Cal Harris (Engineer)

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Calvin Lawrence Harris

August 9, 1941
Marshall, Michigan
DiedAugust 14, 2017 (age 76)
Northridge Hospital, California
Other namesCal Harris, Cal "The Blade" Harris, Cal "RE20" Harris
CitizenshipUnited States of America
OccupationSound engineer

Calvin Lawrence Harris was an american sound engineer and the head of the recording department at Motown[1]. He worked on projects such as Marvin Gaye hit album What's Going On (Marvin Gaye album)|What's Going On[2], The Beach Boys|The Beach Boys' single Good Vibrations[3], and Lionel Richie Grammy award winning album Can't Slow Down (Lionel Richie album)[4]. He is the father of Jazz musician Cal Harris Jr. and programmer/keyboard tech Eric Harris.


Cal Harris Sr. was born on August 9, 1941 in Marshall, Michigan. He began his musical career at Gold Star Records, as in intern for The Beach Boys. His work for at Gold Star Records gained him the recognition to get hired by Motown in the late 1960s. At Motown he became the head of the recording department.

He passed away on August 14, 2017 in a California hospital due to natural causes.

Working at Motown Records

As the head of the recording department at Motown, Cal Harris Sr. was tasked with managing the team of sound engineers employed by Motown. As well as finding/hiring new engineers[5] and technicians.[6] Within his discography Cal is credited for remix, recording engineer, mixing engineer, and even as a producer on the 1977 album Rarearth[7] by Rare Earth.

With Lionel Richie, Cal Harris recorded Can't Slow Down (Lionel Richie album), which went on to win the Grammy award for Grammy Award for Album of the Year 1984[8]. Due to the success of the album he was also nominated for a TEC Awards in 1985[9].


Note: He is credited for working on all of these projects as either: remix, recording engineer, mixing engineer, or producer.[4]

Atlantic Starr

  • Radiant (Atlantic Starr album) (1981)
  • Brilliance (Atlantic Starr album) (1982)
  • Yours Forever (1983)
  • As the Band Turns (1985)

The Beach Boys

  • Good Vibrations (1966)

G.C. Cameron

  • G.C. Cameron (1976)

Natalie Cole

  • Good to Be Back (1989)


  • Machine Gun (Commodores album) (1974)
  • Movin' On (Commodores album) (1975)
  • Caught in the Act (Commodores album) (1975)
  • Hot on the Tracks (1976)
  • Commodores Live! (1977)
  • Commodores (album) (1977)
  • Natural High (Commodores album) (1978)
  • Midnight Magic (album) (1979)
  • Heroes (Commodores album) (1980)
  • In the Pocket (Commodores album) (1981)
  • All The Great Hits (1982)

Ada Dyer

  • Meant To Be (1988)

Four Tops

  • Nature Planned It (1972)

Marvin Gaye

  • What's Going On (Marvin Gaye album) (1971)
  • Let's Get It On (1973)
  • Marvin Gaye Live! (1974)

Whitney Houston

  • Whitney (album) (1987)

Willie Hutch

  • The Mack (soundtrack 1973)
  • Foxy Brown (film) (soundtrack 1974)

The Pointer Sisters

  • Right Rhythm (1990)

Jackson 5

  • Joyful Jukebox Music (1976)
  • The Jackson 5 – Motown Superstar Series Volume 12 (1980)

Jermaine Jackson

  • Let's Get Serious (Jermaine Jackson album) (1980)

Eddie Kendricks

  • People ... Hold On (1972)
  • Boogie Down! (1974)
  • The Hit Man (1975)

Rare Earth

  • Rare Earth in Concert (1971)
  • Rarearth (1977)

Lionel Richie

  • Lionel Richie (album) (1982)
  • Can't Slow Down (Lionel Richie album) (1983)
  • Dancing on the Ceiling (1986)
  • Back to Front (Lionel Richie album) (1992)

Smokey Robinson

  • Smokey (album) (1973)
  • Where There's Smoke... (1979)

Diana Ross

  • Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
  • Diana & Marvin (1973)
  • Last Time I Saw Him (1973)

Rose Royce

  • Car Wash (1976)

David Ruffin

  • Me 'n Rock 'n Roll Are Here to Stay (1974)

Valerie Simpson

  • Valerie Simpson (1972)

The Supremes

  • Floy Joy (1972)
  • Mary, Scherrie & Susaye (1976)

The Temptations

  • 1990 (The Temptations album)
  • House Party (The Temptations album) (1975)
  • A Song for You (1975)
  • The Temptations Do The Temptations (1976)

The Undisputed Truth

  • Down to Earth (The Undisputed Truth album) (1974)


  1. "Motown Record Corp, 197 N.L.R.B. 1255 | Casetext". Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  2. Morey, Pete (July 22, 2016). "50 things you need to know about Marvin Gaye's What's Going On". CBC.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Pet Sounds Session List". albumlinernotes. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Cal Harris". Discogs. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  5. "Former Motown Producer Arthur Stewart". Spreaker. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  6. "Norman Elder". Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  7. Rare Earth - Rarearth, retrieved 2022-02-24
  8. "Lionel Richie". Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  9. "The TEC Awards 1985 Winners". Retrieved 2022-02-23.

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