Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush paid tribute to producer Peter Collins, who died at 73 after a career-spanning five decades.

The British studio mastermind’s credits include Rush’s Power Windows, Bon Jovi’s These Days, Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime, Alice Cooper’s Hey Stoopid, Gary Moore’s After the War and more than 50 other records.

Collins briefly became a pop musician and then a jingle writer before his production career started in the U.K. with ‘80s pop artists including Nik Kershaw and Tracey Ullman. He moved to the U.S. where he helmed albums for artists from various genres, from Jewel to Suicidal Tendencies.

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"So sad to hear of the passing of Peter Collins,” Lee wrote on social media. “A dear, dear friend and producer of 4 different Rush albums. During periods in the ‘80s and ‘90s, we had some incredible musical adventures together, in various studios across the globe.

"He truly was our Mr. Big with his ever-present cigar and constant good humor. After hitting the record button, I can still hear him say, ‘OK, boys, from the topping … no stopping!’"

Lifeson said, “Peter Collins will forever live in my memory as Mr. Big, sitting at his control center beside a recording console with his ubiquitous tools: a legal pad, an ashtray and a Monte Cristo No. 2."

Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy wrote that he "had the honor of working with Peter making the first Flying Colors album back in 2011. … He was an absolute pleasure to work with and gave us so many great memories, and hilarious expressions and quotes that we still reference to this day."

“I have a pretty good British pop sensibility,” Collins said in a 2011 interview with Performing Songwriter. “When I became a rock producer that was quite an asset because I was able to bring some pop elements to the music subversively, without the listener realizing it.”

Asked about the pursuit of perfection in the studio, he said, “Unless there’s a blemish on a track which the listener would find distracting … it should be left on there. What’s wrong with a track speeding up or slowing down? I love that because it’s natural.”

He added in the 2011 interview that “it’s really only in rock music where precision equals power, anyway. With bands like Rush and Queensryche, the tighter the music was, the more powerful it sounded, so I can see the merit in that for those genres. But, in general, no, I don’t aim for perfection. I just get good players, let them play and let it be human.”

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Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso and Michael Gallucci

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