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David Richards RIP

Best known to Queen fans as the producer of their last four albums, David Richards' career was varied and distinguished.  

Born into a musical family in London in 1956, his father Bobby Richards worked as an orchestrator and arranger on various movie and stage productions, most notably with John Barry.  

David began piano lessons aged three, and by five he had already won a prize playing to an audience of over three hundred.  He also became a championship-winning ice-skater and, whilst preparing the soundtracks for his skating routines, discovered a talent for editing music on audio-tape with a razor-blade and sticky-tape.

As a boy of eight, David witnessed his father working on a movie soundtrack in a big London studio and later recalled: "There was a huge sound, all these knobs and guys with smart clothes, very cool, behind the console.  I realised that this was what I wanted to do".

David secured his first job in 1973 at Chappell Studios in London where he worked as assistant to chief engineer John Timperley recording many of the greats including Bing Crosby.  He said of the time: "I learned to respect the musicians and to never interrupt them while they were searching for an idea".

In 1975 John Timperley relocated to Montreux, Switzerland, as chief engineer of the brand-new state-of-the-art Mountain Studios within the recently re-built casino building, and asked David to accompany him.  Within two years John had moved on to other things and David became chief engineer at the age of 21.

By this time David had married Collette McCready and had two children together.

During his time working at Mountain Studios, David encountered a huge range of artists plus hundreds more coming through the Montreux Jazz Festival.  All this music, recording and mixing provided an enormous wealth of experience and, with his natural musical talent and his calm, discreet and efficient manner, it was unsurprising he was soon in demand as a record producer racking up countless gold and platinum discs and production credits for Queen, David Bowie, Chris Rea, Iggy Pop and Duran Duran to name a few.  He won a Juno award in 1978 for Best Jazz Recording and at one point in 1994 David was Billboard Magazine's Producer Of The Month with three Number One records.  

David eventually bought the studio from Queen in 1993 and continued to work there until 2002 when he relocated Mountain Studios to the village of Attalens, not far from Montreux.  Needless to say, his production work took him all over the world for months at a time but he always returned to his home near Montreux and Mountain Studios.

After his first marriage ended David had a longstanding relationship with the cellist Nathalie Manser, producing a number of CDs together.  Latterly he was married to Vivian Wong.

David Richards passed away on the morning of Friday 20th December 2013 after a long illness.  He will be remembered by many as a good friend.  He was funny and generous and great company, a talented and capable man who had an instinctive "magic touch" in the recording studio.  His creative productions will be enjoyed for years to come.

He is survived by his daughter Wendy and son Christopher.

(Photo: Brian May, Roger Taylor, Claude Nobs, Freddie Mercury, David Richards and John Deacon)

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26 Comments

David Richards RIP

Marco

I keep a wonderful memory of you. It was the 5th of January, 1998, exactly 16 years ago! There were 4 of us, young friends coming to Montreux from Italy for a visit in the name of our beloved Queen. You allowed us to visit the Studios with your kindness and cordiality. Such memory will never fade away. Thanks for it and for everything done with Queen.

Marco, Alessandro, Laura, Omar

Therecanbeonlyone

Is that you John,in the last posting? The grammar seems fine,so I suppose it could be....I am sure that you read these from time to time,and Mr Richards certainly deserved some great comments.Thanks for letting the Dr and Rog carrying on,and wisely staying away........

Therecanbeonlyone

Is that you John,in the last posting? The grammar seems fine,so I suppose it could be....I am sure that you read these from time to time,and Mr Richards certainly deserved some great comments.Thanks for letting the Dr and Rog carrying on,and wisely staying away........

John

Words flee from my mouth but my heart keeps them in deep.
Richard, both we were young and I witnessed the beginning and now the end of your life in Montreux. First Colette and now you, on the departure to heaven leaving us behind, I have said goodbye to you this day. One man, one goal, but it hurts to leave a friend taking some of my memories with you. Man with love and caring, always giving a chance to those who were in need, never looking back, never judging.

You were a friend to me, with your belated wife, making me feel a part of the family, never asking the wrong questions especially when I was wrong.

