Norman Sheffield, one of the founders of the renowned Trident Recording Studios, based in London’s Soho between 1968 and 1981, has died aged 74. Sheffield had been suffering from throat cancer, which had returned after a remission period of some years, it has been reported. He slipped into a coma and died on Friday 20 June.
Industry veteran Malcolm Toft, a former sound engineer at Trident, has allowed PSNEurope to reproduce this tribute to Sheffield (from his Ocean Audio website):
"It was very sad to hear of the death last Friday of Norman Sheffield.
Norman and his brother Barry founded Trident in 1968 and I was privileged to be the first recording engineer they employed when I joined them in April of that year.
Trident was the first 8-track recording studio in Europe and, as a consequence, attracted many famous artists to use their advanced facilities. Among the most famous were the Beatles who recorded Hey Jude in July of that year. David Bowie recorded Space Oddity in the same year.
Other artists include Elton John (recorded his first album), James Taylor (first album), Lou Reed (Walk on the Wildside), T. Rex, Carly Simon, Genesis, Queen, Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Kiss, Yes, Peter Gabriel; the list goes on and on.
Legendary producer Tony Visconti used Trident studios to produce many of his early hits, as did Elton John's producer Gus Dudgeon.
Norman was also involved in the discovery of [rock legends] Queen, who were originally managed by Trident. They recorded their early single The Seven Seas of Rhye at the studios. Producer Roy Thomas Baker was a house engineer at Trident before he went on to produce Bohemian Rhapsody. Another engineer/producer who achieved great success after working at Trident was Ken Scott.
One of the reasons behind the success of Trident was the great atmosphere at the studios and the relaxed working environment.
Norman leaves an incredible legacy and his contribution to the recording world will always be remembered.”
Last year, Trident Publishing released Sheffield’s autobiography Life on Two Legs, in which he broke his silence for the first time in 40 years about “what really went on behind closed doors” at the studio. (Queen's volatile frontman Freddie Mercury famously dedicated the opening track on the A Night at the Opera album to Norman: Death on Two Legs.)