Happy Birthday Don Was: His Five Best Production Jobs

5. The Rolling Stones, Voodoo Lounge, 1994: The first taste Rocks Off ever had of the modern Stones mechanism in our youth. The rocket-fuled "Love Is Strong," the anthemic "You Got Me Rocking" and "The Worst," one of Keith Richards' best solo cuts. The whole album sounded heavy and muscled. Great stuff.

4. Iggy Pop, Brick By Brick, 1990: OK, let's be honest: this only made our list because it includes "Butt Town" and the immortal line "When you live in Butt Town/ You gotta get down..." which was superbly delivered to us with wry commentary from Messrs Beavis and Butt-Head in the mid-'90s. Oh, and "Candy" was on this album too.

3. Willie Nelson, Across The Borderline, 1993: Was teamed with Paul Simon and Roy Halee to track this Willie LP of of Peter Gabriel, John Hiatt, Stephen Bruton and Dylan covers (among others), and revisiting his own "She's Not For You" from 1973's Shotgun Willie. Willie's take on Simon's "Graceland" is aces. Later in 2005, Was helmed Willie's Countryman, which saw the Red-Headed Stranger communing with reggae.

2. Todd Snider, The Excitement Plan, 2009: Snider got help from Loretta Lynn on this album's "Don't Tempt Me," a track that was turned into a great Conway & Loretta single that time forgot. The characters on Robert Earl Keen's "Corpus Christi Bay" do for Corpus what Springsteen did for Jersey.

1. Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang, 2005: Suck it, haters. This is a great Stones album, mixed loud and stupid, the way we like our Stones albums. When the band was being collaborative, it cooks. When you hear what sounds like tepid Jagger solo album cast-offs, just fast forward. Our standout is "Oh No, Not You Again," which proved that the boys remembered to save some marching powder from Nellcôte.


Rolling Stones, Exile On Main St. (Rarities Edition), 2010: Was spiffed up ten tracks that were left on the slaughterhouse floor from the Exile sessions to create a bonus disc of rarities from the band's French expedition. Only a true superfan and confidante such as Was could do this material justice, and he very much did. Hopefully in some studio, Was and the guys are concocting new music for us, but until then be sure to revisit his work with the band. Yes, even Bridges To Babylon, which saw him nearly become the sixth Stone.


Garth Brooks Chris Gaines, In the Life of Chris Gaines, 1999: This was Garth Brooks' Australian Babyface-style rocker alter-ego, produced by Was, in anticipation of a feature film that was never made. To it' credit, it had a great line-up working on it, and had these songs not been sung by a wacky alternate persona and actually been belted by Brooks himself, they could have been hits today.

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