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Arthur Baker (born April 22, 1955) is an American record producer and DJ best known for his work with electro artists such as Afrika Bambaataa, Planet Patrol and the British group New Order.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Baker began working as a club DJ in Boston in the early 1970s, where he was known for playing soul and Philly soul albums. However, he had little patience for the work of DJ, which made him leave.
Remixer / producer
In 1981, Baker moved to New York, where he continued to play at the same time he started a career as a producer. His first hit single was “Happy Days,” which he produced under the name North End on Emergency Records in 1981.
In the early eighties, before the era of digital recording that would be installed a decade later, Baker and his contemporaries created remixes on analog tape. He works closely with the Latin Rascals, who were influenced by the first work of Tom Moulton, John Morales and Walter Gibbons.
He started working for the hip hop label Tommy Boy Records, where he produced for Afrika Bambaataa and his band Soul Sonic Force the single “Planet Rock”, which became a hit in the summer of 1982. The album combined elements of two Kraftwerk albums, “Trans Europe Express” and “Numbers,” which were interpolated by studio musicians and not sampled. Later that year, using unused tracks from “Planet Rock,” it would produce the single “Play at Your Own Risk” by Planet Patrol in 1982.
Also during 1982, he produced the single “Walking on Sunshine” by Rocker’s Revenge with Donny Calvin, which reached number one in the United States on September 18.
In 1983, Baker got work doing dance remixes for pop and rock hits, first with “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper and then with the songs “Dancing in the Dark” and “Born in the USA. ” of Bruce Springsteen. In 1984, Baker contributed his “Breakers’ Revenge” to the Beat Street soundtrack, which he also helped produce.
Following these successes, Baker caught the attention of the British group New Order, which asked him to produce the songs “Confusion” and “Thieves Like Us” (Baker can be seen in the video of the second one). The single of “Confusion” was a great success in the United States, which served to establish a relationship between Baker and the band that has continued for more than twenty years.
In 1984, Baker worked with Hall & amp; Oates as a mix consultant on his Big Bam Boom album, which resulted in a strong urban sound on the duo’s album. Baker co wrote the opening instrumental track, “Dance On Your Knees,” opposite Daryl Hall. He also remixed that song and three other hits from the album: “Out Of Touch,” “Method Of Modern Love” and “Possession Obsession.”
In 1985, Baker helped Bob Dylan complete his Empire Burlesque album as a mixer and arranger, and along with Little Steven Van Zandt he organized and produced the anti-apartheid theme “Sun City” by Artists United Against Apartheid. It was later recognized by the United Nations for its contribution.
In the late 1980s and later in the 1990s, Baker worked with soul star Al Green, writing and producing his international hit “The Message is Love” and the song “Leave the Guns at Home.” In 1989, he released the album Merge on A & M Records as Arthur Baker and the Backbeat Disciples. He was also the music supervisor for the films Fried Green Tomatoes and Listen Up – The Lives of Quincy Jones.
In the 1990s, following a break in production for some years, Baker moved to London and established a chain of successful bars in the city, The Elbow Rooms. He also owns a soul-food restaurant in London called “Harlem”, located in Notting Hill. He continues to work as a DJ and producer and recently produced “Part-A” for the London electro-metal group Monsta.
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