Legendary producer - engineer Andy Johns, best known for his work with the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, died on April 7th of undisclosed causes, according to Noise 11. Johns, whose older brother is noted Stones engineer and Who and Eagles producer Glyn Johns, made his bones at London's legendary Olympic Studios working early sessions for Rod Stewart, Jethro Tull, and Humble Pie.
Despite a career of quality and groundbreaking work, Johns will always be remembered for engineering such legendary albums as Blind Faith's self-titled debut; Led Zeppelin's second, third, and fourth albums, Houses Of The Holy, Physical Graffiti, and Coda; along with the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, Goats Head Soup, and It's Only Rock N' Roll, among many others.
Among the classic albums Johns produced were Free's Highway; Television's Marquee Moon; Cinderella's Night Songs; Van Halen's For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge; Joe Satriani's The Extremist; Chickenfoot's self-titled debut, and the Steve Miller Band's two most recent albums, Bingo! and Let Your Hair Down.
Peter Frampton posted on his Facebook page: "Andy Johns engineer/producer and long time friend has left us and way too soon. He worked with Humble Pie on our first 2 albums. Better known for Led Zep and Stones classic albums. And Songs For A Tailor by Jack Bruce. A big fav of mine. So many other amazing sounding records were recorded/produced by Andy. My thoughts are with his family and especially his brother Glyn. We will all miss Andy. RIP"
Queen's Brian May posted a tribute to Johns on his website (BrianMay.com) saying: "Ouch. So sad to hear of the passing of Andy Johns -- great record producer. Lovely guy -- patient, skilled, funny, encouraging, sharp. . . all the qualities you want in someone who is getting your music on to tape. I remember him as one of the Olympic Studios team in Barnes playing around with varying tape speeds and early phasing with George Chiantz. He went on to become one of the very top rock producers in the world. Condolences to all the family. Andy was such a great guy. RIP. Bri"
Slash tweeted: "1 of the great engineer/producers of our time."
Steve Miller, who had first worked with Johns back in the '60s at London's Olympic Studios, credits him for helping the 2010 Bingo! sessions coming together so smoothly: "It started out it was going to be a project with Andy Johns. He was the guy who inspired it. I had planned on cutting a bunch of R&B and some blues tracks. Andy and I were working on a DVD concert -- a live concert from Chicago he was mixing, and he said, 'Boy, I really would love to do a guitar album with you,' and I said 'Well, I'm gettin' ready to do one.' Next thing you know we're playing at the Fillmore, and then we go into Skywalker (Studios) and cut 42 tracks."
Miller admitted that making the album with Johns played a huge part in finally releasing new music: "Y'know, doin' overdubs with Andy is so much fun. You never want it to end, you just wanna do guitar overdubs all the time (laughs). It was like making -- back in the early, early days when we were makin' records in England working with Andy, it was so much fun. Y'know, he's the monster man, y'know, for all the Led Zeppelin records and for the Stones and stuff. He's just a great engineer and a really good co-producer to work with, so it really turned into a lot more than I thought it was gonna."
We asked Miller if having Johns back in the trenches got him to bring his A-game to the studio each day: "Totally inspirational. He really got me excited about recording again. When the project started it was, like, 'Yeah, we'll go in and we'll do these tracks -- we'll see what happens' -- I mean, I do that all the time, y'know? And we just started going and Andy was just so passionate, and right at 10 o'clock at night, when most engineers are going, 'Oh God, please, not one more' -- Andy would be going, 'Let's go out to the truck and find that old Marshall amp and tear this all down and set up something new, 'cause I've got an idea!"