Bruce Swedien, Grammy-winning engineer of ‘Thriller,’ dies

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bruce Swedien, a five-time Grammy-winning audio engineer who collaborated with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, has died. He was 86.

His daughter, musician Roberta Swedien, said her father died Nov. 16 in Gainesville, Florida, after battling an illness and complications from surgery. The New York Times reported that he tested positive for the coronavirus but was asymptomatic.

“He had a long life full of love, great music, big boats and a beautiful marriage,” Roberta Swedien posted on Facebook. “We will celebrate that life. He was loved by everyone.”

Bruce Swedien had more than 65 years of music industry experience and was best known for his collaborations on Jackson’s hit albums “Thriller” and “Off the Wall.” He also had recording sessions with some of music’s biggest names including Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Duke Ellington and Diana Ross.

Swedien, the son of two musicians, landed a position at Universal Studios where he was mentored by legendary engineer, Bill Putnam. His career rose to new heights when he teamed up with Jones to mix the soundtrack “The Wiz” before both collaborated on Jackson’s 1979 debut album “Off the Wall.”

Swedien worked as an engineer on three more albums for Jackson including “Thriller,” “Bad” and “Dangerous.” He won Grammys for those albums in the best engineered album, non-classical category then two more for Jones’ albums “Q’s Jook Joint” and “Back on the Block.”

Jones posted on social media that he was “devastated” about the news of Swedien’s death, calling him a sonic genius.

Swedien is survived by his wife, Bea, of 67 years and two daughters. He was preceded in death by his son.

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