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Jerry Ragovoy was the guy who really taught me how to be a producer, and there were also many times when I found myself kind of taking over if I felt a producer had lost control over — or didn't know how to control — a session.A lot of people who hired me, hired me for that reason — 'If we get in trouble, Bill will know what to do.' So I was aiming that way, and when ABC actually offered me the job, I went for it.
Since Szymczyk was among the top five people in this regard, he was assigned to SONAR school, where he also acquired about four years of electronics training in just six months.
When we recorded it the third time, that was the charm.” A native of Muskegon, Michigan, Szymczyk took an unconventional route to arrive at his chosen profession, starting out not as a musical performer or technician but as a SONAR (SOund Navigation And Ranging) operator for the US Navy.
"I guess I learned by osmosis,” he now remarks, while explaining how a crystal radio he assembled from a kit sparked his interest in blues and R&B.
So during the course of recording On The Border, they had a falling‑out, and the band discarded all of the songs except 'Best Of My Love' — which was a good idea — and 'You Never Cry Like a Love', before I did the rest.
"During our initial meeting, Henley asked me how many mics I'd use on a set of drums and I told him eight or nine. Then, when Glenn Frey wanted to know how long he could work on his guitar solos, I told him, 'As long as it takes.' They wanted to rock and that's what I did, so it was a good marriage.” On The Border was released in 1974, and that same year Szymczyk produced and engineered the Eagles' next, even more successful album, One Of These Nights, released in 1975.
Hotel California saw the Eagles abandon their country origins in favour of full-blown rock & roll, and made them one of the biggest selling groups in the world. Ostensibly, a song about a luxury hotel visit that crosses over to the dark side, but really an allegory about American materialism and excess — as well as the decadent LA lifestyle that many musicians experienced during the mid‑'70s — 'Hotel California' was a pivotal track for the Eagles.
At a time when punk was starting to explode and album‑oriented rock was all the rage, the song not only topped the US singles chart and scooped the Grammy for 'Record Of The Year'; it also established the theme of — and lent its name to — the Eagles' autobiographical, multi‑platinum LP that, courtesy of guitarist Bernie Leadon's replacement by Joe Walsh, saw the band make the transition from country rock to mainstream rock while achieving their greatest critical and commercial success."I think I ordered it from a comic book — five bucks to build your own radio.The crystal itself was indiscriminately tuned to whatever channel it was on, and at first nothing came through.So, when he opened the Hit Factory, I was his first engineer.” After a year at the Hit Factory, Bill Szymczyk then jumped at the opportunity to join ABC Records as a producer, even though this entailed taking a huge pay cut."I went from about 00 a week to 0 a week,” he says, "so I packed up the family and moved from the Upper East Side of Manhattan out to Queens.However, when school started that August, I was already well ensconced in the music business.