Rothchild shaped The Doors unique sound as a producer of the band
The legendary Rock music producer Paul A. Rothchild was born on this day in 1935
Paul Allen Rothchild was born on April 18, 1935, in New York and grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey. Rothchild studied classical music conducting and began his career on the Boston folk scene, recording and releasing recordings by local folk artists. His career drastically changed when he became a house producer for Jac Holzman’s Elektra Records label in 1963; he worked extensively with noted recording engineers Bruce Botnick, John Haeny, Fritz Richmond, and William Gazecki. During the mid-1960’s, Paul started to produce Rock bands, applying production techniques that would develop in what would be named Acid Rock. In 1964 Rothchild discovered Paul Butterfield and his band, that marked the beginning of his career as one of the most respected and requested Rock producers during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Paul A. Rothchild was then living in Los Angeles and absorbing the local L.A music scene, as well as keeping an eye on emerging trends and talented artists. His house on Lookout Mountain in Laurel Canyon was inhabited by many of the future musical superstars of the 1960’s and 1970’s. He produced the original song demo of Crosby, Stills, & Nash that landed the group a recording contract during that period. He also co-produced with Jac Holtzman the Psychedelic Rock band Love second album “Da Capo”, at the time, Love was the biggest band on the L.A music scene and The Doors’ Jim Morrison favorite. When Love’s Arthur Lee, who was also a fan of The Doors, then an unsigned club band, suggested Jac Holtzman to check them, Paul came also into the scene. The Doors had been rejected by several record labels due to their sound being considered “weird” and not commercial enough, but Holtzman, who had an eye more for talent than commercial success, signed the band to Elektra and Rothchild became the producer of all their albums, except for one. The Doors became one of the biggest Rock bands in music history and Rothchild, in part, responsible for being able to translate their musical vision and ideas into the recording. In 1970, he produced Janis Joplin’s last solo studio album “Pearl”, towards the conclusion of the recording sessions Joplin died of a heroin overdose. “Pearl” includes Joplin’s classics “Cry Baby” and “Me And Bobby McGee” among others. In 1971, Rothchild decided to quit producing The Doors during their last studio album “L.A Woman”. The band’s new sound and direction didn’t please him and he surprisingly suggests them to produce it themselves. Rothchild’s engineer Bruce Botnick, who had engineered all The Doors albums with Rothchild co-produced “L.A Woman” with The Doors and the album, turned to be one of the band’s finest, remaining to this day a Rock classic.
In 1991 he produced the soundtrack to Oliver Stone’s film “The Doors”, about the group and appeared in a small role in the film. In the movie, he is portrayed by actor Michael Wincott. Throughout his career, Paul A. Rothchild produced albums and singles for acts such as John Sebastian, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Tom Paxton, Fred Neil, Tom Rush, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Tim Buckley, Clear Light, and Rhinoceros. He originated the concept “LEDO” ( Leadered / Equalized / Dolby / Original). This format insured the final tape would represent Rothchild’s sonic vision for future generations.In 1990, Rothchild was diagnosed with lung cancer. Although he was planning a huge 60th birthday party, he passed away on March 30, 1995, at the age of 59.
Watch footage of Paul A. Rothchild on studio giving directions to The Doors while they record “Wild Child” in 1968
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