Monday, April 8, 2013

Time to remember the hands in the studio

Andy Johns died Sunday at the age of 61.  An official cause of death hasn't been released yet, but it's been reported that he was hospitalized last week with liver problems.

Andy Johns
Any music fans who've spent a considerable amount of time reading through the credits while listening to some of the greatest tunes in rock history will know the name Andy Johns.  He engineered and produced some of the classic songs and albums to have ever been recorded in popular music by some of the giants -- The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Humble Pie, Free, Van Halen, Joni Mitchell, Jethro Tull, Steve Miller, on and on.

"Exile On Main Street."  "Sticky Fingers."  Led Zeppelin IV.  "Houses of the Holy."  "Physical Graffiti."  "Shadows and Light."  "Stand Up."  The list of albums boasting Andy Johns' name as an engineer or producer is long, as it's been with his brother Glyn.  These are the names that rock music fans remember, especially among the hard-core audiophiles.  They're the ones parked between the speakers or with headphones slapped on their ears, digging not just the quality of the music being played but the quality of the sound being brought out from their musical heroes -- coming from the producer who's a "jack of all trades" and who knows how to coax the best out of the musicians, and the engineer who knows how to record it all in pristine condition.

That's the kind of thing Andy Johns did.  He may not have had the face or the name that so many people would recognize.  Nevertheless, music fans owe him a big "thank you."

 His work is worth remembering.  It's too bad we can't go through it all, but it would take too long.

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