Trevor Horn

Trevor Horn

Infobox musical artist

Name = Trevor Horn
|Img_capt = Trevor Horn (right) with fellow Buggle Geoff Downes
Img_size =
Background = non_performing_personnel
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1949|7|15
Died =
Origin = Houghton-le-Spring, England
Instrument =
Genre = Synth-pop, Soul, Ballads, Rock and Roll, Electronica, Progressive rock
Occupation = Record producer
Years_active =
Label = ZTT Records
Associated_acts = Buggles Art of Noise Yes The Producers
Current_members =
Past_members =

Trevor Charles Horn (born 15 July 1949) is an English pop music record producer, songwriter and musician. He was born in Houghton-le-Spring, England.

Horn has produced commercially successful songs and albums for numerous British and international artists. He won a Grammy Award for co-writing "Kiss from a Rose" with Seal. As a musician, he has had chart success with his bands Buggles, Yes and Art of Noise. He also owns a significant stake in the recording company ZTT Records, Sarm Studios and a music publishing company, Perfect Songs. The three are combined under the corporate umbrella of SPZ.

Horn was regarded for much of the 1980s as the best producer in Britain, evidenced by a note that the band China Crisis made on their 1985 album "Flaunt the Imperfection" (produced by Walter Becker of Steely Dan)—they credited their producer as "Walter (Trevor Who?) Becker". There are many such casual references to Horn in British culture.

Professional life


Horn began his professional career as a backing musician in the late 1970s for disco star Tina Charles. One of the other members of her backing band was keyboard player Geoffrey Downes. Horn and Downes formed The Buggles in 1978, in which Horn played bass, guitar and percussion as well as providing vocals. However, just prior to the The Buggles, Horn signed witn Sonet records and recorded two singles under the moniker of 'The Big A'. One single "Caribbean Air Control" was released in the United Kingdom, but failed to chart. Around this time Horn, Downes and Bruce Woolley (Tina Charles' guitarist) co-wrote "Video Killed the Radio Star", which was released by The Buggles in 1979 reaching No 1 in the UK charts. The song also appeared on the group's first album, "The Age of Plastic", which was released in 1980. Later in the same year Horn and Downes were invited to join the rock group Yes. Horn became the lead vocalist, replacing Jon Anderson. He recorded one album with the band, "Drama", on which he also plays bass on one track. However, he left after seven months, at the beginning of 1981, to concentrate on his production work. He also completed a second Buggles album, "Adventures in Modern Recording", mainly alone after a falling out with Geoff Downes. Horn did work with Yes again, not as a band member, but (co-)producing their next two studio albums, including the noted 1983 "comeback" album "90125", and also went on to be a founding member of the Art of Noise. He is known for performing on albums he produces. His latest band is The Producers, in which Horn plays with various musicians/producers, namely Lol Creme, producer Steve Lipson and singer/songwriter Chris Braide. The band performed its first gig at the Camden Barfly in November 2006.


Horn's first production success came with the pop band Dollar in 1981 and 1982. He then went on to produce "The Lexicon of Love" (1982) by ABC, which reached no. 1 in the UK album charts, and has since been acclaimed as one of the 100 best albums of all time. It was during the "Lexicon" sessions that Horn first assembled the production "team" that would characterize and define the sound of a Trevor Horn production in the 1980s: Anne Dudley on keyboards and arrangements, Gary Langan (later Stephen Lipson) as chief engineer, J. J. Jeczalik on the lion's share of programming for the Fairlight CMI (which was still a novelty but would prove integral to Horn's production technique), background vocalist Tessa Webb, percussionist Luis Jardim and others. Originally brought in to flesh-out keyboard parts, Dudley was soon co-writing with the group and scoring the album's much-noted orchestrations. She (and the others) would soon be in great demand due to their contributions to Horn's successes. He achieved his greatest commercial success in 1984, firstly with the Liverpudlian band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. He was approached by Bob Geldof to produce the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?", but he was unavailable. Instead, he gave use of his studio, SARM West in London, free of charge to the project for 24 hours, which Geldof accepted, assigning Midge Ure as the producer instead. So, on November 25, 1984, the song was recorded and mixed. Horn did however produce the B-side featuring messages from artists who had and had not made the recording (including David Bowie, Annie Lennox from Eurythmics, Paul McCartney, all members of Big Country and Holly Johnson from Frankie Goes to Hollywood) was also recorded over the same backing track as the A-side.

