5. Daniel Lanois
Credits: Brian Eno, U2, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, Martha and the Muffins
Song: U2: A Sort of Homecoming
Lanois came up via Martha and the Muffins, a Canadian band his sister played bass in. Brian Eno discovered him and invited him to co-produce U2's The Unforgettable Fire in 1985; the two have frequently collaborated since. Lanois is also an accomplished guitarist, pedal steel player, and dobro player; he's released a number of interesting solo albums. As a producer, he's not dissimilar to Eno, except that he makes a point of employing more organic sounding instrumentation on many of his recordings in the service of a vaguely dreamscape-like sound. He most recently worked with Dashboard Confessional.
6. Jerry Wexler
Credits: Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Ray Charles, The Drifters
Song: Sam & Dave: Soul Man
If greatest producer can be chosen on the concept of best sounding records, Jerry Wexler has to be right up there. Wexler is perhaps best known in younger circles for his years at Stax, where he largely was responsible, along with Isaac Hayes, for the gritty, horn based Stax soul sound of the late 1960's. However, his influence dates all the way back to the mid 1950's at Atlantic Records, when he worked with Ray Charles and the Drifters. As a producer, he liked grit; he encouraged Charles to raunch it up a little, and his recordings at Stax emphasized the soul of the horns and vocals without overloading the productions with Spector or Motown style walls of sound.
7. George Martin
Credits: The Beatles, Paul McCartney, America
Song: The Beatles: Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite
Often called the fifth Beatle, the title isn't too far off the mark. What made the Beatles great was the complexity of their music; given the fact that none of them could read music, this was a real achievement. Martin was the difference; he explained to the lads what could and couldn't be done on records, he carried out some of their more whimsical ideas, and came up with a few of his own. "Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite" is one of many wild experiments. A Lennon song, its intensely psychedelic swirly sounds in the instruemental break is a tape of a circus calliope, sliced into pieces, tossed into the air, and spliced together however they fell, including backwards and upside-down. He didn't do much after the Beatles (California pop group America provided income, and the work wasn't very challenging); Paul McCartney brought him in to produce a couple of early 80's albums.