Trevor Horn PhotoPop-producer Trevor Horn was born on July 15, 1949 in Hertfordshire, England. His father, a milk technology engineer by day played as a double bass player in a local orchestra. It didn't take long until the young Trevor started playing bass himself. Trevor played bass in various school bands.

In the early nineteen seventies, Trevor and his brother discovered the newly emerging progressive rock band Yes. They quickly became astute fans, discussing variations in sound and lyrics on live and studio recordings of the songs. Over the next few years, Trevor attended several concerts, particularly enjoying 'Nous Sommes Des Soleil' on the Tales From Topographic Oceans tour.

Trevor decided to pursue producing on a suggestion from a friend. He had never considered his early days of arranging instrumental tracks for friends' bands to be actual producing. The first few years on his own, were rough as Trevor struggled to get into the music industry.

His first big break came when he was selected to be the bass player in the seventies disco band headed by Tina Charles. He also briefly served as a backing musician for glam star Gary Glitter. He was fired from that after having spent the night in jail after punching a police officer in a bar while intoxicated. (no charges resulted).

When he wasn't doing session work, Trevor served as a third-string producer. This involved producing several punk bands with rather gruesome names, such as the 'Unwashed' and 'Unwanted'. In that spirit, Trevor wanted to name his group choose themost repulsive sounding name that came to mind - in this case, 'The Buggles'.

In 1979, The Buggles rocketed to the top of the charts with a cute single 'Video Killed The Radio Star'. The idea for the song was derived from Horn's readings of science fiction author Robert Heinlein. In one particular novel, the lead character vacuumed sound from the radio. The Buggles wrote a song upon that theme, envisioning that music video would overwhelm the scene. Now twenty years after the song, their prophecy has indeed been correct.

Although they had been their fans since the early seventies, Trevor and Geoff joined Yes following a major lineup shuffle in May.1980. In an interview to the Relayer fanzine the new lead singer explained his surprise over his new role.

"My initial reaction was one of horror. I had been a Yes fan for so long. It was such a wild idea, but Chris [Squire] was so persuasive."
The recording and production of Drama was rushed- it was finished in just three months. During this time, Trevor married to Jill Sinclair, sister of one of his Buggles-era session musicians, John Sinclair. Instead of taking the customary lengthy honeymoon which starts most new marriages, Horn pressed on with the album work.
"I spent my wedding night in the recording studio. (laughter) I got married and two hours later, I was back in the studio. We had originally decided that for our honeymoon, we were going to spend two weeks in Miami Beach. Gradually it became ten days in Miami, a week in Miami, six days in Miami. (sigh) It ended up as three days in Bournemoth and Steve [Howe] came along, we had a good time actually."

Pressed by Chris Squire to sing like his predecessor, Jon Anderson, Trevor faltered under the continued strain. The prolonged vocal cord strain led to serious throat infection towards the end of the U.S. leg of the tour. Nevertheless, he insisted on pressing on with the tour, though by the time the shows in England rolled around, Horn literally was unable to sing. This led to dreadful audience reactions ranging from en masse walkouts in the middle of the concerts to bottles being thrown onto the stage. The nightly humiliation took it's toll, even leaving fellow Buggle Geoff Downes on the verge of tears after some particularly rough audience receptions towards Horn.

These unpleasant concert experiences convinced Horn to quit live performances all together, as he quit Yes in January, 1981. Years later, he reflected on his time as Yes front man as 'one of those few things you do in life where you knew in advance that you were wrong'. Determined to continue evolving in his musical endeavors, Trevor continued on to complete the second Buggles studio album, 'Adventures in Modern Recording'.

Around 1982, Trevor formed a production company with wife Jill Sinclair and Gary Langan in what became known as 'Zang Tuum Tumb' studios. The name refers to the sound of cannons. Located in what had been a delapidated department store in East London, this has become one of the hottest recording and production facilities in pop music.

With continued success, this enterprise has expanded over the years,growing in size to form a recording studio known as 'SARM'. Today, Trevor Horn is regarded as one of the best producers in the music industry. He is well-known for his extremely dilgent work-ethic, as well as a persistence to find 'the perfect sound' for a song. In 1995, Trevor was awarded a Grammy for best producer on Seal's second self-titled album. Horn has also worked with the likes of Tina Turner and Sting. In the future, a new album from the newly reunited Art of Noise and Genesis are rumored to be in the works. ~ Phillip Ewing, 80s Retro Music