Birth and Early Career as an Engineer:
Jimmy Iovine was born March 11, 1953 in Brooklyn, New York. He began his career in the music industry as a recording engineer and was hired on at the famed Record Plant recording studio in New York City in 1973. He worked with a range of major artists including John Lennon. In 1975 Jimmy Iovine served as engineer for Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run album.
Jimmy Iovine's Production Breakthrough:
By the late 1970s Jimmy Iovine began to pursue an interest in production. His major breakthrough came as producer of Patti Smith's Easter album in 1978. It included the hit single "Because the Night." In 1979 he produced Damn the Torpedoes, the first of three successful albums with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. In 1981 Jimmy Iovine produced Stevie Nicks' solo debut album Bella Donna which went to #1. Their relationship was both personal and professional continuing through Stevie Nicks' next album The Wild Heart. By the mid 1980s, Jimmy Iovine was one of the most respected pop producers in the music business.
Top Production Credits:
- Patti Smith - Easter - 1978
- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Damn the Torpedoes - 1979
- Dire Straits - Making Movies - 1980
- Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna - 1981
- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Hard Promises - 1981
- Bob Seger - The Distance - 1982
- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Long After Dark - 1982
- Stevie Nicks - The Wild Heart - 1983
- U2 - Under a Blood Red Sky - 1983
In 1990 Jimmy Iovine climbed another rung in the music business to executive when he began Interscope Records with Ted Field, heir to the Marshall Field department store fortune. They contracted with Atlantic Records for distribution and the label was almost instantly successful. Hits with new artists such as Gerardo and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch marked Interscope's first year in business. Jimmy Iovine also moved into the world of hip hop by investing money to distribute Death Row Records releases. That helped launch the careers of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Jimmy Iovine is given credit for being the person that passed Eminem's demo tape to Dr. Dre who then signed the young rapper to a contract.
Despite criticism for their involvement with gangsta rap, Interscope continued to prosper and today is one of the most successful labels in the pop music industry. It is the flagship record label of Universal's Interscope group that consists of Interscope, A&M, and Geffen among many smaller units. Artists recording under the group include the Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, and Lady Gaga.
In 2010 Jimmy Iovine's career in the music industry took another interesting turn. Fox Television announced that he would be serving as the in-house mentor for American Idol's tenth season. In addition, the top finishing contestants would be signing their recording contracts with the Interscope, A&M, and Geffen group.