Rick Rubin, music producer

Rick Rubin, music producer

By BBC Radio 4

Rick Rubin is a multiple Grammy-winning record producer who has worked with a wide range of artists including Adele, the Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He also reinvigorated the career of Johnny Cash in the 1990s, with a series of acclaimed stripped-back albums, introducing the legendary Man in Black to a new audience.

Rick was born on Long Island in New York in 1963. As a teenager, his first love was punk, but he soon became entranced by New York’s emerging rap scene and started hanging out in hip hop clubs to discover more about what was then considered to be an underground form of music. In 1984 he co-founded Def Jam Recordings from his dorm room at university and produced rap records for T La Rock and LL Cool J.

Together with his business partner, promoter Russell Simmons, Rick took rap into the mainstream by putting rappers Run-DMC and rock band Aerosmith together to cover Aerosmith’s Walk This Way. It enjoyed international success and became hip hop’s first crossover hit.

In 1993 Rick approached the country singer Johnny Cash about working together. By that time Johnny, who was in his sixties, had been dropped by his record label and was performing at dinner theatres to small audiences. In his mind his career was over. Rick persuaded him to record again and released the album American Recordings in 1994. Lauded by the critics, the album led to a creative collaboration that lasted until Johnny’s death in 2003.

Rick's more recent work includes the album The New Abnormal by the Strokes, which won the band their first ever Grammy last year.

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Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley

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