Glyn Johns, Prolific Rock Producer: Book Review

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As prolific engineer and/or producer for the likes of the Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton (a decades-long relationship), Faces and even the late-career Beatles, Glyn Johns is a key figure in the development of the art of record-making in the rock era. Through a half-century of sterling studio work, Johns’ knack for capturing his clients’ iconic sounds with a minimum of sonic gimmickry has enhanced such enduring classics as Let It Bleed, Who’s Next, Who Are You, Faces’ A Nod Is as Good as a Wink… to a Blind Horse, Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut and the first two albums by the Eagles.

Johns produced this 1978 release with Jon Astley

Not impressed yet? How about Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt,  Small Faces, The Steve Miller Band, Spooky Tooth, Blue Öyster Cult, Emmylou Harris, Rod Stewart, Fairport Convention, Humble Pie, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and the Beatles’ Get Back Sessions?)

Related: Review of Eric Clapton’s 2016 album, I Still Do, produced by Glyn Johns

The resourcefulness and good judgment that Johns applies to his recordings are also reflected in this personable, absorbing memoir, which recounts his journey from failed pop singer to in-demand studio master with clear-eyed insight. Although the author doesn’t reveal many trade secrets or spill much superstar scandal – the book would have been served better by some in-studio details and insights that helps the reader understand his part in numerous timeless albums – his perspective on the historic musical events he helped to create is refreshingly sensible and down-to-earth, demonstrating a self-effacing wisdom that makes it easy to understand why rock’s royalty entrusts its music to his skills.

Watch Johns and “a client” talk about a recent project

Johns was born February 15, 1942, in Surrey, England.

Watch the video for “Eminence Front,” from The Who’s 1982 album, It’s Hard, produced by Johns

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Scott Schinder

Scott Schinder

Scott Schinder has written written about music and popular culture for various publications in the U.S. and overseas, including Rolling Stone, Creem, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, Time Out New York, Newsday, Stereophile, Musician, Tower Pulse, New Musical Express, Melody Maker and Texas Music. He's also written several music-related books and liner notes for numerous CD reissues and box sets and has contributed essays and other pieces to several other books, including all six editions of The Trouser Press Record Guide.
Scott Schinder
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