Hugh Charles Padgham (born 15 February 1955) is an English record producer and audio engineer. He has won four Grammy Awards, for Producer of the Year and Album of the Year for 1985, Record of the Year for 1990, and Engineer of the Year for 1993. A 1992 poll in Mix magazine voted him one of the world's "Top Ten Most Influential Producers". Padgham's co-productions include hits by Phil Collins, XTC, Genesis, the Human League, Sting, and the Police. He pioneered (with Peter Gabriel and producer Steve Lillywhite) the "gated reverb" drum sound used most famously in Collins' song "In the Air Tonight".
|Birth name||Hugh Charles Padgham|
|Born||15 February 1955|
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England
Padgham became interested in record production after listening to Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection. He started out as a tape operator at Advision Studios, working on many recording sessions including Mott The Hoople and Gentle Giant. From there he went to Lansdowne Studios and moved from tape-operator/assistant engineer to engineer. In 1978, Padgham got a job at The Townhouse, where he engineered and/or produced acts including XTC, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. He also worked on the second album by Killing Joke.
Padgham's previous work with Gabriel and Collins led to a collaboration with Genesis and Phil Collins in the 1980s, which produced the albums: Face Value, Abacab, Hello, I Must Be Going!, Genesis, No Jacket Required, Invisible Touch and ...But Seriously. In addition to his work with Genesis and XTC, Padgham co-produced two albums with the Police: Ghost in the Machine and Synchronicity, as well as some of Police frontman Sting's solo work. He also worked on Paul McCartney's Press to Play and The Human League's Hysteria.
In the 2000s, Padgham worked with Sting as well as McFly. He had four UK number one hits in 2005 and 2006 with McFly, as well as a number of other Top Ten Singles. In 2002, Padgham produced the Tragically Hip album In Violet Light.
In 2019, Hugh Padgham was honored in London with The MPG Award For Outstanding Contribution To UK Music. The surprise presenters for the evening for Hugh were his friend, Peter Gabriel, and the CEO of PPL, Peter Leathem. The 11th MPG Awards featured a total of 16 award categories, each designed to recognise and celebrate the best and brightest talent in music production, along with the industry's rising stars.
Hugh is one of the owners of the indie label Gearbox Records.
The "gated drum" soundEdit
Padgham is credited with creating the "gated reverb" drum sound used so prominently on Phil Collins' single "In the Air Tonight", and which became the template for much of the recorded pop drum sound of the 1980s. The effect is believed to have first been used on the 1980 third self-titled solo album by Peter Gabriel, which Padgham engineered and on which Collins played. At this time, Padgham was working regularly as the recording engineer for noted UK producer Steve Lillywhite, and they collaborated on many well-known albums and singles in the early 1980s.
Padgham's gated drum effect is created by adding a large amount of heavily compressed room ambience to the original drum sound, and then feeding that reverb signal through an electronic device known as a noise gate. This unit can be programmed to cut off any signal fed through it, either after a specified time interval (in this case, some tens of milliseconds), or when the incoming signal falls below a preset gain threshold. The result is the arresting 'gated reverb' effect, in which the reverberation cuts off abruptly, rather than fading away.
In a 2006 interview, Padgham revealed how the effect was first engineered:
The whole thing came through the famous "listen mic" on the SSL console. The SSL had put this massive compressor on it because the whole idea was to hang one mic in the middle of the studio and hear somebody talking on the other side. And it just so happened that we turned it on one day when Phil [Collins] was playing his drums. And then I had the idea of feeding that back into the console and putting the noise gate on, so when he stopped playing it sucked the big sound of the room into nothing.
Artists for whom Padgham has produced or engineered include:
- Bee Gees
- David Bowie (Tonight) (1984)
- Kate Bush
- Toni Childs
- Paula Cole
- Phil Collins (Face Value, Hello, I Must Be Going!, No Jacket Required, ...But Seriously, Dance into the Light)
- Julian Cope
- Sheryl Crow
- The Dream Academy
- Melissa Etheridge
- Mick Farren
- Julia Fordham
- The Fixx
- Peter Gabriel (engineer, Peter Gabriel (1980 album))
- Genesis (Abacab, Genesis, Invisible Touch)
- Hall & Oates
- Nicky Holland
- The Human League
- I Was a Cub Scout
- Elton John
- The Lightyears
- Anni-Frid Lyngstad (engineer)
- Madness (mixing, 1988)
- Paul McCartney
- Mike + The Mechanics
- Northern Pikes (Snow in June, 1990)
- Youssou N'Dour
- The Police (Ghost in the Machine, Synchronicity)
- The Psychedelic Furs
- Kim Richey (1999 album Glimmer)
- L. Shankar
- Spandau Ballet
- Split Enz (Time and Tide, Conflicting Emotions)
- Tears for Fears
- The Tragically Hip
- Van der Graaf Generator (mixing, 2010)
- Suzanne Vega
- The Waitresses
- Brian Wilson
- XTC (engineer, 1979, 1980, 1982)
- Yes (Drama)
- Frank Zappa
- Derek & Clive!
|1986||No Jacket Required (Phil Collins)||British Producer||Nominated|||
|1987||Invisible Touch (Genesis)||Nominated|||
|2009||Himself||Gold Badge Award||Won|||
- Hugh Padgham, Esq Authorised Biography – Debrett’s People of Today, Hugh Padgham, Esq Profile Archived 21 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- "Hugh Padgham". GRAMMY.com. 23 November 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
- Howell, Steve (March 2005). "Q. How do I set up a gated reverb?". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
- Holmes, Thom (2013). The Routledge Guide to Music Technology. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. p. 223. ISBN 9781135477806. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- Interview with Hugh Padgham. BBC Radio 2. "The Record Producers". 9 April 2007
- Hämäläinen, Jyrki "Spider" (2020). Killing Joke: Are You Receiving?, p. 43-44. Milton Keynes: New Haven Publishing. ISBN 978-1912587407.
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