I just read on Rosann Cash’s tweet about the death of Roger Nichols, the famous recording engineer and innovator. He was also known for having been in the atomic energy industry before working with music. The production quality he facilitated for Steely Dan especially is so distinctive that the music is often the standard by which people buy stereos, and has also been the standard bearer for new music hardware like the Compact Disc player, Super Audio CD, HDCD, Digital Audio Cassette, MP3 and (no doubt) more to come.
One exciting moment I enjoyed as a fan was seeing Steely Dan live with Roger Nichols mixing. He was introduced from the stage and gave the crowd a wave to acknowledge their applause. In a band with only two members, the person who kept all the takes and personell straight while maintaining sound quality and (presumably) a good atmosphere in the room was pretty important and the fans knew it too.
He’s one of the people the term “audiophile” was created for – a fan of sound quality and equipment more than music itself. Roger Nichols’ work will be appreciated for many years to come.
Roger Nichols is interviewed on the topic of “Deacon Blues” (toward the end of the clip):
To donate to the Roger Nichols Cancer Fund, please click here.