(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
Steve Lillywhite, one of the most respected and influential music producers for more than three decades, has joined the Columbia Records as senior vice president of A&R. He reports to Will Botwin, chairman Columbia Records Group, and will be based in New York.
Lillywhite will sign new and emerging artists to the label while working with Columbia's roster of established and developing talent, providing a wide range of in-house production services, from direct hands-on in-the-studio production/mixing/engineering to a broader advisory role as creative consultant for a number of projects.
"Steve Lillywhite has worked on a lot of the most important records of the past thirty years and has produced some of the best records of all time," said Botwin. "His adventurous musical spirit, his consistently high aesthetic standards, and his broad creative abilities have produced an unbroken string of artistic and commercial successes, from the earliest days of punk-rock to this year's hottest pop albums. He knows what a great record sounds like and he intuitively knows how to work with artists to bring out the very best they have to offer. I feel fortunate that Steve is on-board to help write the next chapter in Columbia Records' rich history."
"I'm looking to sign the best artists around and believe that Columbia is the place to make the best possible records," said Lillywhite. "I thank Will and Donnie (Ienner) for this fantastic opportunity and am looking forward to working with Steve Greenberg in New York and Tim Devine on the West Coast in signing vital new artists. Every department at Columbia is so strong, and all the players are so ace at what they do, that when you do discover great artists, you can do them justice, make great records and take them right to the very top."
Lillywhite got his first job in the music business in 1972 working as a tape operator at PolyGram in the UK before working on a set of recordings that earned the band Ultravox its deal with Island Records, where he went to work as staff producer. Finding his soul and his calling in the UK punk-rock explosion of the mid-1970s, he produced a series of groundbreaking records including Johnny Thunders' "So Alone," Siouxsie & the Banshees' first hit ("Hong Kong Garden"), and recordings by the Psychedelic Furs, Eddie & the Hot Rods and XTC, among others.
In 1980, he helped shepherd punk's transformation into new wave music with his production on Peter Gabriel's acclaimed third album as well as his pioneering work with the then-unknown rock band, U2. He would go on to produce and/or mix four U2 albums–"Boy," "October," "War," "The Joshua Tree"–in the 1980s while bringing his developing signature sounds to records by Simple Minds, Big Country, Talking Heads, and the Rolling Stones, to name a few.
The 1990s found Lillywhite forging new musical avenues with his production on records for Morrissey, the Pogues, Travis, the Lyres, Phish and a series of multi-platinum albums by the Dave Matthews Band.
After a successful stint as joint managing director of Mercury Records in London, he returned to Dublin to produce U2's 10 million seller "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" and Jason' Mraz's Top 5 album, Mr. A-Z." His work with U2 has earned him two consecutive Grammy Awards for Record of the Year: "Beautiful Day" (2000) and "Walk On" (2001). –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner