Sunday, August 16, 2009

Producerobit: Jim Dickinson

Jim Dickinson, keyboard genius and producer, has died.

Born in Arkansas and growing up in Memphis, Dickinson was a member of Atlantic Records' house band The Dixie Flyers. This group - wheeled in to beef up other people's tracks - positioned Dickinson behind the piano for some great works. It's his keyboards on Teenage Head by The Flaming Groovies; on Spirit In The Dark by Aretha Franklin and - crucially - on The Rolling Stones' Wild Horses. It's fair to say there wouldn't be a Wild Horses without Dickinson's involvement.

During the 1970s, he moved in to production, working with Mojo Nixon and Green On Red amongst others; he was the man sitting in the small glass room when Big Star made Third. In 1998, he returned to big name producing for Mudhoney's Tomorrow Hit Today - this just a few months after helping Dylan to a Grammy by playing on Time Out Of Mind. He continued working with bands from Memphis, as mentor and producer, up until he fell ill.

As a musician, he never really stopped working, either. His final solo album, Dinosaurs Run In Circles, was released in May.

Dickinson has been ill for some time - living a country where people would rather scream than have state support, Dickinson had been relying on friends and supporters to help pay his medical bills.

His wife told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that there are no plans for a public memorial. Jim Dickinson was 67.