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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".[2]

Hugh Padgham
Birth nameHugh Charles Padgham
Born (1955-02-15) 15 February 1955 (age 64)[1]
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England
  • Record producer
  • engineer
Years active1978–present
Associated acts

Early lifeEdit

Padgham was born on 15 February 1955 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. He was educated at St Edward's School, Oxford.[3]


Padgham became interested in record production after listening to Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection.[4] 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.

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.

Personal lifeEdit

Padgham lives in Chiswick, West London, with his partner, the designer Cath Kidston and his daughter Jessica (born 1992/93). They met when she worked as his interior designer.[5]

Padgham is represented by Joe D'Ambrosio Management.

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.




  1. ^ Hugh Padgham, Esq Authorised Biography – Debrett’s People of Today, Hugh Padgham, Esq Profile Archived 21 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Howell, Steve (March 2005). "Q. How do I set up a gated reverb?". Sound On Sound. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  3. ^ Holmes, Thom (2013). The Routledge Guide to Music Technology. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. p. 223. ISBN 9781135477806. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  4. ^ Interview with Hugh Padgham. BBC Radio 2. "The Record Producers". 9 April 2007
  5. ^ "Cath Kidston to pocket £30m from sale of brand 20 years after shop assistant created famous nostalgic designs". Mail Online. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Hugh Padgham - Artist -". Grammy Award. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Grammy Awards 1984". Awards & shows. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Grammy Awards 1986". Awards & shows. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Grammys--Round 1 : Pop music: Phil Collins' 8 nominations lead the pack and Quincy Jones sets a record with his 74th nod. The winners will be revealed on Feb. 20". Desert News. 12 January 1991. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  10. ^ "HUNDREDS NOMINATED FOR GRAMMYS". Desert News. 10 January 1994. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  11. ^ "THE 39TH ANNUAL GRAMMY NOMINATIONS". Los Angeles Times. 8 January 1997. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Hugh Padgham". Brit Awards. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Brit Awards - 1986 - Winners & Nominees". Awards & Winners. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Hugh Padgham - Legendary record producer". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Brit Awards - 1987 - Winners & Nominees". Awards & Winners. Retrieved 18 March 2018.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit