Today marked the tragic passing of Ramones drummer Tommy Ramone, and along with being a founding member of one of the most influential bands in history, another one of his crowning achievements was his production of the Replacements' classic 1985 album Tim. Here are some other classic albums that were produced by musicians outside of the band.
(Note: I've purposely chosen not to include albums produced by Brian Eno, Steve Albini, or similar artists who are just as famous as producers than as musicians, if not more famous.)
1. Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica (1969)
The histories of Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa are closely linked: the two were childhood friends and even released an album together, 1975's Bongo Fury. The duo's most famous collaboration was Beefheart's insane 1969 album Trout Mask Replica, which was produced by Zappa.
2 & 3. Lou Reed - Transformer/The Stooges - Raw Power (1972, 1973)
Though the Velvet Underground and the Stooges never achieved commercial success, many of the artists that they influenced did, such as David Bowie. Bowie was such an enormous fan of both acts that he offered to produce albums for them in the early '70s. Bowie would end up producing Lou Reed's solo breakthrough Transformer in 1972 and the Stooges' classic album Raw Power the following year.
4 - 6. The Stooges - The Stooges/Patti Smith - Horses/The Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers (1969, 1975, 1976)
After leaving the Velvet Underground in 1968, multi-instrumentalist John Cale began releasing music under his own name, as well as recording albums for other bands. Three of his most famous production credits were for massively influential protopunk albums: The Stooges' 1969 eponymous debut, Patti Smith's 1975 debut Horses, and The Modern Lover's 1976 eponymous debut.
7. The Cramps - Songs The Lord Taught Us (1980)
In the years following the disintegration of Big Star, guitarist Alex Chilton became involved in the burgeoning punk scene by joining Tav Falco's Panther Burns and producing Songs The Lord Taught Us, the debut album by New York psychobilly band the Cramps.
8. X - Los Angeles (1980)
Though the initial punk movement is often seen as a reaction to the "bloated" rock bands of the '60s and '70s, that didn't mean the two were incompatible. In fact, it was none other than Ray Manzarek, keyboardist of the Doors, who produced X's debut album Los Angeles. The band even recorded a cover of the Doors' "Soul Kitchen" for the album.
9. Morrissey - Your Arsenal (1992)
For his third solo LP Your Arsenal, Morrissey decided to take a heavier glam rock approach, as opposed to the jangly, Smiths-inspired sound of his earlier work. To help out with his new glam sound was producer Mick Ronson, who rose to fame as David Bowie's guitarist during his Ziggy Stardust era. Your Arsenal would be one of the last albums that Ronson worked on, as he sadly passed away the following year of liver cancer.
10. Weezer - Weezer (1994)
The news that Cars frontman Ric Ocasek is producing the new Weezer album has given Weezer fans, such as myself, a fleeting sense that the album might be somewhat decent. This is because Ocasek was responsible for the production on Weezer's classic debut album, as well as 2001's "Green Album," which wasn't bad, either.
11 & 12. Beck - One Foot in the Grave/Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West (1994, 1997)
It may not necessarily be a "classic," but One Foot in the Grave is still one of my favorite Beck albums, recorded in the basement of Beat Happening's Calvin Johnson and released through his label, K Records. Another great '90s album that Johnson had a hand in producing, and one more deserving of "classic" status, was Modest Mouse's monumental second album The Lonesome Crowded West.
What are some other classic albums recorded by musicians outside of the band? Let us know in the comments section!