Bruce Swedien’s Thank You Book

Sources: In The Studio With Michael Jackson – Brad Sundberg

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The book.

Many of you know that Bruce Swedien broke his hip many weeks ago. Bruce is loved the world over by musicians and music lovers alike, so I wanted to give people the opportunity to write a short “thank you” – in their own words, handwriting, language, drawings, photos – whatever they wanted. The letters and photos came piling in from all over the world, and the project started getting a bit bigger than first imagined.

Enter my friend Andy Healy.

Andy graciously offered to organize and publish a beautiful book filled with these notes and letters of love for Bruce. Yesterday I finally had the chance to drive up and deliver it to him.

Guys – it was huge, huge hit. He loved it and poured over the notes, drawings and photos – it really, really meant a lot to him.

He asked me very specifically to thank each of you who contributed in some way, and to Andy in particular for doing such a great job. Those thanks are echo’d 100% by me.

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We spent all day (literally), listening to music in his studio, swapping stories (I had forgotten that Slash tore his pants during the recording of D.S. in New York – I need to do a bit of homework on that), it was like we were both 30 years younger, back in the studio. As we played song after song (he would choose one, then I would choose one, or something like that), we would remember something or focus on a particular sound or vocal.

When it was my turn, I told Bruce that there was one song that I used to listen to in high school (before I met Bruce and Michael) that I used to study. The mix is so perfectly balanced and there is so much air and space in that it always pulled me in. I have listened to this mix hundreds and hundreds of times, and I never get tired of. He was curious about which song it was, so without saying a word I played “Lady In My Life.”

Bruce has this sound he makes when he loves something – whether it’s baby back ribs, a neck massage or a beautiful piece of music. For the sake of the post we’ll call it the “Swedien groan”. He heard the first notes of “Lady In My Life” and his eyes lit up and he let out the Swedien groan. We listened from top to bottom, with your book sitting on the console in front of him. I’m not going to lie, it was a pretty cool moment.

We were joined by some friends for a huge feast of Indian food later that night, and I got home tired, full and happy.

Bruce is doing well. His humor and wit are on point, although – like all of us – he misses Michael so much. I look forward to my next visit, much sooner than later.

Thank you all, seriously, for your contributions to the book. I read each note, and they are beautiful. Bruce told me he can’t wait to read it cover to cover. A book of love to a really cool guy and a dear friend.

Thanks again –

Brad

 

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