Andy Johns, the veteran producer and engineer who worked on classic albums by Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen and many others, has died at the age of 61. The news was confirmed to Billboard.biz by guitarist Stacy Blades, who was working on an untitled project with Johns until the producer was hospitalized last week.
Born in Surrey and a student at the King’s School in Gloucester, Johns put aside an early ambition “to be the next greatest bass player of all time” to follow his brother into the studio world. “It looked a lot better than working,” Johns told Universal Audio. He began his career as a tape operator at London’s famed Olympic Studios, helping Eddie Kramer on sessions for the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Axis Bold as Love.”
“In those days you could go into one studio and Joe Cocker was working, and then you’re working with Jimi Hendrix in Studio One, or down the corridor Eric Clapton is doing something,” Johns recalled. “It was a serious center. A lot of talent was there.” Johns produced early albums by Blodwyn Pig (“Ahead Rings Out”), Humble Pie (“As Safe As Yesterday Is,” “Town and Country”) and Free (“Free,” “Free Live!,” “Heartbreaker”), as well as Television’s landmark “Marquee Moon” in 1977.
Johns’ engineering resume, meanwhile, was dotted with landmark sets by the Stones — including “Sticky Fingers,” “Exile On Main Street,” “Goats Head Soup” and “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll” — Led Zeppelin’s “II” through “Physical Graffiti” as well as albums by Mott the Hoople, Jethro Tull and many more. Johns relocated to Los Angeles during the 1970s, where he worked with Van Halen, Joni Michell, Ozzy Osbourne, Cinderella and Eddie Money. Over the past dozen years he worked on albums by Hughes, Godsmack, Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders and others.
• Andy Johns: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Johns