The producer's role in pop music is almost equal parts coach, supervisor, and recording designer. The producer is indispensable for turning out a memorable pop hit. These are 10 of the most successful pop music producers of the year 2006.
Timbaland soared back to the ranks of top pop music producers this year as the man in charge for most of the recording of both Nelly Furtado's comeback album Loose and Justin Timberlake's smash FutureSex / LoveSounds. As the year ended, the Pussycat Dolls' "Wait a Minute" brought Timbaland into the pop top 40 once again.
The Norwegian production duo known as Stargate moved to New York in 2005, and this year they soared to the top ranks of pop/r&b producers. Early in the year they helped Ne-Yo take off with his hit "So Sick" and then delivered the ballad smash "Unfaithful" for Rihanna. Stargate closed out the year as the producers of Beyonce's top 10 pop hit "Irreplaceable."
3. Rick Rubin
Rick Rubin, the legendary producer known as a pioneer in rap production and the man in charge of recording Johnny Cash's powerful final series of albums, had a good year in mainstream pop music in 2006. He produced Red Hot Chili Peppers' #1 hit album Stadium Arcadium and the Dixie Chicks' powerful Taking the Long Way. Another of Rick Rubin's successes during the year is the stripped down ballad "(Another Song) All Over Again" by Justin Timberlake.
4. Linda Perry
It took some time but in 2006 Linda Perry's protege James Blunt broke into the pop spotlight. Late in the summer Christina Aguilera debuted at #1 on the pop albums chart with Back to Basics, a double album including one disc produced by Linda Perry. One of the key tracks on this half of the album is the stunning ballad "Hurt."
5. Scott Storch
6. Rob Cavallo
Rob Cavallo's year began slowly with a major role in Jewel's ill-fated Goodbye Alice in Wonderland project, but My Chemical Romance's acclaimed The Black Parade proved once again that Cavallo is one of the top rock producers in the business.
will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas seemed nearly inescapable this year as both a guest artist and producer. His biggest success came as executive producer of The Dutchess, the smash debut album by fellow Black Eyed Pea Fergie.
8. Billy Mann
Billy Mann was not the producer of a large number of high profile projects during 2006, but as the man behind the recording of both Pink's powerful "Stupid Girls" and Teddy Geiger's breakthrough hit "For You I Will (Confidence)", he earned his way into the list of top producers of the year.
Jermaine Dupri's work on girlfriend Janet Jackson's album 20 Y.O. was one of the pop disappointments of the year, but Dupri should not be counted out, and he also produced successful work from Dem Franchize Boyz and the comeback of r&b vocalist Monica.
10. Swizz Beatz
Swizz Beatz kicked off the year as the power behind Beyonce's #1 pop hit "Check On It." Later in the year he was one of the key producers for Beyonce's new album B'Day including the tracks "Get Me Bodied" and "Ring the Alarm." Swizz Beatz is also one of the key producers on new albums by the Game and JoJo.