Joe Hardy, Producer and Engineer For ZZ Top, Steve Earle & More, Dies at 66

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Producer, engineer and musician Joe Hardy, who labored on many ZZ Top albums from 1985’s After Burner to taking part in bass on guitarist Billy Gibbon’s 2018 launch The Big Bad Blues, died at dwelling Tuesday (Feb. 12) after a short sickness. He was 66. 

The information was initially reported by Memphis’ information web site Commercial Appeal, a part of USA Today, and confirmed by Hardy’s spouse, Trish.

Since starting his profession within the late 70s, Hardy went on to work with a variety of artists, from engineering and mixing The Replacements’ Pleased To Meet Me and Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road to producing The Georgia Satellites’ Another Chance and Steve Earle and The Dukes’ The Hard Way.

For a spell, he labored with a number of Canadian acts, Colin James, Jeff Healey, Kim Mitchell, and as producer of Tom Cochrane’s U.S. solo breakthrough, Mad Mad World, that includes the Billboard high 10 single “Life Is A Highway.”

Ardent’s lengthy historical past with ZZ Top started with engineering work on 1985’s After Burner, and continued with 1994’s Antennae, 1996’s Rhythmeen, 1999’s XXX,  2003’s Mescalero,.and  2012’s La Futura. He additionally co-produced Gibbons’ solo debut, Perfectamundo,

“My pal Joe Hardy performed an enormous function in our lives," Gibbons informed Commercial Appeal. "He was a real innovator in a area the place many simply did it 'by the e book.' He threw away 'the e book' and wrote his personal. The outcome took our audio signature and nearly all the pieces he labored on to new sonic frontiers.

"When we met in Memphis greater than 4 a long time in the past there was an instantaneous connection and the connection was cherished till he left us. Joe can be missed however, in a really actual sense, we’ll be capable of all the time hear him.”

Born in Kentucky, Ardent relocated to Memphis in 1972 when he recorded at Ardent Studios as a member of the band The Voice of Cheese. He then selected a profession behind the board as an alternative, figuring out of Ardent as one in all their in-house engineers/producers. 

“Joe was such an vital a part of the lifetime of Ardent,” stated Ardent government Jody Stephens informed Commercial Appeal. “My job in these days was to wave the flag for the studio. It was all the time a pleasure to take a seat down in entrance of A&R guys in New York or Los Angeles and play one thing Joe had recorded. People knew we have been doing stuff in Memphis that was pretty much as good as something being recorded on this planet. And Joe’s work stood out.”  

Ardent moved to Texas, dwelling of ZZ Top, at first of the millennium.  He final labored with them on 2016’s stay album, Greatest Hits from Around the World, which he helped combine.