Legendary Recording Engineer Roy Halee Talks About the Making of Paul Simon's "Stranger To Stranger" Album

Stranger to Stranger Paul Simon's most recent record and his finest in years, both musically and sonically had him reuniting with his original producer Roy Halee. The two hadn't worked together for many years.

I first interviewed Roy Halee decades ago when I was writing for The Absolute Sound. We became friends and so when Stranger to Stranger was released I asked Roy if I could interview him about the project and he was happy to talk about it.

But one thing or another got in the way for both of us (including Roy commuting to Connecticut to work with Paul on his next record) and so the interview did not happen until this past week It was a "phoner", so please excuse the sound quality. I think you'll enjoy listening.

. (The photo is from a few years back at a ListenUp event in Denver, Colorado).

Kirby's picture

After seeing this article I had to throw Stranger To Stranger on the turntable. What a great sounding Lp, Roy should be very proud of his work on this one. Job well done!

Anton D's picture

As a Paul Simon fan, I have often wondered if someone like Roy could go back to the tapes and 're-produce' Surprise.

That album never sounded write right to me, and I love Simon and Eno!

Reimagining past albums might be kinda cool. They could call it "Surprise! Naked!"

I know that was off topic, but it reminded me.

Stranger to Stranger sounds great!

Montpier's picture

Amazing at 82 the continued passion he has for his work and the thrill of new discoveries: the way he talks about Clap Clap or listening through the Audeze's. Please do follow-up to where he can comment on some of his recording projects in real time, perhaps at one of the hifi show seminars? (But please skip the 1st Journey album!) BTW - you may be more familiar with the Assad brothers' younger sister Badi who recorded several fine albums with Chesky.

Stringreen's picture

Personally, I think this album wasn't recorded well enough. Simon's words (an important part of his work) is still not clear enough. I have to spend too much energy to understand the lyric...and sometimes can't

fetuso's picture

Great interview. Michael, I had no idea you are approaching 70. I swear I would have guessed mid to late 50's.

Michael Fremer's picture
And Roy looks great for 82 and sounds it too, don't you think?
fetuso's picture

He definitely does. What's very interesting is how a producer of his vintage has embraced digital recording techniques. I suppose it's been around long enough and must be so much easier to work with than analog.

Kirby's picture

I just picked up an original Columbia 360 copy of Paul Simon's 1972 LP "Paul Simon" (Mother and Child Reunion, Me and Julio Down by the School yard) and WOW!!! what a fantastic sounding album this is. I'm now gonna hunt down as many originals of Roy's produced albums as I can find.

philtax's picture

I loved the interview and wanted to get the Clap! Clap! album that he mentioned. It has been reissued as 2 lps on colored vinyl (one disc red and the other blue). Have heard bad things about colored vinyl but wanted to get your thoughts.

alicewirek's picture

Roy looks great for 82, but sounds for 81 lol. I wish I could hear the process of the interview. Must have been something interesting.
Alice - pimion's term papers writer.