We all have our favourite producers – the musical masterminds working behind the scenes to create hit after hit. But who are the best of the best? To put an end to the debate once and for all, musicMagpie have looked at 20 of the most prolific producers of the last 60 years, analysing their long and impressive careers. Using this information, they’ve pitted them against each other based on a number of different categories to see who comes out on top.
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The most prolific producers
Arif Mardin came out on top as the most prolific producer, working on 1,079 different records across 13 different genres. Throughout his career, he collaborated with some of the biggest names in music, from Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway and Diana Ross to the Bee Gees, Queen and David Bowie.
Mardin was famously credited with discovering Barry Gibb’s trademark falsetto while producing the Bee Gees’ 1975 hit ‘Nights on Broadway – a sound which would go on to become synonymous with the group for years to come.
Reggaeton legend Lee “Scratch” Perry came in as the second most prolific producer in musicMagpie’s study, with 1,018 production credits to his name. He also took the top spot for highest number of artists worked with, teaming up with 422 different musicians throughout his career. However, Perry worked across the fewest genres (6) out of all 20 producers, with 88% of his work being with reggae artists.
The hardest working of the prolific producers
The Neptunes, the production duo made up of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, claimed the title of the hardest working producers in music, working on an average of 31 different records per year. In their most productive year, 2002, they worked on an incredible 105 different projects.
Switching effortlessly between the worlds of hip-hop and pop music throughout their career, The Neptunes have produced hits for a wide array of different artists, from Jay-Z (‘I Just Wanna Love U’, 2001) and Mystikal (‘Shake Ya Ass, 2000) to Britney Spears (“I’m A Slave 4 U’, 2001) and N’SYNC (‘Girlfriend, 2002).
Timbaland took the number two spot for hardest working producer, with an average of 27 records each year under his belt. While Timbaland made a name for himself working with the likes of Ginuwine, Aaliyah and Missy Elliot, more recently he’s become known for his frequent collaborations with Justin Timberlake. His work on Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” heralded his start of his journey from boyband member to solo star.
The most award-winning producers
When it comes to awards, nobody comes close to Kanye West. So far in his career, he’s collected over 200 different music awards, including 21 Grammys, 10 Billboard Awards, 27 BET Awards and many, many more.
Quincy Jones came in as the second most awarded producer, with 33 different awards to his name, including an incredible 30 Grammys! T-Bone Burnett took third place, having won 24 different awards in his career so far.
Head over to the musicMagpie website for more information and to see if your favourite producer made the list.