Jimmy Iovine was among the most notable pop producers of the 1980s, helming hit records for artists including Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, and U2 before becoming a high-powered executive through his enormously successful Interscope Records label. Born in Brooklyn, NY, on March 11, 1953, he began his career as an engineer, and by 1973 was on staff at the renowned New York studio the Record Plant, where in the years to follow he worked on classic LPs including Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run and Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell. After beginning his producing career with the obscure New Jersey band Flame, Iovine's breakthrough came via his work on the 1978 Patti Smith album Easter, which launched her Top 40 hit Because the Night. A year later he teamed with Tom Petty for the excellent Damn the Torpedos, beginning an extended collaboration which also included the singer's 1981 effort Hard Promises and 1982's Long After Dark.

By the early '80s, Iovine was among rock's most accomplished producers, with a string of hits including Dire Straits' Making Movies, Bob Seger's The Distance, Stevie Nicks' The Wild Heart, and U2's live Under a Blood Red Sky. From there he moved on to Lone Justice's acclaimed self-titled 1985 debut, as well as Simple Minds' smash Once Upon a Time. The Pretenders' Get Close followed a year later. High-profile projects including Patti Smith's 1988 comeback record, Dream of Life, and U2's Rattle and Hum helped bring the decade to a close, but in 1990 Iovine began distancing himself from production after founding Interscope. The company quickly emerged among the hottest in the music industry, scoring with hits from Primus, Marky Mark the Funky Bunch, and Gerardo. Although it later courted controversy through its connection with the infamous gangsta rap label Death Row, Interscope was unquestionably among the most successful companies of the '90s, its roster also including hitmakers like No Doubt, Bush, the Wallflowers, and Blackstreet. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

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