James Guthrie (record Producer) - Early Years

Early Years

Guthrie began his career on 1 October 1973 at Mayfair Studios (in the previous location of 64 South Molton Street) in London, as a trainee tape operator and later assistant engineer, initially trained by studio owner John Hudson. One of his earliest credits is as an assistant engineer on the first two albums by glam rock singer Alvin Stardust. During this time he first worked with Greg Walsh (who would later go on to produce Heaven 17 and Tina Turner among others), whom Guthrie asked to join his FOH production team for the live performances of Pink Floyd's The Wall in 1980 and '81. By 1975 Guthrie was employed as one of the house engineers at Utopia Studios. During his tenure he worked as the engineer on The Bay City Rollers' Wouldn't You Like It? release (produced by studio owner Phil Wainman), and for producer Barry Blue on Breakout by The Dead End Kids as well as the first two albums for London-based R&B band Heatwave (Too Hot To Handle and Central Heating), which would yield the hit singles "Boogie Nights", "Always and Forever" and "The Groove Line". Utopia was also where he first worked with Andy Jackson (Jackson apprenticed as an assistant engineer under Guthrie's supervision), whom Guthrie later introduced to Pink Floyd and was hired as the band's primary engineer (a position Jackson still holds, as the Senior Mastering Engineer for David Gilmour's studio Astoria UK). In addition, Guthrie is also credited with suggesting Jon Carin as a keyboard player for Roger Waters' touring band (making Carin one of a select group of people to have played with both Waters and Gilmour, and an incarnation of Pink Floyd), and arranged for Kashmir lead vocalist and guitarist Kasper Eistrup to audition for the same tour (as documented in the film Rocket Brothers), as well as introducing vocalist Rachel Brennock (his then-girlfriend, who used the stage name Rachel Fury) to Pink Floyd, she joined the touring band from 1987 to 1989.

Guthrie later worked at other London-area studios such as The Manor, Audio International, Advision, and Britannia Row. His initial producer credit in the mid-seventies would be for the band Fury. Guthrie's connection with GTO Records landed him production duties on the second and third albums for The Movies (Double A and Bullets Through The Barrier); followed by work with Runner (producing their only release, which made the Billboard Top 100). After producing the Judas Priest track "Better By You, Better Than Me" for the album Stained Class, he was selected to produce their follow-up album Hell Bent For Leather (aka Killing Machine).

By 1980, Guthrie's body of work in regards to engineering, mixing, and production would include a total of six hit singles on both the British and American charts: the first three singles from Heatwave, Marshall Hain's "Dancing in the City", Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)" and The Pointer Sisters' "He's So Shy".

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