Don Was

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One of America’s most prolific and successful pop and rock producers; also an occasional recording artist.
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Artist Biography by

What Up, Dog?
First emerging as one-half of the satiric R&B duo Was (Not Was), Don Was later rose to become one of the most prolific and sought-after producers in contemporary music. Born Donald Fagenson in Detroit on September 13, 1952, he began his musical career as a session bassist before teaming with longtime friend David Weiss to form Was (Not Was), a project originally spotlighting luminaries from such Motor City acts as Parliament-Funkadelic, the MC5 and Brownsville Station; in the years to follow, the group's revolving-door guest lineup also featured everyone from Leonard Cohen and Iggy Pop to Mel Tormé and Frank Sinatra Jr., although R&B vocalists Sir Harry Bowens and Sweet Pea Atkinson were featured on their two biggest hits, What Up, Dog?'s "Walk the Dinosaur" and "Spy in the House of Love." Fagenson began his career as a producer in 1979, working on occasional projects over the course of the decade to follow. He first gained wide notice for his work on Bonnie Raitt's revitalizing 1989 effort Nick of Time. In its wake he became one of the most in-demand producers in the business, working with everyone from Bob Dylan to Paula Abdul to the Rolling Stones to Willie Nelson; in 1994, Fagenson won a Grammy as Producer of the Year.