I was there for your last journey and Richard, it hurts like hell to see go that way but then you can be proud of your children, Wendy and Christopher, they gave you the same stage exit as Colette, standing ovation from angels above and friends below.

Farewell David and keep a place for me up there.

With love and caring,

John

Mark Leen

Sonnet for David Richards

Flying through December Skies
The Mountain seems so clear
There's a mist out on the water
Yet all the Stars are here

Some hearts are made in Heaven
Such Hearts will brightly burn
no more Swiss time, For one more line
To send it or return

If I could but hear your voice once more
As I walk through your open door
That smile that tells me, I'm welcome back again
Its how I felt, every time, i heard you call my name..

You loved, you listened and you lived
Oooooo that sound that only you could give
Its true you fashioned so many people's dreams
As you made life's music sublime behind the platinum scenes

So Let us thank you
Let us love you
And Let us pray to God on High
That he will hold you, always hold you
there's no more tears to cry

Be still the beat of that giving heart,
which made Music Feel so good
But for all that Jazz, its like Someone has
Been oft misunderstood

See the lovers glide on frozen lake
To Ziggy or Iggies second take
There's a hand clenched up on the shoreline
As your spirit soars the sky
From the World you Rocked a Million times
We sadly say Goodbye.


Mark Leen

Alser

Very sad news. RIP Dave. Your work, particularly with Queen, will live go on. Thank you.

jean landry

thank you for the nice moments spent with you and Vivian at your place in 2009...a moment that me and Mel will always remember in our hearts...our sympathy to Vivian , your kids and all of your relatives....My Dad is probably having a chat in heaven with you for sure !!!! A kind man like you will be missed but never forgotten !!!!

Patrick

I will miss you, Dave. The news of your passing comes like a shock to me...I remember the days in Montreux, as well as those spent in Romania, planning the FMFE. It's a sad, sad day for me. May your star shine bright and inspire us all...

DIEZART -art contemporain à Clarens-

Que les Angels au ciel le gardent pour l'éternité Maria

Jeff

Dear David, I never met you but we've been in touch by emails last year.
You had the kindness for taking on your precious time to listen to my songs.
I will never forget it.
I thank you once more for your opened mind.
I'm so fan of your "touch" and talent.
I'm so shoked by the news today. How can it be ? You were so young .
Toutes mes condoleances à votre famille.
Rest In Peace .
Kind regards

LouLou

R.I.P Dave
get theese angels dancing in the sky, sweet thoughts for you...

Paul Kinder

Sorry to hear the sad news. Rest in peace Dave. Gone but not forgotten :(

Nathalie Manser

This is a message for my beloved David and his family.
I shared his life during 7 years and did wonderful music together. Nobody managed to record my cello as him, his magical touch, magical ears....magical man.
Today, I just can say that he has been my biggest, greatest love ever, he will stay in my heart...and in the soul of my cello for ever.
Keep making great music with Angels, my dearest David...with much Love, Nathalie Manser

Michael

David, you blazed such a wonderful trail through this world. You gave so much touching so many, through your amazing gifts, your talent and your heart. You helped set / open an environment to bring through so many high calibre works.

Michel Fehr

RIP Dave ! Que de souvenirs, mes siestes au Mountain entre 2 prises...la fondue au chalet et surtout FARENHEIT ! See you Mr. Lazzy Pils ;-)

Alexis Kristyan Fletcher

In 1999 David Richards who then owned Mountain Studios allowed his Assistant Engineer to have a personal and private viewing of the studios with my mum. It was one of the best days of my life and I remember writing to him to thank him. May he now rest in peace what a visionary engineer and producer of which I wonder how many of the Queen tracks would have turned out the way they did if it were not for him???!!!

Steevi

Rock in Peace David... You made my drums sound like thunder from the mountain! It was an honour working with you. Your skill and passion for what you did was always unrivalled. A true legend...
Steevi x

Arnold Tempel

My Dear David, will be missing you very much, your genuinity, loyalty, friendship, fantastic memories, rest in peace, love, Arnold & family, Montreux.

Kacio

Rest in peace David [*]

Queen Fan Club Mexico www.queenenmexico.com

RIP David Richards. Our hearts go out to his family, colleagues and friends.

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