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Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Faces . . . by Glyn Johns (2014)

November 19, 2014

Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Faces . . . by Glyn Johns (2014)

Sound Man: A Life
Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Eric
Clapton, Faces
. . . by Glyn Johns (Blue Rider Press, 2014)
I see
this book as being part of a family of titles about and/or by key figures of
1960s and ‘70s pop and rock, who were not official members of any of the
groundbreaking acts. So I’m thinking about Jac Holzman’s book about his Elektra
label, Julian Dawson’s biography of Nicky Hopkins, Tony Visconti’s
autobiography, Robert Greenfield’s bio of Ahmet Ertegun, etc. Put in that context, Johns’s autobiography
neither soars above nor lingers behind the others in terms of writing quality
and level of potential interest to readers; it’s right in the middle of the
pack.

Johns’s
place as a significant person in the world of what we now call classic rock, is
unquestionable. As an engineer/producer he has to be seen at the very highest
tier in the realm of ‘60s and ‘70s studio craftsmen. The fact that he twiddled
knobs on albums made by The Rolling Stones, Beatles, and Led Zeppelin alone
grants him such credibility. But that’s just the beginning of his formidable
work. To read through the book’s selected discography of albums he worked on,
is to be astounded by just how many seminal records there are on which Johns had
his able hands.

There’s
nothing extraordinary about Johns’s writing in the book, but then it flows
easily enough and comes across in a conversational tone that makes it a fluid
read. His tone throughout is muted, such that one person might find his style
tactfully understated while another could say it’s flat and boring. There’s no
question the book could have used some more pep; but then the people, music,
and circumstances Johns writes about are heady enough so that the anecdotes
themselves carry enough weight to keep the book interesting even when all the
episodes are revealed in such a subdued manner.

In sum,
I’ve read much more engaging books on pop and rock history, but then I’ve
suffered through others that were far worse. Johns’s work in the studio is
noteworthy to the point where his tales of record-making with all the various
acts will be of interest to anyone who cares about this music, even if the book
could have been written in a more lively way.
– Brian Greene
© Copyright http://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2014
One Comment
  1. baby barefoot sandals

    I am very eager to read the book

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