2003 TEC Awards Hall of Fame Inductee Eddie Kramer
That a young, classically trained South African should grow up to become one of hard rocks greatest engineers may seem a bit ironicbut such were the beginnings of Eddie Kramer. From Capetown, where he studied at the South African College of Music, Eddie moved with his family to London in 1960. After working at various entry-level studio jobs, in the mid-60s he won an engineering position at Olympic Studios, at that time the leading independent studio and a magnet for the citys rock intelligentsia.
It was at Olympic that Kramer landed the engineering job that would give him his biggest break: working with a young guitarist named Jimi Hendrix. Kramer recalls: "One day the studio manager said, Theres this Jimi Hendrix chappie with the big hair, and you do all that weird shit, that experimental jazz stuff, so hell be perfect for you. That was the beginning of my relationship with Jimi."
The relationship was so fruitful and promising that, in 1968, Kramer followed Hendrix to New York and settled in at the Record Plant, and later at Hendrixs own Electric Lady Studios. Kramer would engineer every Hendrix album until Cry of Love, and following the artists death in 1970, produced several post-humous releases, including War Heroes, The BBC Sessions, and a raft of catalog reissues in stereo and surround sound. Kramer has also played a crucial role in preserving Hendrixs recorded legacy, co-producing and engineering with the Hendrix estates Janie Hendrix and John McDermott.
Although Kramer focused mainly on Hendrix in the late 60s, he also recorded Joe Cocker, NRBQ, Vanilla Fudge and Led Zeppelin, whose members Kramer knew from their session work in London. Impressed by the bands self-titled debut, Kramer answered the call to engineer Led Zeppelin II. As he had with Hendrix, Kramer developed a bond with Led Zeppelin that yielded some of the groups most inspired and enduring work, including Houses of the Holy, Physical Graffiti, Song Remains the Same and How The West Was Won.
After a long and productive run with Zeppelin, Kramer found another group that, thanks largely to his engineering prowess, would earn a high place in the rock pantheon: Kiss. Defying the conventional wisdom that live albums are ancillary to a bands catalog, Kramer helped Kiss achieve a commercial breakthrough with the 1975 opus Kiss Alive.
Among other diverse artists and projects Kramer has produced or engineered are Carly Simon, Peter Frampton, Triumph, Buddy Guy, Santana, Twisted Sister, Humble Pie and one of the milestones in the history of rock, the recording of Woodstock.
Most recently, Kramer produced and mixed an album by blues/slide guitarist Eric Sardinas; completed tracks for an upcoming album for Sony Wonder entitled Sing a Song with Six Strings, featuring performances by Stevie Ray Vaughn, Santana, Peter Frampton, Kyle Cook, Craig Ross and Vernon Reid, among others; taped for television Les Pauls 88th birthday bash at the Iridium in New York City; and worked on The Festival Express with performances by Janis Joplin, The Band, Grateful Dead and Buddy Guy, which received critical acclaim at the Toronto Film Festival. He is currently in the studio working with Hangface, a hard rock band from Norway.
Past Hall of Fame Winners
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2006 David Hewitt
2005 Arif Mardin
2004 George Lucas & Elliot Scheiner
2003 Eddie Kramer
2002 Geoff Emerick
2001 Roy Halee
2000 Sam Phillips
1999 Tom Dowd
1998 Colin Sanders
1997 Al Schmitt
1996 Willi Studer
1995 Phil Spector
1994 Frank Zappa
1993 Rudy Van Gelder
1992 Bob Moog, Bill Porter, Phil Ramone
1991 Ray Dolby, Bill Putnam, Bruce Swedien
1990 Deane Jensen, Quincy Jones, George Massenburg
1989 Wally Heider, George Martin, Rupert Neve
1988 Bob Liftin, Les Paul