Other artists he has produced include Cher, Grace Jones, Seal, Propaganda, Tina Turner, Lisa Stansfield, Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, Pet Shop Boys, Simple Minds, Eros Ramazzotti, Mike Oldfield, Marc Almond, Charlotte Church, t.A.T.u, LeAnn Rimes, and Belle & Sebastian. Horn received a Grammy Award in 1996 for Seal's second album.

On November 11, 2004, a Prince's Trust charity concert celebrating Horn's 25 years as a record producer took place at Wembley Arena. Performers at the show included the Buggles, Bruce Woolley, ABC, Art of Noise, Belle & Sebastian, Lisa Stansfield, Pet Shop Boys, Seal, Dollar, Propaganda, t.A.T.u., Yes, Grace Jones and Frankie Goes to Hollywood (with Ryan Molloy replacing original vocalist Holly Johnson). Simple Minds were scheduled to perform but did not. A double CD compilation titled "Produced by Trevor Horn" was released in conjunction with the concert. An edited version of the concert has been broadcast on television in several countries under the title "25 Years Of Pop: Produced by Trevor Horn", and a DVD release of the full concert is available at [] .

On 22 May 2006, the Pet Shop Boys released their album "Fundamental" which was produced by Horn. The album reached number five in the UK charts. In the same month, he featured in a Pet Shop Boys concert specially recorded for BBC Radio 2. Following the critical success of the event Horn has produced an album version, "Concrete", released 23 October 2006. Horn also produced Captain's debut album, "This is Hazelville", released late 2006.


Trevor Horn's songwriting credits date back to 1979 when he co-wrote a song for Dusty Springfield, "Baby Blue" with Bruce Woolley and Geoff Downes.

All the Buggles' hits — including Video Killed The Radio Star, Living In The Plastic Age, "Elstree" and I Am A Camera — were co-written by Horn and Downes and, occasionally, Bruce Woolley. Horn also co-wrote all of the 1980 Yes album, [ [Drama] . On his return to the band (as producer) in 1983 he contributed to their biggest hit, Owner of a Lonely Heart and the dance hit Leave It.

For Dollar’s "The Dollar Album" (1982), Horn wrote a love story across four songs: "Hand Held in Black and White" (the meeting), "Mirror Mirror" (the loving), "Give Me Back My Heart" (the break-up) and "Videotheque" (the postscript). All four singles broke the top twenty, and two, "Mirror Mirror" and "Give Me Back My Heart", reached number four on the UK singles chart.

During 1982 and 1983, Horn worked with Malcolm McLaren and Anne Dudley, writing numerous worldwide hits including "Buffalo Gals", "Double Dutch", "Duck for the Oyster" and the "Duck Rock" album of world beats and new hip-hop styles.

In 1984, he co-wrote several classic hits with the Art of Noise including "Close (To The Edit)", "Beat Box" and "Moments in Love". The next year he co-wrote "Slave to the Rhythm". This was originally intended as Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s second single, but was instead given to Grace Jones. Horn and his studio team reworked and reinterpreted it, jazz style, into six separate songs to form the "Slave to the Rhythm" album.

In the 1990s, Horn wrote two songs for solo female singers. "Riding Into Blue (Cowboy Song)" was recorded by Inge a/k/a German artist Inga Humpe (Neonbabies, 2raumwohnung) and "Docklands" which was recorded by Betsy Cook. He also co-wrote two songs with Terry Reid for his 1991 album, "The Driver" and "The Shape of Things to Come" for Cher's 1995 album "It’s a Man’s World".

For yet another tangential career progression, Horn co-wrote the theme song "Everybody Up" to the TV programme "The Glam Metal Detectives", a comedy sketch show which appeared on BBC2 in 1995. This was another collaboration with Lol Creme, a member of the Art of Noise, 10cc and Godley and Creme.

Horn’s songwriting can be heard on numerous film soundtracks. In 1992, Horn collaborated with composer Hans Zimmer to produce the score for the movie "Toys" starring Robin Williams, which included interpretations by Tori Amos, Pat Metheny and Thomas Dolby.

