Acclaimed audio engineer Bruce Swedien died on Monday at the age of 86. His daughter, Roberta Swedien, posted the news to Facebook, writing, “He had a long life full of love, great music, big boats and a beautiful marriage. We will celebrate that life. He was loved by everyone.” Swedien, whose prolific career spanned 65 years, produced albums for Donna Summer, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, and Michael Jackson, among many others. Swedien began his career at age 21, working with artists like Duke Ellington and Dinah Washington at Universal Recording, before meeting his longtime friend and collaborator Quincy Jones, who brought him on to produce Michael Jackson’s debut album.
Swedien went on to record and mix Jackson’s Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad, and Dangerous, winning three Grammys for those albums, in addition to two statues for Jones’s Back on the Block and Q’s Jook Joint. “There are not enough words to express how much Bruce meant to me,” wrote Jones in a tribute to Swedien on Instagram. “He was without question the absolute best engineer in the business, & for more than 70 years I wouldn’t even think about going into a recording session unless I knew Bruce was behind the board.”