. A producer of a varied mix of classic (or at least interesting) recordings in his brief life, from some of Cecil Taylor
's first post-conservatory
LPs to Soft Machine
's first album. Wilson originally did just jazz albums,
with John Coltrane
's Coltrane Time
, and some 50s
Taylor disques, and more mainstream fare among his credits, but at CBS
' Columbia Records, he replaced John Hammond
as Bob Dylan
's producer, and became a co-founder, of sorts, of folk-rock
, on those bluesy early-electric Dylan recordings; the partnership ended with "Like a Rolling Stone
" in 1965
. During his latter days at Columbia, he tinkered with an acoustic voices-and-guitar recording by Simon and Garfunkel
bing a rock rhythm section
; that version of "The Sounds of Silence
" went on to be S&G's first hit record.
Verve Records, looking to branch out from jazz into the nascent rock LP
market, signed Wilson in 1966, as a producer and A&R man. There he produced Freak Out and Absolutely Free, the first two LPs by The Mothers, and helped clean up after Andy Warhol, who "produced" The Velvet Underground and Nico, another great debut; Wilson received full producer's credits for "Sunday Morning" and the next album, White Light / White Heat, and later worked on Nico's Chelsea Girl. Also at MGM/Verve, he produced a lost 60s classic, Dylan alumnus Al Kooper's "No Time Like the Right Time", for The Blues Project, and helped remake Eric Burdon after Burdon's post-Animals move to California.
Wilson died at the age of 47 of a heart attack. He appears in The Mothers'
Uncle Meat film, and in D.A. Pennebaker's Don't Look Back
Dylan-umentary. His control-room laugh can be heard during a botched take of "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream"; both the snafu and the laugh are included on
Bringing it All Back Home.