4 Notable Trevor Rabin Collaborations Outside of His Work with Yes

Trevor Rabin cemented his musical legacy when he joined the progressive rock band Yes in 1983. He, along with producer Trevor Horn, brightened and streamlined the band’s sound on the album 90125, as best exemplified by the smash hit “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” Rabin played a large role in resuscitating one of the ‘70s most revered rock bands and turning them into an ‘80s hitmaker.

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While Rabin may be best-known for the albums he recorded with Yes, his contributions to music go far beyond them. Nearly five years before joining Yes, he charted with his self-titled debut solo album. Rabin would release six solo albums in total, and Can’t Look Away (1989) spawned the No. 3 Billboard Mainstream Rock hit “Something to Hold on To.” He has composed scores for numerous films and television series. If you watch basketball or baseball on TV, then you’re certainly familiar with his theme songs for the NBA on TNT and MLB on TBS broadcasts.

Rabin has also kept busy over the last several decades with collaborations with other artists, both as a musician and producer. His contributions to these four albums are particularly worth checking out.

Wild Horses by Wild Horses (1980)

U.S. audiences may not be familiar with the self-titled debut album by this British band, but it was significant for a number of reasons. Rabin co-produced it with the members of Wild Horses, making it one of the first albums for which Rabin had a production credit. Wild Horses did have some success in the UK, reaching No. 38 on the Official Albums Chart, and the band consisted of several veterans of well-known rock bands, including guitarist Brian Robertson (Thin Lizzy) and bassist Jimmy Bain (Rainbow).

Rabin’s involvement with Wild Horses played a role in his assembling an all-star team of musicians for his 1981 solo album Wolf. Wild Horses was recorded at The Kinks’ Konk Studios in London, and while making that record, Rabin talked to Ray Davies about how he was about to embark on an album of his own. The Kinks’ frontman wound up being the associate producer on that album. Though unrelated to the recording of Wild Horses, Rabin also successfully recruited ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce and session drummer extraordinaire Simon Phillips for Wolf.

Chance by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (1980)

At roughly the same time Rabin co-produced Wild Horses, he also shared production duties with Manfred Mann on the Earth Band’s album Chance. Rabin picked up a couple more contributors for Wolf, as Mann and vocalist Chris Thompson accepted invitations to perform on the album. Chance was a minor comeback for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band after the previous albums Watch (1978) and Angel Station (1979) failed to match the Top-10 success of The Roaring Silence (1976). It spent 16 weeks on the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 87. Their remake of “For You” didn’t crack the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 like their previous Bruce Springsteen covers “Blinded By the Light” and “Spirit In The Night” did, but it was a Top-20 Mainstream Rock hit.

Rabin also played guitar on Chance, and he would return to perform on a pair of tracks from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s next album, Somewhere in Afrika. Most notably, he played the guitar solo on the Top-40 hit “Runner.”

Welcome to the Pleasuredome by Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1984)

Welcome to the Pleasuredome was just one of several Horn-produced projects that Rabin worked on after the two worked together on 90125. In a 2023 interview for Forbes, Rabin noted, “I did a load of sessions for [Horn]: Seal, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Tina Turner. So I’ve always worked well with him. I haven’t done it for a while because of the film thing, but he’s a good guy.”

Unlike much of Rabin’s other work, it’s not especially easy to pick out his parts on Welcome to the Pleasuredome. What makes his contribution especially noteworthy is that he was joined by fellow Yes alumnus Steve Howe on the album. Though the prog guitar hero might seem like an odd choice for the synth-heavy Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Howe’s acoustic noodling blends right in on the title track.

The Loneliest Time by Carly Rae Jensen (2022)

Rabin has played on a fairly eclectic assortment of albums, but this one may be the most surprising. Looking at the credits for The Loneliest Time’s third single “Talking to Yourself” should elicit an “a-ha” moment. The song was co-written by Ryan Rabin, the former drummer for the Los Angeles-based rock band Grouplove. And, yes, he is Trevor Rabin’s son.

The elder Rabin played guitar on the track, while Ryan Rabin co-produced it (as one half of the production team Captain Cuts, with Ben Berger) and provided backing vocals. “Talking to Yourself” did not chart in the U.S., but it ranks as one of Jepsen’s 10 most popular tracks on Spotify with more than 22 million streams.

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