Any fan of Classic Rock should know the name Andy Johns. Here is just a partial list of albums he has produced and/or engineered:
Town and Country – Humble Pie (1969)
Blind Faith – Blind Faith (1969)
Highway – Free (1970)
Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin (1971)
Sticky Fingers – Rolling Stones (1971)
Brain Capers – Mott the Hoople (1971)
Exile on Main St. – Rolling Stones (1972)
Heartbreaker – Free (1972)
Living in the Past – Jethro Tull (1972)
Marquee Moon – Television (1977)
Sky – Sky (1979)
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge – Van Halen (1991)
He had a long association with Led Zeppelin, working on six of the band’s records beginning with “Led Zeppelin II” in 1969. He achieved the acclaimed drum sound on “When the Levee Breaks,” a song from the group’s untitled fourth album, by recording the instrument at the bottom of a reverberant stairwell. ”
“I just used two mics up above, in the house we called “Heavy Grange.” Haunted it was, too. Weird place.”There were these long stairs, and this hall, and I just used two mics and compressed it. It was the first times drums really sounded the way they do to me. If you stand next to the drums, you hear this big noise. A lot of the effects we now use are about the same as using rim mics, the short, sharp, non-linear echo thing.”
Other albums with his handiwork include self-titled works by Blind Faith and Eric Clapton, as well as Clapton’s Crossroads.
Joni Mitchell also benefited from Johns on her Shadows and Light album, as did Jethro Tull on their Stand Up and Living In The Past albums.
From the NY Times:
Of the many albums Mr. Johns worked on, “Exile on Main St.” was perhaps his proudest moment.
“So if you could put yourself in my shoes,” he told Guitar Player, “you’re at the center of the universe, you’re working with the Stones in the South of France, you’re working at Keith Richards’s house, you’re getting paid really well, you’re only 21, so you have your youth, and the music is just fabulous. What is there to complain about?”
He loved working with new bands too and his reputation proceeded him.
He sadly died from complications from a stomach ulcer. Today (May 20) would have been Andy John’s birthday.