Producer, engineer, and mixer Bob Clearmountain is among the most acclaimed studio kingpins in all of contemporary pop. Influenced by his guitar-playing older brother, he began playing the bass as a teen; fascinated by recording technology from a young age, he also toyed with electronics. While in high school, Clearmountain and his band soon cut a demo at the New York City studio Media Sound, and when the group disbanded a short time later, he returned to the studio in the hopes of landing a job. Initially hired as a delivery boy, he was serving within hours as an assistant engineer on a session for Duke Ellington. Working steadily as an engineer throughout the '70s, he was well-known by the end of the decade in disco circles for his sophisticated work on hit albums from Chic and Sister Sledge; conversely, he also produced material for new wavers including the Rezillos and the Tuff Darts. As the '80s dawned, Clearmountain not only produced up-and-comers like Bryan Adams and the Church, but also engineered records for superstars like David Bowie and Roxy Music.
Hall & Oates' Big Bam Boom, as well as mixing Bruce Springsteen's landmark Born in the U.S.A. Often working in tandem with co-producer Jimmy Iovine, Clearmountain moved on to hits from INXS (Kick), Simple Minds (Once Upon a Time), and the Pretenders (Get Close). During the '90s, he also developed SessionTools, a networkable studio management database application designed to aid in all facets of the day-to-day operations of modern recording or mixing facilities. A series of CD-R collections of sampled bass, drum, and percussion sounds was also released under his name. Clearmountain's mixing/engineering work during the 2000s included Simple Minds' Black & White 050505 (2005) and Graffiti Soul (2009), Bryan Ferry's Dylanesque (2007), the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones concert film Shine a Light (2008), Bryan Adams' 11 (2008), and Alejandro Sanz's Paraiso Express (2009) -- as well as Ricky Martin's MTV Unplugged (2006), the latter of which won a Best Male Pop Vocal Album award at 2007's Latin Grammys.