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Arif Mardin, a Smooth Music Visionary

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Arif Mardin, a Smooth Music Visionary

Arif Mardin, a Smooth Music Visionary

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

In a legendarily fickle business where hits and hit makers come and go like the seasons, Arif Mardin was a rarity. A legendary producer who kept churning out chart-topping songs for more than four decades. The streak began in 1966 with his first hit, Good Lovin' by The Young Rascals.

(Soundbite of Good Lovin')

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Producer Arif Mardin died yesterday. He was suffering from pancreatic cancer. Mardin was born in Turkey and came to the U.S. to study music. With Atlantic Records and later EMI, his career was distinguished for its longevity, variety and its success, even in its later years.

(Soundbite of various Mardin-produced songs)

NORRIS: I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Mardin this past December. I was curious about the stories behind his recording sessions. Such as the time he took British soul queen Dusty Springfield to Memphis.

Mr. ARIF MARDIN (Music Producer): Dusty Springfield was intimidated by these wonderful musicians. Oh, how can I sing with these people? I mean, they played for Elvis. They played for Wilson Pickett and I'm here. I'm used to a big orchestra, strings and woodwinds, so that I can sing live and there's no one, just five people playing. So she was intimidated. So we, actually, we picked the right keys for the songs. She would mumble, sing a little bit, but not do a, even a guide vocal. So we came to New York with the tracks and she sang all the vocals in New York.

(Soundbite of Son of Preacher Man)

NORRIS: When I spoke with Mardin, he was working on his memoirs. He must've had a treasure trove of memories in his collection, not to mention a mountain of gold and platinum albums and 12 Grammys.

Arif Mardin never finished his memoir. He died yesterday at the age of 74.

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