David Axelrod, composer and producer, dies aged 83

LA-born musician helped shape the direction of hip-hop and inspired the likes of Wu-Tang Clan and DJ Shadow

David Axelrod, the influential composer and producer who inspired artists such as DJ Shadow, has died at the age of 83.

Axelrod’s music fused jazz with soul and rock music and helped shape the direction of hip-hop. He is perhaps best known for his 1968 debut album Songs of Innocence and the following year’s Songs of Experience, although his work as a producer and arranger was vast.

Born in LA in 1933, Axelrod released a series of albums in the 1970s. However, it was in the 1990s that his work underwent a revival as artists such as Lil Wayne, Wu-Tang Clan and DJ Shadow sampled his work.

David could be incredibly intimidating, & he did not suffer fools...but if he liked & respected you, he was the most loyal friend on earth.

— DJ Shadow (@djshadow) February 6, 2017

In a tribute posted on Twitter, DJ Shadow recalled asking him to remix the Unkle song Rabbit in Your Headlights: “David could be incredibly intimidating, & he did not suffer fools...but if he liked & respected you, he was the most loyal friend on earth.”

Writing on Instagram, producer and DJ Questlove said: “So sad to hear about the passing of musician/composer #DavidAxelrod. He was so immersed in creativity and so pure with his arrangements he WAS hip hop.”


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