Mickie Most (real name Michael Peter Hayes) was born in Aldershot, England, in June 1938.
He formed The Most Brothers with Alex Murray in 1958 and when he emigrated briefly to South Africa in the early 60s – to be with his girlfriend (and future wife) Christina – he enjoyed 11 consecutive local #1’s as Mickie Most and The Playboys with covers of songs such as Johnny B Goode and Rave On.
By 1962 he was back in England and had turned to record production where he found his real talent.
His most notable success was The Animals‘ House Of The Rising Sun although he produced all the original Animals recordings as well as Lulu, Herman’s Hermits, The Jeff Beck Group, all of Donovan‘s earlier records, and Terry Reid’s first album.
His uncanny ability to pick a hit song made him the most successful record producer in Britain during the 60s and 70s and he was widely regarded as the British version of Phil Spector.
Most went on to form his own label called RAK, which was to produce many of the finest British records of the 1970s and became a powerhouse of the glam rock scene. He also became a celebrity judge on the TV talent show New Faces.
By the mid-Seventies, RAK was averaging one hit for every two or three singles released – with a roster including Mud, Suzi Quatro, Smokie and Arrows – the most successful label, independent or otherwise, of the era.
His in-house writing and production team of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn worked on many of these hits.
After Kim Wilde gave him one of his final successes on RAK he sold the label and its extensive back catalogue to EMI in 1983 in a multi-million-pound deal that made Most one of the richest men in Britain.
Although he took great pleasure in spending his money (lavish home furnishings for his eight-bedroom “pop palace” at Totteridge in north London were his particular weakness) Most was an anomaly in the world of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll: he was happily married for more than 40 years and eschewed the lifestyle usually associated with his profession.
In later years, his ventures back into music were infrequent, although he did produce Johnny Hates Jazz, whose line-up included his son, Calvin Hayes.
Most died at home on 30 May 2003 of mesothelioma (cancer caused by exposure to asbestos), aged 64. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium in North London.