douglas where he talks about John Lennon’s favorite place at the Dakota Hotel to rehearse songs for Double Fantasy and the guitars he used to record the album.

Please leave a comment below if you like what you see.


Video: Jack Douglas on John Lennon

Author: Carl J  //  Category: Classic Tracks, Producers

Interviewing Jack Douglas

Last January, Masters of Sound sat down to interview record producer Jack Douglas at Swinghouse Studios in Hollywood, CA.

Jack has had an amazing career, working with such greats as Miles Davis, The Who, Cheap Trick, and Aerosmith. In this excerpt from our interview Jack talks about recording John Lennon / Yoko Ono Double Fantasy, and reveals where John was coming from on this record.

This is the first of a series of excepts that we will be posting from the interviews we have been conducting.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.


Roger Nichols Needs Your Help!

Author: Carl J  //  Category: Producers, Recording Engineers

Please Donate To Help Roger Nichols

Masters of Sound has just learned that Roger Nichols, a 7-Time Grammy Winning Engineer/Producer, and all around one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, is fighting for his life and he needs your help!

Roger has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Due to the high costs of medical treatment, his family is now all but bankrupt, and they can’t afford the very treatments that could save his life!

If you’ve ever found yourself enjoying the music of any of the following artists, Roger’s work has touched your life: Feist, Muse, Of Montreal, Pete Yorn, Bloc Party, Deerhoof, Juliana Hatfield, The Bad Plus, Chet Baker, Beach Boys. Michael Bloomfield, Michael Brecker, Rosanne Cash, Cher, Don Cherry, Joe Cocker, Alice Coltrane, Crosby Stills & Nash, Christopheer Cross, John Denver, Rick Derringer, Al DiMeola, Placido Domingo, Dr. John, Peter Erskine, Gloria Estefan, Donald Fagen, Bela Fleck, Robben Ford, David Foster, The Four Tops, Emmylou Harris, John Lee Hooker, Al Jarreau, B.B. King, Mark Knopfler, Michael McDonald, The Muppets, Roy Orbison, Alan Parsons, Reba McIntyre, Natalie Cole, Lee Ritenour, Frank Sinatra, Dusty Springfield, Steely Dan, Sly Stone, Donna Summer, James Taylor, Toots Thielemans, Toto, Tower of Power, Edgar Winter, Stevie Wonder, Yo-Yo Ma, Frank Zappa, and many others!

Now it’s time to give something back, please visit and donate generously!


The Making of The Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers

Author: Carl J  //  Category: Classic Tracks, Producers

This video is a fascinating documentary on the making of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that originally aired in 1992 on British television.

This video gives you an inside, behind the scenes tour of one of the most influential albums of all time from the people who made it. George Martin, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison all give their personal perspectives on the songwriting and recording of individual tracks, and what was going on with the band and popular culture at the time. They also reveals some amazing secrets from the record. You’ll also see Phil Collins and Brian Wilson share their perspectives on the significance of the album. Throughout, the documentary is bolstered by archival video and photos, and excerpts of never before heard rehearsal tapes and the final masters revealed by George Martin.

The Beatles started recording Sgt. Peppers in 1966 at EMI’s famous Abbey Road Studios. They were on top of the world, but the incessant touring was really taking its toll. They decided they would put their efforts into a dramatic album, a more significant artistic statement that anything they had done before.

Paul McCartney said that “Instead of looking for catchy singles, Sgt. Pepper was more like writing a novel.” He tells us where he got his inspiration for the theme of this album, coming from assumed personas, and “everything on the record comes from the perspective of these imaginary people.” What they ended up with helped usher in the psychedelic era, and raised the bar for all recorded music to follow.

You have to watch this video. Here are some of our favorite moments:

Strawberry Fields & Penny Lane
The first two recording sessions for Sgt. Pepper were Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane. George Martin starts by playing us a charming, very simple version of Strawberry Fields that was never released, he then takes us through multiple versions that show the evolution of the track into the heavily layered psychedelic wash of sound that we’re familiar with. You also get to hear the story behind Penny Lane from Paul McCartney, who describes it as a psychedelic dream of a magical place we all used to go and play as a child.

These first two recordings set the tone for the whole record, but the funny thing is, neither ended up on the record, and you’ll learn why.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
We all know what this song is about. I mean it’s right there in the title: L.S.D.

Wrong…the real story behind Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, is not a drug reference, it was a painting by the young Julian Lennon. That’s not to say that drug use was not part of their creative process. George, Paul, Ringo and George Martin all reflect on the role drugs played in the creation of this album.

Being for the Benefit of Mister Kite
The source of John Lennon’s lyrics for this track actually came from an antique poster advertising a fairground that John had hanging in his house. You’ll see the poster and the lyrics are all right there. George Martin also isolates specific tracks for you on this song, and describes how he and John recorded and spliced together tapes of organ bits that play throughout the background to give the feel of walking around a carnival. You won’t believe your ears when you can clearly hear everything that’s going on.

With a Little Help from My Friends (and tomatoes)
One of the funnier moments comes when Ringo reveals some original alternate lyrics to the song he sang on Sgt Pepper, along with what he went through to get the vocal track right.

Good Morning, Good Morning
Another song that features an interesting use of sound effects and tape splicing is Good Morning,Good Morning. If you listen carefully, at the end of the song there is a series of animal sounds arranged in the order of creatures capable of eating the one before. George says that was a special request from John Lennon. You also learn about and see the Kellog’s breakfast commercial that inspired the song.

More Pet Sounds
There has been a lot of discussion about how the Beach Boy’s Pet Sounds influenced the Beatles for Sgt. Pepper. It was refreshing to hear Paul McCartney be so open about it. He comments on how inspiring the instrument choices were that the Beach Boys used on Pet Sounds and how they were placed in arrangements. I think more importantly though, McCartney says that that how far the Beach Boys went out on that record, really gave them a springboard to take it further with Sgt Peppers. Brian Wilson is also interviewed about this, and he comments that he doesn’t really believe that there was a direct influence on the sounds per se, but more in the spirit of creativity.

McCartney states “we approached the record trying to do the best we can in a far out way, and I still believe that one of the best creative philosophies out there is to try and please yourself.”

The Lasting Influence of Sgt. Pepper
There are a couple of interesting clips with Phil Collins in the video. One in particular, he describes how Sgt Pepper changed his perspective on what popular music could be saying “It was like, oh you can do that…it opened a door and showed everyone that there’s another room, and you could play around in that other room, but it could still be called a commercial record.”

The Role of the Producer
George Martin describes how his role as a producer changed over the years. He says “in 1962, I was really more of an organizer, but by the time of Sgt. Pepper I was more of a realizer of their ideas.” He then goes on with some specific examples. Paul, George, and Ringo also all give their thoughts on what it was like working with Martin, and how that relationship grew as they worked together.

Possibly our favorite moment in the entire documentary is near the end when George Martin is describing A Day in the Life. He gets visibly moved when he plays back a rehearsal tape of the track, and John Lennon’s voice comes on to direct the musicians before playing. It’s really touching.

Whether you’re a Beatles fan or just a lover of the art of recording, we highly recommend you watch this documentary. It’s brilliant.

Thanks to YouTube member Maccalennon for posting these clips. Please post comments with your thoughts about Sgt. Pepper; we’d love to hear your perspective.