Born just outside London in 1942, Glyn Johns was 16 years old at the dawn of rock and roll. His big break as a producer came on the Steve Miller Band's debut album, Children of the Future. He went on to engineer or produce iconic albums for the best in the business, including Abbey Road with the Beatles. Even more impressive, Johns was perhaps the only person on a given day in the studio who was entirely sober, and so he is one of the most reliable and clear-eyed insiders to tell these stories today.
In this entertaining and observant memoir, Johns takes us on a tour of his world during the heady years of the '60s. He remembers helping to get the Steve Miller Band released from jail shortly after their arrival in London; he recalls his impressions of John and Yoko during the Let It Be sessions; and he recounts running into Bob Dylan at JFK and being asked to work on a collaborative album with him, the Stones, and the Beatles, which never came to pass. Johns was there during some of the most iconic moments in rock history, including the Stones' first European tour and the Beatles' final performance on the roof of their Savile Row recording studio.
©2014 Glyn Johns (P)2015 Tantor
"Fans of the era will enjoy both the anecdotes and the technical descriptions of life behind the recording console." (Publishers Weekly)
If you happen to be a music history buff curious about the behind the scenes stories of some truly great music and its creators, this book is for you.
Not a bad book. But it's hardly enlightening. Rarely do we get any glimpses behind the scenes or any insight into the giants of rock mentioned in the title. Stories about the Stones, The Who, The Eagles and others are legendary, oft-told, and nowhere to be found in this book. It's kind of surprising that a book about rock 'n' roll can be so boring.
The title promises "A Life Recording Hits With the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, the Faces…" but this book really doesn't deliver. It's a really shallow presentation of some of the most extraordinary recording artists of the 20th Century or the birthing process for their most treasured works. This book reads more like a calendar, with a few diary notes thrown in. The real revelation in this book is how bad Glyn Johns judgment seems to be. Several times, he poo-poos iconic artists (the Eagles, Clapton, Joan Armatrading), only to be saved by friends and colleagues to ask him to give them a second look.
Fine narration. Wish Simon had better subject matter.
If this was a movie, it would be some dude briskly walking past a bunch of famous people, commenting briefly on each one, and then stopping at the end to whine about how computers and radio stations ruined the music business.
Glyn Johns worked with the Giants of popular music starting in the 60s. This book has something for everyone, the music lover, the person interested in the technical aspect of recording, and the historian. Johns provides many heartfelt and amusing anecdotes about figures such as Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, Steve Miller, Keith Richards, John Lennon, Johnny Cash, Ronnie Lane, Joe Strummer of the Clash, and more. What comes through is how musicians, producers, and promoters, even the most famous, are regular people, real people with their talents and their flaws. Johns readily admits when he's made a mistake in not immediately recognizing talent, or had an unfavorable first impression that was later corrected, as with his initial the counters with the Eagles and with Joan Armatrading, or with Bill Graham, and Mick Jones. I strongly recommend this book to any lover of music, but especially a lover of rock 'n' roll.
The sheer fact of John's spectacular career and the who's who of rock royalty he's worked with--mostly quite successfully.
It's the greatest hits that really shine--the big events and the intimate moments with the 20th Century's great rock talents.
British, High-Brow, Articulate
Rarely, though I remain in awe of his body of work.
Several sections (especially the first 3rd of the tome) can be rather boring. Too often, I found myself skimming page after page in search of the the 'good bits" (the memoir can go for pages focusing on parts of Johns' life that, frankly, just aren't all that interesting).
Also, too often and too transparently, Johns' practices the art of the left-handed compliment (praising someone to the heights whist simultaneously bitching about them--all in an ego-driven attempt to ensure he comes off as well as possible). Didn't he have an editor? Was there no one who could tell the master what he should just leave out?!
Even when Johns' is admitting to a misstep, he typically makes sure to praise himself for having learned from the experience. These elements of the memoir--coupled with all the not-so-subtle moralizing about the evils of drugs and alcohol--can make Johns' come off as unlikeable and smarmy. Or, maybe just well-heeled and British.
We get it, Glyn--you're the consummate pro (but a more secure man of his age and reputation would have just let the work speak for itself).
pretty much like books that are biographical, real life, historical and cover motorsport.
A wonderful insight into the early days of the music industry from the recording engineering and producing point of view. filled with lots of small stories without too much technical jargon anybody could enjoy this. enjoy this
Enjoyed listening to behind the scene stories about the Stones, Beatles, the Who, the Eagles and many others. The writing/story telling was detailed and didn't drag. Worth a listen if you are a music fan especially of the bands listed.
Glyn Johns tells a great story and maintains a very nice and almost humble tone of voice. Great listen and very nicely narrated. I highly recommend this!
I loved listening to this story of the man in the control booth for many of the great recordings in rock history. If you are into music you'll likely love it.
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