Mickie Most was born Michael Hayes in Aldershot, England. He was an English record producer, with a string of hit singles with acts such as The Animals, Herman's Hermits, The Nashville Teens, Donovan, Lulu, Suzi Quatro, Hot Chocolate, Arrows, Racey, and the Jeff Beck Group, often issued on his own RAK Records label.
In 1959 Mickie married South African born Christina Fusco, whom he had met in London. The newlyweds settled in Johannesburg, and Mickie formed the group Mickie Most and the Playboys.
Returning to Britain in 1962, Mickie found himself in the middle of an R&B revolution. Looking for a group to produce, he discovered the Animals in a Newcastle club. He produced their first single, “Baby, Let Me Take You Home,” which reached #21 on the UK charts. The Animals’ follow up single, “House of the Rising Sun,” became a worldwide smash that catapulted the group to stardom and earned Mickie credibility.
Most's productions were backed by London based session musicians including Big Jim Sullivan and Jimmy Page on guitar, John Paul Jones on bass guitar and arrangements, Nicky Hopkins on piano, and Bobby Graham on drums. He produced Jeff Beck's hits "Love is Blue" and "Hi Ho Silver Lining" and the Jeff Beck Group albums "Truth" and "Beck-Ola". He teamed the Beck group with Donovan for the single "Barabajagal". By 1967, after commercial and critical failure of The Yardbirds album "Little Games", he decided to steer clear of rock groups. The Yardbirds objected to his insistence that every song be cut to three minutes and that albums were an afterthought following the singles.
Despite these setbacks, Most set up his own production office at 155 Oxford Street, sharing it with his business partner Peter Grant. It was through Most's association that Grant was asked to manage The Yardbirds. In 1968, Most and Grant set up RAK Management, but Grant's involvement with The Yardbirds, which soon evolved into Led Zeppelin, meant Most had control in late 1969. RAK Records and RAK Music Publishing were launched in 1969.
With RAK Records, Most's success continued with folk singer Julie Felix's hit "El Condor Pasa". Felix was the first artist signed to the label. Most then produced Mary Hopkin’s 1970 hit "Temma Harbour" for Apple Records, followed by her Eurovision Song Contest entry, "Knock, Knock Who's There?". In 1970, Most approached Suzi Quatro for a recording contract after seeing her on stage at a Detroit dance hall with the band Cradle (which also had Quatro's sisters Arlene, Patti, and Nancy as members), while on a production assignment in Chicago. Quatro was among a growing roster of artists signed to RAK Records which included Alexis Korner's CCS, Arrows, Smokie (with Chris Norman) (originally spelt Smokey), Hot Chocolate, Angie Miller, Chris Spedding, and Heavy Metal Kids. Hiring the songwriting production team of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, RAK scored several British number 1 singles with Suzi Quatro ("Can the Can" and "Devil Gate Drive") and Mud ("Tiger Feet", "Lonely This Christmas" and "Oh Boy").
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