John Anthony was one of the busiest producers of the progressive rock era, playing a key role in shaping the records of such diverse groups as Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator, Peter Hammill, and Lindisfarne. During the mid-'60s, Anthony was a serious soul enthusiast whose early professional music credits were as a deejay at London clubs such as the Pheasantry and the Speakeasy. By 1968, he was alternating American soul with the early sounds of Pink Floyd and other psychedelic pioneers. He subsequently started singing with a Windsor-based band called Hogsnort Rupert, but it was his friendship with the members of Yes at the outset of their career that gave Anthony his start as a producer -- he was asked to tag along on one of the fledgling group's early recording sessions, and ended up organizing the session and later mixing the tapes, which impressed all concerned. He subsequently went to work as a promotion man for the London office of Mercury Records, but he couldn't be kept away from the recording studio. Anthony chanced upon a new signing, Van Der Graaf Generator, and got permission to produce an album with the pioneering progressive rock band -- the results were not only musically successful, but proved an essential professional credit for Anthony, so impressing [RoviLink="MN"]Charisma
Tony Stratton-Smith that he hired Anthony to produce the first record by Rare Bird. The resulting single, "Sympathy," ended up selling a million-and-a-half copies and established Anthony's credits as a producer with a golden touch. Anthony became an established part of Charisma Records' operation at the turn of the '60s into the '70s, working with such renowned groups as Genesis (on Trespass and Nursery Cryme), Lindisfarne during their prime commercial years, and Peter Hammill. His string of successful acts during the mid-'70s expanded to include Al Stewart, Ace, Roxy Music, and Queen (whose first album he produced). Later in the decade, he was working with the Tubes and Arrogance, and he also produced Paul Carrack. His close association with classic progressive rock was recalled vividly through his presence on Rhino Records' Supernatural Fairy Tales box from the mid-'90s.