TREVOR HORN: ‘I had delusions the label would be a hub of creativity’

The man behind Video Killed the Radio Star on 30 years of ZTT records and why running an unsuccessful label would be easier.

"I used to think I'd quite fancy producing Bob Dylan, because I was such a big fan in 1965-66, but I don't think Bob was a Buggles fan, so he probably wouldn't have it," laughs Trevor Horn, this year's recipient of the Outstanding Contribution award from the Music Producers Guild, which has previously gone to such music industry luminaries as Chris Blackwell and Sir George Martin.

Horn produced much of the soundtrack to the 1980s, including albums by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Seal as well as sonically groundbreaking records such as Grace Jones' Slave to the Rhythm and Yes's Owner of a Lonely Heart. His band The Buggles' song Video Killed the Radio Star became pretty much synonymous with MTV, although first released nearly two years before it launched. Inspired by Kraftwerk's Man Machine, they wanted the record to sound "machine-like". "But we couldn't afford a sequencer, so we played it all live, imitating one," he recalls.

"The MTV thing was a pure fluke. Bruce (Woolley, co-writer of the song) was worried about the title – at the time there was an English New Wave band called Radio Stars and another act called Snips and the Video King – but I told him not to ...

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