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Sound Man

A Life Recording Hits With the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, the Faces…
Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (239 ratings)
Regular price: $26.59
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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"Fans of the era will enjoy both the anecdotes and the technical descriptions of life behind the recording console." ( Publishers Weekly)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • MeDC
  • WASHINGTON, DC, US
  • 07-04-15

No tell all ... not at all

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

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.

What could Glyn Johns have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

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.

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

Fine narration. Wish Simon had better subject matter.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Inner circle snapshots.

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating true story of the 60s music scene

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Musical Storytelling

Would you consider the audio edition of Sound Man to be better than the print version?

I only purchased audio.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Sound Man?

The cadence of the story telling.

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

Absolutely beautiful voice and rhythm. Like listening to a lullaby.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Sound Man

Any additional comments?

Superb storytelling abilities. Lovely listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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An outstanding story!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Anyone that loves music & the unfolding of Rock & Roll ... should read with their eyes and/or their ears ... I did both. It's really compelling!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Well ... Glyn obviously!

Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

Simon proved to be a great narrator!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, too long ... if one would care to digest ...

Any additional comments?

Love it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Objective music history

Not a kiss and tell, but you certainly know who he liked and didn't. The list of groups he worked with is incredible. Loved the early tales when he was breaking in.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Amazing Stories, But Boredom and Ego Intrude

What made the experience of listening to Sound Man the most enjoyable?

The sheer fact of John's spectacular career and the who's who of rock royalty he's worked with--mostly quite successfully.

What did you like best about this story?

It's the greatest hits that really shine--the big events and the intimate moments with the 20th Century's great rock talents.

What three words best describe Simon Vance’s voice?

British, High-Brow, Articulate

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Rarely, though I remain in awe of his body of work.

Any additional comments?

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).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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real informative

entertaining has the ability to immerse you in the situation at the timewhich in all reality is who he really is and what he does with his music

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Candid behind the scenes look

A very well-written and delivered account of the music recording industry from the man who had a front row seat from the beginning.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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what a career!

well-paced and completely engrossing narrative of a great career in the music biz. nice voice performance too.