William A. "Bill" Bottrell (born October 27, 1952) is an American record producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his Grammy Award-winning collaborations with Michael Jackson, Madonna, Electric Light Orchestra and Sheryl Crow.
|Born||October 27, 1952|
|Occupation(s)||Record producer, songwriter, musician|
Between 1967 and 1970, Bottrell attended Crescenta Valley Senior High in La Crescenta, California, he spent his junior year (1968-1969 at The Frankfurt International School in Oberursel, West Germany). He graduated in 1970 from Crescenta Valley Senior High. He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara between 1970 and 1972, studying for a bachelor's degree in Music.
In 1974, he married Elizabeth Jordan, whom he met in high school. That same year, Bottrell got his first job in music, as an engineer at California Recording Studio in Hollywood. In 1978, he moved over to Soundcastle Studios in Silverlake, where he met Jeff Lynne, who eventually hired him to engineer for ELO. In 1979 his daughter Adrianne was born. The 1980s were spent freelance engineering between Europe and Los Angeles, with clients including: The Jacksons, ELO, Michael Jackson, Madonna, George Harrison, Starship and Tom Petty. Daughter Laura was born in 1983. He worked for Michael Jackson at his house in Encino between 1984 and 1986, recording tracks for Bad. In 1988, Bottrell co-produced his first record, Aliens Ate My Buick by Thomas Dolby. In 1989, Michael Jackson asked him to co-produce, engineer and write songs for his album Dangerous, co-writing and rapping on the album's biggest hit, "Black or White". The song spent 7 weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in the fall of 1991.
Bottrell's son William was born under difficult circumstances in 1990. That year, Bottrell built his own recording studio and founded a musical "think tank" called the "Tuesday Night Music Club". One of the resulting acts was Sheryl Crow, whose 1993 debut album (produced and co-written by Bottrell) was entitled Tuesday Night Music Club. Her single "All I Wanna Do" from that album won the 1995 Grammy Award for Record of the Year for Bottrell and Crow. The album won three additional Grammys and sold 10 million worldwide and influenced a generation of female singers.
Bottrell was nominated for another Grammy for his work on Shelby Lynne's 1999 breakout album, I Am Shelby Lynne. During the making of that album, he closed his recording studio and moved his family of five to Northern California. His son William died after falling off a cliff in 1998.
He was separated from Elizabeth that year and divorced in 2000.
He has also worked with many other artists, including David Baerwald, Alisha's Attic, Five for Fighting, Rosanne Cash, Lisa Germano, Kevin Gilbert, Jasun Martz, Tom Petty, Rusted Root, Ben Jelen, Toy Matinee and Annie Stela.
In 1999, Bottrell formed a group called The Stokemen. This group has become known around northern California for their cabaret-style shows.
- 1981: Hold On Tight - Electric Light Orchestra
- 1983: Northbound - Northbound
- 1983: Secret Messages - Electric Light Orchestra
- 1984: Victory - The Jacksons (Grammy winning)
- 1986: Balance of Power - Electric Light Orchestra
- 1987: Bad – Michael Jackson (Grammy nominated)
- 1988: Aliens Ate My Buick – Thomas Dolby (Grammy nominated)
- 1988: Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 – Traveling Wilburys
- 1988: Streetwalker - Michael Jackson (released 2001)
- 1989: Like a Prayer – Madonna (Grammy nominated)
- 1989: Full Moon Fever – Tom Petty
- 1989: Monkey Business – Michael Jackson (released 2004)
- 1990: I'm Breathless: Music from and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy – Madonna
- 1990: Toy Matinee – Toy Matinee
- 1990: Truth or Dare – Madonna (Grammy nominated)
- 1991: Dangerous – Michael Jackson (Grammy winning)
- 1991: Black Or White - Michael Jackson
- 1991: Give In To Me – Michael Jackson
- 1991: Who Is It – Michael Jackson
- 1991: No Soul No Strain – Wire Train
- 1992: Triage – David Baerwald
- 1993: Tuesday Night Music Club – Sheryl Crow (Grammy winner)
- 1994: When I Woke – Rusted Root
- 1995: Earth Song – Michael Jackson
- 1995: In Flight – Linda Perry
- 1997: Restless Heart – Tex Beaumont
- 1999: I Am Shelby Lynne – Shelby Lynne grammy nominated
- 2000: Surrender – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
- 2000: "For Real - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (Released in 2019)
- 2000: The House We Built – Alisha's Attic
- 2001: Songs from the West Coast – Elton John
- 2000: Welcome to my Party – Rusted Root
- 2002: Class of Dude – The Stokemen
- 2002: Rise – Kim Richey
- 2003: Free – Luan Parle
- 2004: Liam Titcomb – Liam Titcomb
- 2004: Benji Hughes – Benji Hughes (unreleased) 
- 2004: The Battle for Everything – Five for Fighting
- 2005: Annie Stela – Annie Stela
- 2005: Sierra Swan – Sierra Swan
- 2005: Black Cadillac – Rosanne Cash
- 2006: Save Me From Myself - Christina Aguilera
- 2006: Bird On A Wire – Toby Lightman
- 2006: On The Jungle Floor – Van Hunt
- 2007: Ex-Sensitive - Ben Jelen
- 2008: Detours - Sheryl Crow (Grammy nominated)
- "Bill". MySpace. Archived from the original on 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2007-01-01.
- Associated Press (August 10, 1998). "Son, 7, of Record Producer Falls to His Death From Coastal Cliff". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- Hagan, Joe (July–August 2009). "The Ballad of Benji Hughes". The Believer Magazine. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
“It’s a bit of a sore subject with me,” he writes in an email. “For something so sincere, authentic, gorgeous, and pure to emerge during those desperate times was miraculous, and one of my most perfect works as a longtime record producer has never seen the light of day.”