The old guard is going out. More and more people who shape the world as we know it, including the world of rock, quit this Earth. Soon after Phil Ramone died, another legendary producer and engineer, Andy Johns, brother of Glyn and uncle of Ethan, passed away. Among his lesser works are such milestones as “As Safe As Yesterday Is” by HUMBLE PIE, JETHRO TULL’s “Stand Up” and “Spooky Two” by SPOOKY TOOTH, and among the major ones the likes of THE ROLLING STONES’ “Exile On Main St.”, a string of LED ZEPPELIN’s albums and “Highway” by FREE.
DME asked the latter band’s Andy Fraser to share his memories of Johns, and that’s what Fraser has to say:
“Andy Johns was one of my favorite people. Only a year older than me, we worked in the studio on a lot of FREE recordings both as teenagers. I loved his energy, always up, keen, ready to go, full of enthusiasm He was the engineer the night we wrote, recorded and mixed “The Stealer” in one session. Then ran up to the top floor where Chris Blackwell of Island Records had an apartment, woke him up, and said ‘you gotta get down and hear this’, which he did, and proclaimed it the next single. Andy Johns called me only a few weeks ago, and now he’s gone. Life is so fragile. Heartbreaking. He will be missed. Not sure if he ever learnt to drive. He would either take a cab, or I would drop him off at his place in St. Johns Wood, London, after a session. Known a few like that. Frankie Miller, Robert Palmer – it’s like “Me drive, with my habits? – I don’t think so”.