Rick Rubin’s Eight Favorite Albums of All Time


Rick Rubin: the guru. The master of the def. Hand-guided spiritual producer who has produced some of the most legendary albums of all time.

Various artists like Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, and Slayer have all found success under the tutelage of Rubin’s production technique, and although bands like Slipknot and The Black Crowes have been less enthusiastic about his involvement ( or have noticed a lack of it) on their vinyl records, it’s hard to dispute its hit rate.

In an interview with the guitar company Gibson in 2008, Rubin took the time to list eight of his all-time favorite albums. A fan of classic rock and a shameless metalhead, Rubin’s personal tastes would both challenge and inform his subsequent production career.

What the listed albums illustrate is a palace in verse that favors intensity and experimentation over anything else. These are the eight albums that Rubin called his favorites. First off, the 1968 Beatles smash is known as The white album.

Whenever you look at the discography of Rubin’s production work, the most striking thing about it is how disparate some artists are in it. How could a guy who produced LL Cool J, Slayer and Johnny Cash all be on the same label? His favoritism towards the Beatles’ most eclectic release helps reveal his mindset and values ​​during production.

“This one might not be as polished as some of the other Beatles albums, but I love how personal it is and the fact that you can hear each guy’s individual styles. four distinct people than one group. I love to see their individual personalities shine through in the music and in the game. “

Rubin often uses terminology and references unrelated to music to describe his own style of production. His cultural contribution, which includes literature, cinema and art, is as intrinsic to his way of working as all musical influences. This can be shown in the way he describes Neil Young’s heroic record. After the gold rush.

“I like the natural feel of it,” he shares. “Like the Beatles” White album, it almost has a documentary feel. It feels like you’re capturing a moment in time and not trying to be perfect. He’s not trying to be bright or pretty. It contains real and moving truth. “

Rubin has a bit of everything in his arsenal and now we’ve come to the metalhead part of our list. Rubin was a guy who loved aggression, heaviness, and rock music filled with chords of immediate power. It’s part of his core composition, and he often brings out the more rock and roll aspects of the artists he works with. “This album is really the beginning of riff-rock, which I really like. It looks huge and scary, and slow and muddy, and has a sort of otherworldly feel that moves me.

One of Rubin’s most notable production trends is to eliminate the excess and overproduction of an artist’s sound and leave only the rudimentary elements. This penchant for direct impact was probably informed by Rubin’s love for AC / DC, especially the latest album directed by Bon Scott. Highway to Hell. Rubin’s remarks on the album, like the band themselves, are simple and precise: “A timeless and natural rock album. That’s all it takes to make a classic record.

Rubin’s relationship with rap legends Run-DMC is one of the most legendary couples in popular music. The group’s desire to bring their hard-hitting hip hop to the masses merged with Rubin’s desire to blend rock elements to make hip hop more marketable. Rubin’s admiration for the band’s debut LP led to his partnership with them in the mid-1980s. “This album is very simple,” he recalls, “it probably influenced my hip-hop production more than anything. something else.”

When Rubin’s productions are criticized, critics directly involved often point to Rubin’s lack of sophistication or knowledge of traditional musicality. He’s a guy who prioritizes feelings, mood, and intention over harmony, melody, or traditional arrangement. This alternative approach to music shines through in Gang of Four’s description. Entertainment! “I love the rarity of it and the emotion behind it. Looks like something really big is happening on this album.

Rubin’s image in the ’80s was that of a metalhead, but his sensibility was also influenced by the legendary New York punk scene. Frequently sporting a leather jacket and a no-bullshit demeanor, Rubin’s favoritism for intensity has been matched in punk rock. It is therefore not surprising that Ramones had a major impact on him. Rubin’s thoughts are simple and powerful: “This one is also kind of a moment document. It’s raw, powerful, and it’s unlike anything else.

When it comes to de-evolution, Rubin’s desire to strip everything of its most stripped-down elements and most basic structures likely found some conceptual influence among the punks of Akron Devo’s art. Rubin doesn’t actually comment on Devo’s debut album during the interview. It simply lists it as a favorite. Maybe that’s because the album doesn’t need to be presented: thirty minutes of uncompromising intellectual aggression and awkwardness that no doubt left an indelible impression on Rubin.

There are a lot of things that are going to become one of the greatest producers of the modern age. Judging from this list, one thing that is a staple is a wonderful taste in music.

Rick Rubin’s 8 Favorite Albums of All Time:

  • The Beatles – The Beatles (The White Album)
  • Neil Young – After the gold rush
  • Black Sabbath – Black sabbath
  • AC DC – Highway to Hell
  • Run-DMC – Run-DMC
  • Strip of four – Entertainment!
  • The Ramones – Ramones
  • Devo – Q: Are we not men? A: We are Devo!


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