Rush Producer Rupert Hine Dead at 72

He also worked with Kevin Ayers, Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, Bob Geldof and more
Rush Producer Rupert Hine Dead at 72
Photo: @IvorsAcademy (Twitter)
Rupert Hine — an English musician, songwriter and record producer who helmed albums for RushStevie Nicks, Tina Turner, Kevin Ayers, Bob Geldof, Milla Jovovich, Underworld and many more — has died. The Ivors Academy, where Hine served as board director, confirmed his passing today. He was 72.

"Rupert played an integral part in shaping the organisation, and his passion, wisdom, inspiration and his immense kindness will be hugely missed," the Ivors Academy wrote in sharing the news on Twitter, adding that it would soon pay further tribute to its late member online.

Hine came to work with Rush in the late '80s, first taking the producer's chair for the Canadian trio's 1989 album Presto.

As late drummer Neil Peart would recall in a 1990 Presto tour book, "[Power Windows and Hold Your Fire producer Peter Collins]...told us that he felt his own career needed more variety and scope, and reluctantly bowed out of our next album. By this time we had learned how to make a record ourselves if we wanted to, but we still wanted an Objective Ear, someone whose judgment and ideas we could trust."

Peart added, "Of a few different candidates, Rupert Hine was the one we decided on. Rupert is a songwriter, singer, and keyboard player in his own right, and has made about fifteen albums himself, in addition to producing seventy-odd records, for other people, like Tina Turner, Howard Jones, and the Fixx. All this experience, combined with his ideas and enthusiasm, made Rupert's input valuable, particularly in the area of keyboard and vocal arrangements.

"We were a little bemused when we first played the songs for him, and at the end of some of them he actually seemed to be laughing! We looked at each other, eyebrows raised as if to say: 'He thinks our songs are funny?' But evidently it was a laugh of pleasure; he stayed 'til the end."

Hine's working relationship with Rush saw him team up with the band again for 1991 follow-up Roll the Bones, which found the band continuing to move away from the keyboard-driven arrangements of their '80s output in favour of more radio-ready, guitar-driven rock sounds that would come to dominate the 1990s. Like on Presto, Hine would also be credited with additional keyboard and backing vocal contributions.

Engineer Stephen W. Tayler, who worked with Hine on both those efforts with Rush, paid tribute to his late colleague on Facebook

"So sorry to have to say goodbye to my dearest and oldest friend — and partner in crime — Rupert Hine," Tayler wrote. "We shared so many wonderful journeys and adventures in the process of working with so many great artists and projects. It has been a true privilege to have been so close to this charming, kind and creative soul with the most wicked sense of humour."

Hine would begin his industry career in the early 1960s as one half of folk duo Rupert & David, ahead of launching a solo career in 1971 with Pick Up a Bone. In 1973, he released sophomore LP Unfinished Picture ahead of recording two albums with '70s band Quantum Jump. Per his bio, Hine's solo output also includes three LPs under the alias Thinkman.

Hine's work as a producer saw him pioneer electronic musical instrument interfaces with early MIDI technology. He was a founding member of Music Producers Guild, the International MIDI Association and a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in the United States.

Hine continued to record and produce until his death, with Thinkman album Fighting Apathy with Shock arriving last year.