Influential Producers

I've always found it interesting how much a producer can influence the sound of an artist. The right synergy between the two can make a good artist great and really shape the creative process. A few influential producers come to mind: John Levanthal (Rosanne Cash, Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn), Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams), Tommy Lipuma (Diana Krall). Sometimes I shop recordings by looking for producers who have worked with some of my favorite artists--it doesn't always guarantee a great recording but it helps narrow things down as the producers mark is usually evident no matter which artist is involved. Anyone else look at the credits and see patterns?
Dodgealum - I can't say I typically "buy" for a particular producer but I definitely notice, as you suggest, what seem to me consistent, successful pairings of artist & producer. Would have to dig out the recordings to give you specific names for some current candidates but a few pairings I like are those with Andy Summers, John Mayer and Levon Helm. I don't think it's possible to give too much credit to George Martin for his work with the Beatles. Tchad Blake, Phil Spector and Daniel Lanois are three that quickly come to mind for influencing the sound of an artist - maybe too much in some opinions. Interesting topic.

Great topic! I agree about all of those mentioned thus far. I also pay attention to producers when I'm perusing recordings. It's not an infallible indicator of quality but it gives me an idea whether the recording will be something I like. Naturally, people will disagree about who is good and who is not. I'll add Mitchell Froom, Norman Ganz and Orin Keepnews to the list of producers I like.

Occassionally, some producers' signatures can also become too "present" as I think T-Bone Burnett has been lately. I love most of his work, but his latest project with Diana Krall simply did not work, IMHO.

Here's one other thing to add to the mix: who was in charge of mastering? If I see Bob Ludwig or Doug Sax along with a favorite producer, I'm nearly sure I'll dig the record.
Mel Brooks
Rick Rubin comes to mind. His work with Johnny Cash was very good in my opinion.
Interesting about Rick Rubin. I recently purchased Neil Diamonds last CD, it had two CDs, one was the "demos" as Neil wrote them, the other was the released record after production by Rubin. Nearly no difference! Not the type of producer most think of when they think of producer. He seems to be someone who simply asks for a little more from an artist, very different than my view of Lanois, for example, who I think is one of the very best ever.
Have never heard a Phil Ramone production that didn't sound great. If one likes a very very slick and overly organized signature sound, Quincy Jones.
Chris Thomas (Roxy Music, Pretenders) and Roy Thomas Baker (Cars) come to mind as producers that maximized the potential of artists that they produced
I agree with Vhiner on Tbone Burnett--his Plant/ Krauss, Elton and Russell

efforts are flat and lifeless

Oh what a chance lost

"very different than my view of Lanois, for example, who I think is one of the very best ever"

Glad folks are chiming in...a few more came to mind since my OP. How about Nigel Godrich's production work with Beck (Sea Change) and Radiohead (OK Computer)...two of my favorite LPs for sure and each with a similar feel. Also, Gary Pacoza's work with Alison Krauss and Kelly Willis (Easy)...very similar recording style applied to these artists with great results. Also remembering Glyn Johns work as well (Ethans dad right?). I agree Vhiner...I am always checking the mastering engineer as well. More often than not Doug Sax shows up on great sounding recordings.

I second every single producer you mentioned. Just mentioning them is sending me on a search for more of their work. ;-)
Nile Rodgers has produced some fine albums with a bit of a signature sound.
T-Bone Burnett, George Martin, Daniel Lanois

I agree except for the Plant/Krauss project, which I happened to like...but
it's not a position I can logically defend. ;-) I think T-Bone is a genius, but
he's a very "big" presence in the studio from what I read. I think
his work with Sam Phillips and on his own stuff is amazing.

While we're in the genre, Buddy Miller is also good when he works with the
right engineer and mastering studio.

In case people don't know, an extant summary of each of the producers
mentioned in this thread is available through Wikipedia with hyperlinks to
each of their projects. I was surprised by a few recordings I found there.
Glyn Johns
Teo Macero
I forgot about Nigel Godrich! Sea Change is a producer's masterpiece for sure.
There's something about the ultra-processed sound of some of the new producers that doesn't agree with me. I wonder if they could have existed in earlier times when new sounds had to be invented technologically. I guess all that matters is that they're doing what they're doing with what we have now.
Anyway, I'm an old-timer with a preference for the older sounds (50's-early 80's).
Dodgealum, have you listened to the works of Danger Mouse?
He has won producer of decade and numerous best album , best producer awards. I love most everything he touches. Please see Norah Jone's last album, a break through for her sound. (Broken Little Hearts)
Listen to an album called Broken Bells. It's one of my favorites of the decade. Also check out the album called , Rome (a masterpiece). Please check out his works with Sparkle Horse. (Dark Night of the Soul). There is a ton to discover with this fine producer. He is reported to be working with U2.
This guy is a super genius!!!
Mutt Lange
How about Peter Asher's work with Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor? Great example of someone who transitioned from musician/performer to the studio and experienced much greater success in that role.
Bob Ezrin. Produced artists like Pink Floyd (The Wall), Kiss (Destroyer and the Elder), Alice Cooper (Most of his early albums), just to name a few.