Trevor Horn, C.B.E.
Trevor Charles Horn was born on 15th July 1949 in Durham, England. He became a bass player at school and was a member of a youth orchestra at Johnston Grammar playing in a selection of school bands after being inspired by his father who played double bass with the Joe Clark Band.

After leaving school Trevor moved to Leicester and began working as a professional musician performing in the local ballrooms while building a home studio. Using his equipment, he began to show a talent for constructing records. This ability would lead him on his way to becoming a musical director & record producer, starting out producing jingles and unsuccessful records including work with some punk bands. His first claim to fame was being musical director for Tina Charles as well as being her bass player on her number one hit I Love To Love (But My Baby Loves To Dance) and her the follow up singles
Teaming up with her keyboard player Geoffrey Downes and guitarist Bruce Woolley the trio formed The Buggles in 1977. They started off writing and recording rough demos of songs, in between Trevor producing for Chromium, The Killers, Lips as well as Gardner & Boult. After the Buggles were turned down by various record labels in 1978 their big break came in 1979 when Chris Blackwell signed them to Island Records. By this stage the Buggles were just Trevor and Downes after Wolley had left to pursue his solo career. The two men recorded their first and only number one hit single, Video Killed The Radio Star. After that they continued to come up with songs for their debut album The Age Of Plastic, released in early 1980. The Buggles were on a sharp decline and the project was abandoned when the two men joined the group Yes. Trevor became their new vocalist on their album Drama followed up by a tour before he and Downes left to record a second Buggles album. During the making of the album Downes left to form the group Asia. Trevor continued with the album as a solo project with collaborations from other musicians. After the album Adventures In Modern Recording failed to chart, and on the advice of his wife & manager Jill Sinclair, Trevor concentrated on becoming a serious record producer rather than a performer.

Trevor began to produce for the likes of Dollar, Spandau Ballet, Philip Jap, before making a real impact as a producer on ABC’s The Lexicon Of Love. By this stage he had gained a production team including Anne Dudley, Louis Jardim, JJ Jeczalik, Bob Kraushaar, Steve Lipson, Andy Richards and his right hand man, engineer Gary Langan. The next big project for the producer was Malcolm McLaren’s influential Duck Rock album before returning to Yes as a producer.

During this time Trevor was setting up his record label, ZTT with his wife and ex-NME journalist Paul Morley. He & his wife had already set up a publishing company called Perfect Songs Ltd. in 1982 along with his own production company Trevor Horn Productions. A label was the next logical step for his activities, although they had no acts to sign until Langan played Trevor a cassette of what he & Jeczalik had came up with. Trevor soon became part of the Art of Noise along with Dudley & Morley and launched ZTT with that group.

The second act signed to ZTT was Frankie Goes To Hollywood and by producing them made Trevor a household name. From 1983 onwards whatever Trevor produced became a hit earning him no less than three BPI Brit Awards for Best British Producer (1983, 1985, 1992). His work with that band resulted in three number one hit singles: Relax; Two Tribes and The Power Of Love along with a number one album Welcome To The Pleasure Dome all in 1984. In that same year he also produced for ZTT’s third act, Propaganda as well as letting Midge Ure & Bob Geldof use his SARM recording studio (that he had purchased from Chris Blackwell) free of charge to record the infamous charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid with Trevor mixing the 12” version.
In 1985 Trevor went onto produce Godley & Creme’s Cry and the Grace Jones album Slave To The Rhythm. After 18 months of chart success with his Zang Tuum Tumb label, the three main acts began to leave. Art of Noise were first in 1985, followed by Propaganda in 1986 and then Frankie Goes To Hollywood a year later. This left the pioneering label without a big name act and ZTT’s chart domination was over.

Trevor bounced back producing Pet Shop Boys, Simple Minds and Paul McCartney before signing new acts to his label including 808 State and Seal where ZTT started to have big hits once again. The collaboration with Trevor & Seal went onto become a long term partnership and saw the producer win a 1995 Grammy Award for Record Producer Of The Year for the hit Kiss From A Rose.

Throughout the 1990s ZTT signed more diverse acts to it’s repertoire including MC Tunes, Shades of Rhythm along with Trevor producing other signed acts including Shane McGowan, Lomax, Tom Jones and the late Kirsty MacColl to name but a few. As the decade rolled on he would continue producing non-ZTT acts including Rod Stewart, Mike Oldfield, Marc Almond, Betsy Cook, Tina Turner, Richard Marx, Gary Barlow and Genesis as well as scoring the music for the film Toys with composer Hans Zimmer.

In the final couple of years of that decade Trevor began working with Dudley & Morley, the result was partially reformed Art of Noise with the involvement of Lol Creme. The result was the concept album The Seduction Of Claude Debussy based upon the music of his favourite composer. The album was released in 1999 and was followed by a tour in 1999/2000 before disbanding.
The new millennium has seen Trevor work with Lisa Stansfield, t.A.T.u., Belle & Sebastian, Captain, Leann Rimes, Faith Hill and Elton John. In 2004 Trevor took to the stage with the Buggles, Art of Noise and various acts he had produced since 1979 ending with a reformed Frankie Goes To Hollywood for the Prince’s Trust Concert – Produced By Trevor Horn in the presence of H.R.H. Prince Charles. To tie-in with the event ZTT released a double CD entitled Produced By Trevor Horn featuring 25 years of hits as a record producer. The concert was released on DVD as Slaves To The Rhythm in 2008 featuring behind the scenes footage and interviews. 2006 saw Trevor contribute towards the making of the Art of Noise archive box setAnd What Have You Done With My Body, God? Later that year saw the producer form yet another band, this time with Creme, Steve Lipson, Chris Braide and Ash Soan called The Producers. This new group has played several live shows over the years and released their debut singleBarking Up The Wrong Tree in August 2007 before releasing their long awaited album Made In Basing Street in 2012 issued on Trevor's new ZTT offshoot label The Last Label.
2008 saw the 25th anniversary of ZTT and the release a box set containing the best of the label’s back catalogue that was released in October of that year. The last quarter of a century has seen a wide range of other artists signed to the label including: Act, Andrew Poppy, Adamski’s Thing, David’s Daughters, David Jordan, Glenn Gregory & Claudia Brucken, All Saints, Honky, Lisa Stansfield, Lee Griffiths, Raging Speedhorn, The Frames, The Flood and The Marbles. Earlier in 2008 Trevor and Langan recorded material for Escala’s debut album before playing with ABC at the Royal Albert Hall performing their classic album The Lexicon Of Love in 2009.

In 2010 Trevor was awarded the PRS for Music Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award at the 55th Ivor Novello Awards, following on from his Sound Fellowship Award at the third annual APRS Sound Fellowship Lunch in 2009 before being appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to the music industry.
A special concert was staged for a one-off reformation of the Buggles in October 2011 following on from 2010's charity gig with special guests Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Alison Moyet, Richard O' Brien and former Propaganda vocalist Claudia Brücken that raised money for the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability. Trevor continues to play live gigs with The Producers as well as taking time out from his busy production schedule to give lectures. In late 2013, Trevor reunited with Jeczalik when they took part in the making of a new television pilot that discussed how they, along with Lipson and Andy Richards created the infamous number one single, Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
With over 34 years of producing hits behind him, Trevor remains one of the world's biggest and most sort after producers with his skills in demand.
© Copyright K.M. Whitehouse 2008, 2013

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