Henry Lewy

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Producer and engineer Henry Lewy remains inextricably linked to the singer/songwriter renaissance of the late '60s and early '70s, helming classic folk-rock LPs for artists including Joni Mitchell, Neil…
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Clouds
Producer and engineer Henry Lewy remains inextricably linked to the singer/songwriter renaissance of the late '60s and early '70s, helming classic folk-rock LPs for artists including Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Born in Magdeburg, Germany, in 1926, Lewy immigrated to the U.S. at age 16 to escape the horrors of the Nazi regime. After launching his career as a radio announcer in the San Diego, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas markets, he studied engineering and in 1959 returned to L.A. to accept a position with Electrovoxx Studios. Lewy soon graduated to a staff engineering gig with Liberty Records, where he initially worked on Ross Bagdasarian's Alvin & the Chipmunks sessions. After a stint at the renowned Gold Star Studios, where he cut demos on legends-in-waiting like Jackie DeShannon and Leon Russell, Lewy tenured under engineering guru Bones Howe at United & Western Studios, working on sessions headlined by the Mamas & the Papas as well as Johnny Rivers. In 1967, he joined A&M Records, where he experienced his greatest commercial success to date, engineering hits by Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 (the Top Ten smash "Fool on the Hill") and Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart (the 1968 bubblegum classic "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite"). While working on Crosby, Stills & Nash's landmark self-titled debut, Lewy met Joni Mitchell, and with her 1969 sophomore effort, Clouds, inaugurated a collaboration that extended across more than a dozen LPs. With Mitchell's third album, 1970's Ladies of the Canyon, Lewy earned his first production credit, but it's his skills as an engineer that nevertheless command the most attention -- projects like Mitchell's 1974 masterpiece Court and Spark and Neil Young's 1972 watershed Harvest boast a sonic clarity and warmth that remain unsurpassed despite subsequent advances in recording technology. After working on subsequent projects for Leonard Cohen (1979's Recent Songs), Van Morrison (1980's Common One) and Jennifer Warnes (the 1986 Cohen covers disc Famous Blue Raincoat), Lewy quietly eased into retirement. He died April 8, 2006, in Prescott, AZ, at the age of 79.