Bill Porter – Recording Engineer

Bill Porter

Bill Porter

I have been reading a three-part series by John Rumble on Bill Porter, the engineer for a number of the Everly’s recordings [“Behind the Board: Talking with Studio Engineer Bill Porter,” Journal of Country Music, vol 18., no. 1 (1996): 27-40; vol. 18, no. 2 (1996): 20-30; vol. 19, no. 1 (1997): 24-31]. Since those articles are not available online, I will suggest Michael Fremer’s interview with Porter to get a sense of the expertise and value that he brought to the recording sessions. You can also see pictures of Porter with the Everlys. Porter first worked with the Everlys on “(Til) I Kissed You” at the RCA studio in 1959, shortly after he joined the studio. He describes that session as rather stressful, the result of new equipment, incorrect levels, exhaustion, and fiery personalities. In spite of his inauspicious beginning as a recording engineer, he went on to work on hundreds of top pop and country hits, including Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley. As a faculty member at various institutions, he was responsible for designing a college-level curriculum in audio engineering.

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2 Responses to “Bill Porter – Recording Engineer”

  1. Rick Maze Says:

    I am trying to locate Bill Porter to authenticate a piano that was once in Sam Phillips studio in Memphis, and later moved to Monument Records in Nashville.
    Bill and I were good friends, but over the years I’ve lost contact. I own that old
    piano that was used on several million sellers including “Oh Pretty Woman”
    Any assistance you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Rick Maze
    (205) 956-6328

    • musicalmutterings Says:

      I don’t really know where he is, but you might try contacting Webster University in Missouri where he is listed as Emeritus Special Lecturer (see this link).

      How cool is that to own that piano! I just relistened to “Oh, Pretty Woman” and I can hear it moving in around the instruments and Roy’s voice. Now I’ll be on the lookout (so to speak) for it in other recordings. BTW, what kind of piano is it?

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