Legendary Rock Producer Has Tragically Died

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Legendary rock producer Chris Tsangarides passed away early this morning after being taken ill at the start of the year. According to his daughter Anastasia Tsangarides, Chris was battling pneumonia and heart failure at the time of his death. He was 61 years old.

Tsangarides worked with Judas Priest, Depeche Mode, Thin Lizzy, Yngwie Malmsteen, Tom Jones, The Tragically Hip, and many others.

Former Black Sabbath and Whitesnake bassist Neil Murray called Tsangarides “a lovely man and very talented.” He added that Chris will be “sadly missed by all who knew him, I’m sure.”

The Amorettes said they were “utterly devastated” to hear about his passing. “Chris produced our ‘Game On’ album, the record that pretty much started us on this crazy journey,” they said. “Just as we are gearing up to release our newest album, we want to just send our love to all his family and friends. Chris, you were an absolute gentleman, and it was a pleasure. Rest in peace, dark lord.”

Blind Tiger wrote: “Chris, you were our mentor, our inspiration and our friend. We’ll never forget the things you have taught us over the years. You saw something in us and gave us the opportunity to grow into the band we are today. You are and always will be our hero. We love you, Chris. You will never be forgotten.”

Ex-Tigertailz singer Kim Hooker said that Tsangarides “was a legend. The list of greats he worked with speaks for itself,” he wrote. “He was up there with the best of them. Above all, he was the one who guided me through my numerous mental episodes at the ‘Bezerk’ sessions. I love you, Sponka. RIP my dear friend.”

Saxon drummer Nigel Glockler said: “So very sorry to wake up to the news that Chris Tsangarides has passed. A truly fantastic producer and even better person.”

Thin Lizzy wrote in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we hear of the passing of producer Chris Tsangarides who worked with the band on ‘Renegade’ and ‘Thunder And Lightning’. Our thoughts go out to Chris’s wife Jane and family at this time.”

Chris Tsangarides learned to play piano as a child and studied trumpet at the Royal Academy of Music, before studying economics at college. He started his career in the music business in 1974, as an apprentice at Morgan Studios in London, one of the major independent recording studios in the UK at the time. Initially, he worked there as a tape operator and his first job as sound engineer was on Judas Priest’s second album Sad Wings of Destiny in 1976. He engineered the British hit single “Naughty Naughty Naughty” in 1977, a pop song by Joy Sarney, whose success gave him much more work as engineer at the studio. In that period he engineered and mixed albums of new wave acts, such as Japan’s Obscure Alternatives (1978), and jazz fusion releases of Colosseum II and Brand X. Tsangarides befriended Colosseum II guitarist Gary Moore, who requested him for his solo album Back on the Streets (1978) and gave him his first job as producer. The song “Parisienne Walkways”, sung by Phil Lynott and contained in the album, was a hit in the UK. Tsangarides continued working with Moore on live albums and produced Back to the Blues in 2001.

When Morgan Studios 3 and 4 were acquired by Zomba Management in 1980 and rechristened Battery Studios, Tsangarides went to work for the new owners and became part of a team of “in-house producers” which included Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Martin Birch, Tony Platt and Nigel Green.

During the 80s and up to the 90s, Tsangarides became famous on the hard rock and heavy metal scene for the quality of his job and for having produced signature albums, like Anvil’s Metal on Metal in 1982, Thin Lizzy’s acclaimed final studio release Thunder and Lightning in 1983 and the Grammy nominated Painkiller by Judas Priest in 1990. He worked in those years with Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Helloween, Y&T, Tygers of Pan Tang, Anthem, Sinner, King Diamond, Ian Gillan and produced also Bruce Dickinson’s first solo album Tattooed Millionaire (1990).

Beside his work with metal bands, Tsangarides recorded songs for artists of other musical genres, like singer/songwriter Joan Armatrading, pop star Tom Jones, goth rockers The Lords of the New Church, Killing Joke and keyboardist Jan Hammer. In 1987, he remixed the song “Never Let Me Down Again” by synthpop band Depeche Mode for a release as single.

The 90s saw Tsangarides still at work with metal bands like Exodus, Overkill, Judas Priest again with the album Painkiller, the Japanese Loudness and guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen, but he also produced the British gothic rock act The Sisters of Mercy and the alternative rock groups The Tragically Hip and Concrete Blonde. For the latter band, he also produced and engineered the hit single “Joey” in 1990. In 1999, Tsangarides collaborated as a performer and songwriter with Shin Hae-chul in the techno/metal act Monocrom. They made one album and did an arena tour in Shin’s native Korea.

At the beginning of the 2000s, Tsangarides had his own music company called Rainmaker Music, which included a recording studio with the same name in South London. He later opened another studio called The Dump in Kenley, Surrey, which operated until January 2006. Among others, New Model Army, Leanne Harte, Winters Bane and Glyder recorded there.

In 2006, Tsangarides opened a new recording facility, Ecology Room Studios in Kent, England, where he went on producing new and established acts on lower budgets than in corporate studios. The Strawbs, Mountain, Steeleye Span, The Quireboys, Biomechanical, Spit Like This, Savage Messiah and many other bands recorded at his new facility. LunarMile, whose members include Toni-Marie Iommi (daughter of Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi) and Alex Hill (son of Judas Priest’s Ian Hill), recorded there in June 2007.

Tsangarides is featured in Sacha Gervasi’s documentary film Anvil! The Story of Anvil, released in 2009, while at work on the album This Is Thirteen, which Anvil recorded at Ecology Room Studios.