Legendary Recording Engineer Roger Nichols, KE4BDA (SK)
Roger Nichols, KE4BDA, of Jupiter, Florida, passed away on April 9 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 66. Nichols was best known for his work with Steely Dan, whose albums were noted for their pristine sonic clarity. He collected three Grammy Awards -- including one for Album of the Year -- for his work on the duo’s 2000 album Two Against Nature. He also received the Grammy for Best Engineered Recording for Steely Dan’s albums Aja in 1977, Gaucho in 1981 and their film theme FM (No Static at All) in 1978. Nichols collected another Grammy for his board work on John Denver’s All Aboard!, named Best Children's Album for 1997.
Born in Oakland, Nichols grew up in Cucamonga, Calif., where he recorded early projects by his high school chum Frank Zappa. He attended Oregon State University where he studied nuclear physics. After working at the San Onofre nuclear plant for three years, he branched into professional recording in the late 1960s; Kenny Rogers & the First Edition was an early client
He began his long association with Steely Dan in 1971 when he cut Donald Fagen and Walter Becker’s first writing demos. His work with the group spanned engineering their first album Can’t Buy a Thrill in 1972, to their most recent Everything Must Go in 2003. He also engineered most of Fagen’s and Becker’s solo projects.
Nichols also worked in the studio with Diana Ross, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Roy Orbison, the Beach Boys, Bela Fleck, Stevie Wonder, Cass Elliot, Rosanne Cash, Rickie Lee Jones, Kenny Loggins and Mark Knopfler, among many others. In later years he did mastering and remix work.
Funeral arrangements are pending. -- Thanks to Roger Nichols’ website and Edward Bunch, N8FTM, for the information