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Keith Olsen (2020), Fleetwood Mac, Pat Benatar, Rick Springfield producer

by Kirk Fox

Keith Olsen was a rock music producer who produced hit records for many artists including Fleetwood Mac, Pat Benatar, Rick Springfield, Foreigner, and Scorpions. Olsen started as the bass player in the band the Music Machine and later became a producer at Sound City Studio in Los Angeles. Olsen produced the 1973 album “Buckingham Nicks” by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Olsen introduced the pair to Mick Fleetwood who asked them to join his band, Fleetwood Mac. Olsen produced new lineup’s first album together that featured “Rhiannon.” Olsen produced Foreigner’s “Double Vision,” Scorpions “Crazy World,” Rick Springfield’s “Working Class Dog,” and Pat Benatar’s smash hit album “Crimes of Passion.” He also produced for Ozzy Osbourne, Sammy Hagar, and Whitesnake.

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Died: Saturday, March 7, 2020 (Who else died on March 7?)

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Details of death: Age, date, and cause of death not known. The news of his passing was confirmed by social media statements from Scorpions, Rick Springfield, and David Cloverdale of Whitesnake.


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Olsen helped talk Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham into joining Fleetwood Mac: “[Mick said] ‘Keith, I’ve got good news and bad news. Bob Welch just left the band, so I guess the recording in February is off. But do you think those two kids you played for me in the studio might want to join my band? Could you go and see if they might want to try it?’ I went to Stevie and Lindsey’s apartment, the one they shared with Dashut, and spent the whole night trying to convince the two of them to give up Buckingham Nicks and join Fleetwood Mac. Neither one of them really wanted to join. But after hours, they decided to give it a couple of weeks trial.” —Fleetwoodmac.net

What they said about him: “My amazing and talented friend Keith Olsen has passed away. Such a gifted producer. And later on a wonderful guy. Ha, ha… he could be a bit of a pistol in the studio but that was part of his talent. Sticking to his guns when some whiny artist (me) would say, ‘I don’t think that works.’ He didn’t produce all those hits for all those musicians for no reason. He had a golden ear and helped so many people reach their potential. I remember playing him my demos and he picked ‘Jessie’s Girl’ out of a batch of 15 songs and said ‘This is a hit.’ I doubted him and thought there were better songs in my demo reel. Proof right there of his gift. May God give your spirit the peace and joy and the rest it deserves. You were a star maker in so many ways. God bless your memory my friend.” —Rick Springfield

“We just learned about the passing of our dear friend and producer Keith Olsen …. Keith produced many iconic albums, including our album Crazy World … Keith was a wonderful guy, and the making of Crazy World was such an inspiring journey, containing outstanding songs like ‘Wind of Change’ and ‘Send me an Angel,’ which had the Keith Olsen touch, on every single note …. our hearts and prayers go out to his family …. RIP Keith …. You live on in the Music ….” —‪Scorpions‬

Full obituary: loudwire.com

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