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9 Rock Albums Whose Producers Co-Wrote The Music: Fun., The Black Keys, And More

by Joey DeGroot   Nov 17, 2014 12:33 PM EST

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In genres such as pop and hip-hop, it's pretty much standard for a producer to have an active role in the album's songwriting, especially if they're working with a solo artist, but this is pretty uncommon when working with rock bands, who tend to write their own material. These nine albums, however, feature extensive songwriting contributions from their producers, even though they were made by rock bands.

1. Talking Heads - Remain in Light (1980)

Mastermind producer Brian Eno began working with Talking Heads for their 1978 sophomore effort More Songs About Buildings and Food, and became even more involved in the band's creative process for their third album Fear of Music, co-writing two of the album's tracks. By 1980's Remain in Light, however, Eno had basically become a full member of the band, co-writing every song and even pushing to be included on the album cover (though that ultimately didn't happen).

2 & 3. Def Leppard - Pyromania/Hysteria (1983/1987)

Producer Mutt Lange first worked with Def Leppard on their second album High 'n' Dry in 1981, but for their megaselling 1983 album Pyromania, Lange took an active role in the songwriting, co-writing every song on the album and pushing the band towards a more radio-friendly pop metal sound. Lange would again produce and co-write the band's 1987 album Hysteria, and though he was unavailable to produce their 1992 effort Adrenalize, he still managed to co-write all ten of the album's songs.


4. The Clash - Cut The Crap (1985)

Though Bernie Rhodes was the manager of the Clash, there are some who believed that he secretly wanted to be a member of the band. Following the sacking of guitarist and songwriter Mick Jones in 1983, Rhodes got his wish, serving as the producer and co-songwriter on the Clash's 1985 album Cut The Crap. Unfortunately for Rhodes, Cut The Crap was received poorly and is considered to be the Clash's worst album by far.

5 & 6. Neutral Milk Hotel - On Avery Island/In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1996/1998)

Even as Neutral Milk Hotel expanded from the solo project of Jeff Mangum into a full band, producer Robert Schneider never became an official member, despite the fact that he played a number of instruments on both NMH albums On Avery Island and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and composed the band's signature horn arrangements.


7 & 8. The Black Keys - El Camino/Turn Blue (2011/2014)

Producer Danger Mouse first began working with the Black Keys for their 2008 album Attack and Release, but it wasn't until 2011's El Camino, their third collaboration, that Danger Mouse pretty much became the third member of the band, recording keyboards and co-writing all of the album's songs. Danger Mouse would also produce and co-write the songs on the Black Keys' most recent album Turn Blue.


9. Fun. - Some Nights (2012)

For their second album Some Nights, indie pop trio Fun. worked with hip-hop producer Jeff Bhasker, who co-wrote nearly every song and gave the album a hip-hop influence with his programmed drum machine beats, filling in for the band's lack of a drummer.

What are some other rock albums where the producer co-wrote the music? Let us know down in the comment section!

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