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Looking Back With One of Elton's Former Producers

Monday 27 December 2010 @ 15:36 - GMT

Joe Boyd is a Boston-born producer who is now based in London.

After university, he worked as a production and tour manager for George Wein in Europe where he traveled with Muddy Waters and Stan Getz, among others; and at Newport where he supervised Bob Dylans electric debut. In 1966, he opened UFO, a psychedelic ballroom in England. 

His first record production was four tracks by Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse for Elektra in 1966. He went on to produce Pink Floyd, REM and Elton.

The latter came about at a showcase for some songwriters signed to Boyd's Warlock company. It featured both Elton and Linda Peters (later to become Linda Thompson) singing covers of songs by Nick Drake and a few others.

Joe told EJW that he recalled that Elton was ''a consummate professional as demo singer and pianist'' and ''the busiest in Denmark Street.''

The producer, who saw Elton when he made his American debut as the Troubadour in Los Angeles, says he is impressed with the performer's talent and appreciates his passion for Watford.

Since working with the Rocket Man, Boyd has been involved in cinema as well as music. This included a partnership with Don Simpson to develop film projects. He also started Hannibal Records, which he ran for 20 years.

His memoir, White Bicycles: Making Music in The 1960s, was published a few years ago.

Boyd explained the title is  an emblem, for all those ''lovely ideas of the 1960s'' that didnt quite pan out.

It specifically refers to the Dutch Provos scheme of distributing white bicycles around Amsterdam for people to use for free a utopian plan that worked fine for a while, ''until by the end of 1967 people started stealing the bikes and repainting them.''