Norbert Putnam, a bassist-producer who has had one of the most extraordinary careers in the history of popular music, has joined the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Mass Communication and Journalism as a distinguished lecturer in the school’s recording industry program.
“Norbert has agreed to visit on a regular basis to conduct master classes for our students,” said Chris Campbell, the school’s director. “He’s taken a real interest in our recording industry program, and he will be an amazing resource for the students and faculty.”
Putnam’s professional career began when he was a teen as part of the original Muscle Shoals rhythm section, which played on a slew of Top 40, rock, folk and R&B recordings. In 1970, he began to play with Elvis Presley, with whom he worked until Presley’s death in 1977.
In 1970 he and Muscle Shoals drummer David Briggs opened Quadrafonic Studio in Nashville, where artists including Neil Young, Joe Walsh, Dan Fogelberg and Michael Jackson recorded successful albums. After producing Joan Baez’ hit, “The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down,” Putnam became the primary producer of folk rock artists for Columbia Records.
In 1977 he produced Southern Miss alumnus Jimmy Buffett’s breakthrough album, Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude, which included “Margaritaville,” one of the most successful singles ever released in America.
The School of Mass Communication and Journalism offers bachelor’s degrees in recording industry production and management along with undergraduate degrees in advertising, journalism and media production. About 150 students are enrolled in the recording industry program, which is headed by Paul Linden.
“We realize how important it is for our students to meet successful musicians and producers,” said Linden. “He will be an incredible asset. What a role model.”
For additional information, contact Dr. Chris Campbell or Dr. Paul Linden at 601.266.4258.