In the 2000s, Horn provided additional production on three international hits for t.A.T.u, "All the Things She Said", "Not Gonna Get Us", and "Clowns (Can You See Me Now)". He also wrote "Pass the Flame" (the official 2004 Olympic song) and co-wrote the title track from Lisa Stansfield’s 2004 album "The Moment".

Music publishing

In 1982, Horn founded the musical publishing company Perfect Songs together with his wife, Jill Sinclair. This coincided with their then recent acquisition of Basing Street Studios, which also housed the fledgling publishing company. Perfect Songs was able to harness and develop the up and coming young artists working in the recording studio.

The first to be signed were Frankie Goes to Hollywood, followed by the Art of Noise and Propaganda. These first few signings to the company were instrumental in establishing the company ethos of "innovation and artiste development, taking risks and signing acts far into the left field". [cite web| last =| first =| authorlink =| coauthors =| title =International Catalogue: Perfect Songs| work =| publisher =Mushroom Music Publishing| date =2004| url =| format =HTML| doi =| accessdate =2007-10-02] Successful songwriters he has signed since include Seal, Ian Brown, Gabrielle, Chris Braide, Shane MacGowan, Marsha Ambrosius, Alistair Griffin, and Paul Simm (writer of the hit "Overload" for Sugababes).


During the 1980s, Trevor Horn wore large "nerd" style glasses, which were then in fashion, when he performed. He stopped wearing such glasses in the 1990s, but still wears hard-framed glasses whenever he performs. One of his jokes, beyond wearing the large glasses, was that he was "a camera," consistent with his hits, "Video Killed the Radio Star" and "I Am A Camera". Today he wears more modern, smaller glasses with a thick frame.

In his music videos with Buggles, he frequently wore a silver suit, and in his live performances wore a white sports jacket.


* BRIT Award 1983 - Best British Producer
* BRIT Award 1985 - Best British Producer
* BRIT Award 1992 - Best British Producer
* Grammy Award 1995 - Record Of The Year (as producer of "Kiss From A Rose")

Personal life

Horn married former mathematics teacher and business partner Jill Sinclair in 1980. They have four children, a son Aaron (born 1984) and three daughters. Their main home is a £12 million mansion in Checkendon near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire(which they have recently moved out of.); while other property includes in St John's Wood, North London, and the United States.

Horn has one brother — Kenneth, formerly a lighting cameraman then director of TV programmes such as Brookside and now a producer for ITV — and two sisters who live in Canada.

Horn is not Jewish, but as his wife and children are, he attends synagogue. [cite news| last =Montague| first =A| coauthors =| title =The band with 200 hits behind them| work =Art Review| pages =| language =| publisher ="The Jewish Chronicle"| date =2007-08-31| url =| accessdate =2007-10-02]

On 25 June 2006, while at home from Goldsmiths College, University of London, Aaron was practising with his air rifle, not realising his mother was close by. A .22 pellet accidentally hit Jill in the neck, severing an artery. [cite news| last =| first =| coauthors =| title =Son shoots record boss by mistake| work =News| pages =| language =| publisher =BBC| date =2006-06-26| url =| accessdate =2007-10-02] Sinclair has been in a deep coma since and, as of September 2007, it is not clear whether she will recover. [cite news| last =Wells| first =E| coauthors =| title =The Hit Factory| work =| pages =| language =| publisher =The Times| date =2007-09-30| url =| accessdate =2007-10-02]


Further reading

*cite news| last =Wells| first =E| coauthors =| title =The Hit Factory| work =| pages =| language =| publisher =The Times| date =2007-09-30| url =| accessdate =2007-10-02

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ ZTT Records official website]
* [ Official page] at MySpace
* [ Trevor Horn video interview at SARM Studios]
* [,,58913,00.html/ Buggles Audio Clips]
* [ Perfect Songs]
* [ Trevor Horn discography]
* [ Zang Tuum Tumb and all that]
* [ And We Danced - Trevor Horn Profile]
*imdb name|id=0394924|name=Trevor Horn
* [ Where Are They Now? Trevor Horn news]

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