Legendary Producer Bill Szymczyk Turns 80

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Bill Szymczyk at his home studio in his “cabin” in Little Switzerland, North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains

It’s “The Long Run,” for sure. Legendary producer Bill Szymczyk turned 80 today (Feb. 13, 2023).

Joe Walsh. Rodney Dangerfield. B.B. King. Eagles. The Who. Bob Seger. The J. Geils Band. You can’t go anywhere without hearing the work of the uber-producer. From the cafes of Paris to the rain forests of Costa Rica, his work permeates the globe.

Szymczyk’s exquisite taste and eclectic interests make him an indispensable part of rock history. He produced all the most important Eagles albums from 1974 on, plus The Who’s Face Dances, an underrated-at-the-time album that’s now a classic. He won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year for the single “Hotel California.”

Add in The James Gang, Seger, Walsh, Elvin Bishop, Edgar Winter and dozens more. He revived King’s career with the brilliant idea to add strings on “The Thrill is Gone.”

And don’t forget Johnny Winter and Rick Derringer.

Oops, add in Santana and The Outlaws as well.

If you see him, ask him about his encounters with JFK and Rodney Dangerfield (separately, of course). It’s not a bumbling “right place, right time” Forrest Gump journey; it’s a life of drive, purpose, vision and great taste.

Hotel California alone sold 26 million, with The Long Run doing a “paltry” 8 million in the U.S. alone.

Szymczyk’s work was the soundtrack of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. His work continues to this day, producing labors of love by his son Michael Szymczyk, Brian Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe, and multiple albums by the recently departed Michael Stanley.

Happy birthday, Bill!

Read our exclusive interview with the legendary producer on the making of Hotel California and with Szymczyk and various Eagles members for The Long Run.

Watch a behind-the-scenes clip, with Szymczyk, of the recording of “I Can’t Tell You Why”

Best Classic Bands Staff
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  1. kel varnsen
    #1 kel varnsen 13 February, 2023, 02:13

    happy birthday mr. szymczyk! he produced many great albums. i’m a big who fan, but who says face dances is a classic? no they don’t…

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  2. Batchman
    #2 Batchman 13 February, 2023, 13:15

    He was referred to by some as “the vowelless producer.”

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  3. Grasshopper
    #3 Grasshopper 13 February, 2023, 19:41

    Happy Birthday, Bill! Maybe we’ll run into each other here in NC. Would love to talk about your accomplishments

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  4. Troy
    #4 Troy 13 February, 2023, 23:01

    Crispy – thanks for the loyalty you showed to Michael Stanley over his career.

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  5. Catherine
    #5 Catherine 16 February, 2023, 21:02

    Would love to have a conversation with you as Michael spoke of you often with me… some great stories as well! ❤️❤️ He cherished your brotherhood and loved your visits to record with him. -Catherine

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