Record producer Tom Wilson died of a heart attack 35 years ago on this date at age 47. Who was Wilson? In 1954 this lanky Texan graduated cum laude from Harvard, where he served as president of the Harvard Republican Club. Over the next 14 years he produced the first two albums by Sun Ra, the Velvet Underground, and the Mothers of Invention. He produced Dylan's second thru fifth albums (including Bringing It All Back Home). Although he didn't produce Dylan's sixth, Highway 61 Revisited, he did produce one track: "Like a Rolling Stone." He took an obscure acoustic track from Simon & Garfunkel's commercially failed debut album (which he'd produced) and, without the approval of the artists, overdubbed a rock band. That recording, "The Sounds of Silence," was released as a single in 1965, went to #1, and helped launch the folk-rock boom. He produced early albums by saxophonist Eddie Harris, pianist Cecil Taylor, and Soft Machine's debut. His discography veers from John Coltrane to Dion; from the Clancy Brothers to Hugh Masekela; from Donald Byrd to Eric Burdon; from the Blues Project to Nico; and from Gil Scott-Heron to Connie Francis.
In the three and a half decades since his premature passing, no books have been written about Wilson's storied life and career. No biopics have been produced, and no American Masters profile.
But because we have the www, there's now a website devoted to Producer Tom Wilson. I started it four months ago and assembled it slowly. Today marks its official launch. No bells, no whistles — just Tom Wilson 1.0. Chronicles, photos, links, quotes, interviews, and the most exhaustive discography to date of Wilson's productions. I probably got some stuff wrong. Help me fix it.
Record Producer. March 25, 1931 - September 6, 1978. This website aims to serve as a clearinghouse for information about the late producer Tom Wilson.